This week on Brains and Bourbon, we share whiskey sours with Daniel Hawes, a post-doctoral fellow studying the interplay between personality and decision making in Sam McClure’s lab. We ask Daniel about his journey from agricultural engineering student in Germany to psychologist at Stanford, and how the different perspectives of engineering, economics, psychology and neuroscience interact to influence his approach to understanding how individuals make decisions.
Daniel tells us about how psychologists currently think about defining individual differences between people, and how his research is revealing differences in brain activity during decision making that are related to the "big five" dimensions of personality. In the end, we wax philosophical about the importance of understanding personality in developing self-awareness and whether it would be a good idea to tickle people in an fMRI machine.
In the interview, we mentioned the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment. If you haven't heard of this, you should really see the videos of cute kids trying their best to avoid sweet, white, gooey temptation. Check out a re-creation of the original experiment here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=x3S0xS2hdi4.