Collage representing addiction featuring a painting of Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden, a rat cartoon holding a sign saying "Will pull lever for food," a brain scan, and a line graph displaying obesity trends over time.

People do not always do what they believe is in their best interest.

This is strikingly true of the individual struggling with addiction. But it is also evident in more commonplace phenomena like overeating, spending beyond one’s means, over-indulgence in passive entertainment, and other bad habits too common to be considered pathological. At the same time, people are not powerless against these failings. In everyday life, people refer to their efforts to overcome these behaviors as “self-control” or “willpower.”

Our lab is working towards a mechanistic understanding of self-control success and failure. In much of our work, we use functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). We are also interested in addiction and obesity, both of which bring self-control struggle to the fore.

Our lab is currently supported in this work through a grant from the National Institute of Health (through 2024).


Find out how you can join our work.


Addiction & Self Control Lab

3620 South McClintock
SGM 501
Los Angeles, CA 90089