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Caltech to study how people make decisions, mental illness

When people make decisions based on watching or coordinating with other members of society, what is going on in their brains?

A new center at Caltech will study the neurobiology behind social decision making. A $9-million grant by the National Institute of Mental Health will help set up the Silvio O. Conte Center for Neuroscience Research at the Pasadena campus.

The grant will fund the center’s operation for five years, which includes hiring students.

"A large number of decisions in everyday life occur in a social context, and this breaks down in diseases ranging from autism to schizophrenia to mood disorders,” said Ralph Adolphs, a Caltech professor who will lead the new center, in a statement.

Adolphs has already assembled a team to look at how people make decisions, according to Caltech. The center will use human subjects as part of their research.

The center is named after the late Republican congressman Silvio O. Conte, who was a strong supporter of the National Institutes of Health.  

-- Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News

Follow Tiffany on Twitter @LATiffanyKelly and Google+

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