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Tuesday, 06 April 2021 12:10

Oliver Hulme awarded an Interdisciplinary Exploratory Synergy grant from the Novo Nordisk Foundation

The grant of DKK 5 million was jointly awarded to his group, and Ole Peters of the London Mathematical Laboratory

The project is called "The ergodicity experiment: Does the brain compute time averages". It aims to test a radical new theory of decision-making that focuses on how averages are computed. David Meder, group leader of the Cognition in Movement Disorders group will also be collaborate in the project. 

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Here is a brief layperson summary of the project:

"The ergodicity experiment project asks how does the brain calculate averages when making decisions? Averages are important whenever you are uncertain about what to do. For instance, if you are deciding on whether to accept a bet, you need to think about the average money you stand to win or lose by playing it. There are two different ways in which you can calculate an average. The first is called an ensemble average, and in this example, it is the average calculated over a large number of people taking the same bet. The second is called a time average, and it is simply the average of a single person playing the same bet repeatedly over a long time. Sometimes these averages give the same answer, but in many situations they do not. The time average is typically the most important average because it tells you how well you can expect to do as an individual in the future. Surprisingly, most theories of decision-making assume that people calculate ensemble averages. In this project we will investigate which type of average people calculate when making risky decisions, and how the brain performs these calculations."