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Split Decision 
The Decision Science Podcast 

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Prof. Alan Sanfey - The Power of Decision Science

What is decision science? What is the Radboud Center for Decision Science? How can decision science help us address social inequality? Get ready for an enlightening journey as we unveil the captivating world of decision science in our debut episode. Join co-host Sarah Vahed as she welcomes Prof. Alan Sanfey, the esteemed Center Director of the Radboud Center for Decision Science and distinguished expert in decision neuroscience. In January 2022, Alan Sanfey also became Director of the Donders Institute Center for Cognitive Neuroimaging at Radboud University. In this episode, Prof. Sanfey takes us back to the basics of decision science, providing a solid foundation for understanding its profound implications on our lives. By explaining his groundbreaking research on fairness and inequality, Prof. Sanfey shares invaluable insights that illuminate the underlying mechanisms shaping our choices. Whether you're an individual seeking self-awareness or a policymaker aiming for informed choices, this inaugural episode is a gateway to the realm of decision science.

Episode Highlights

What is decision science?

What is the Radboud Center for Decision Science?


  • What is decision science? (02:42)

  • What is the Radboud Center for Decision Science? (03:43)

  • Alan's own life choices (09:14)

  • What is the difference between individual versus social decisions? (13:05)

  • What can decision science tell us about social inequality? (16:26)

  • Key takeaways for the public and policymakers (24:34)

  • The future of decision science (29:19)



  • Alan Sanfey lecture for University of Netherlands "Why do you get angry when you are treated unfairly?" [Watch here]

Research Articles

  • Vavra, P., van Baar, J. & Sanfey, A.G. (2017) The neural basis of fairness. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Fairness, Equity, and Justice, ed. D. Tracer & M. Li. Springer 


Guest bio

Alan Sanfey.jpg

Alan Sanfey, 
Professor of Decision Neuroscience

Alan Sanfey is Professor and Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands.


Previously he has held positions as Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona, and as a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. He was awarded a Ph.D. and Masters Degree in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Colorado, and an undergraduate honors degree in Psychology from University College Dublin, Ireland. He currently heads the Decision Neuroscience group at the Donders Institute.


His research utilizes a novel approach to the study of both individual and interactive decision-making by combining the methods of behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging, and formal economic models. Examining sophisticated high-level behavior at a neural level, such as deciding on how much risk to take with an investment or deciding on a strategy when playing a competitive game with an opponent, can provide important clues as to the fundamental mechanisms by which decision- making operates.


A further goal of his group is to use the knowledge gleaned from these studies to inform public policy debates, for example in understanding how expectations play a role in financial, environmental and health-care decisions. He has published his work extensively in leading international journals across several fields (Psychology, Neuroscience, Economics and Business).

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