Faculty & Staff

John Monterosso, Associate Professor

Our lab studies mechanisms underlying human self-control from the combined perspectives o behavioral economics and cognitive neuroscience (sometimes collectively referred to as "neuroeconomics").











Lisa Giragosian

I graduated from Wellesley College with a B.A. in Neuroscience and minor in Economics. My research interests include the neural underpinnings of self-control, decision-making, and reward circuitry.


Graduate Students

Louise Cosand

Self-control in decision making and the influence of stress on brain function are the primary themes of my research interests. I am currently using functional magnetic resonance imaging to study self-control in individuals addicted to nicotine, and my dissertation focuses the influence of stress on decisions requiring willpower.


Shan Luo, M.A.

I'm currently a PhD candidate in Brain and Cognitive Sciences program. I am interested in how people make decisions, especially intertemporal decisions. I've been working on a series of fMRI experiments looking at how brain responds to rewards received at different points in time (Luo et al., 2009; Luo et al., 2011). I observed that individuals exhibited an incentive bias towards immediate rewards relative to preference-matched delayed rewards, evidenced by faster reaction time and greater brain activity in reward-related regions during anticipation of immediate vs. delayed rewards. Moreover, this incentive bias towards immediate rewards is more pronounced among cigarette smokers. 

Along a similar line, I looked at brain responses when research participants were making choices between smaller-sooner (SS) rewards vs. larger-later (LL) rewards. I observed an association between LL choices and prefrontal activity, and this association was moderated by individual differences in delay discounting and variability in choices (Luo et al., 2011 In Press).  

Currently, I am working on my dissertation project looking at how trait and state motivation states affect intertemporal choice. I am very excited to find out whether individuals’ preferences can be moderated by motivational state changes. 





Eustace Hsu


Pei-Ying (Peggy) Lin

I am interested in studying the biological mechanisms of social behavior. I used oxytocin sprays to study empathy, and now look forward to learning brain imaging techniques to build the connections between the brain and behavior.


Undergraduate Students

Kruti Vekaria

I'm currently a senior at USC, double majoring in Neuroscience and Economics. After I graduate, I plan on pursuing a career in either research or the healthcare industry.


  • Self-Control Neuroscience Research lab
  • 3620 South McClintock
  • SGM 501
  • Los Angeles, CA 90089