Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Short Communication

Neural game theory and the search for rational agents in the brain

Gregory S. Berns a1

a1 Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA 30322


The advent of functional brain imaging has revolutionized the ability to understand the biological mechanisms underlying decision-making. Although it has been amply demonstrated that assumptions of rationality often break down in experimental games, there has not been an overarching theory of why this happens. I describe recent advances in functional brain imaging and suggest a framework for considering the function of the human reward system as a discrete agent.