Humans are extraordinarily social animals. A majority of their decisions are made using information acquired from others, and for good reason: knowledge is expensive. Acquiring information by directly sampling from the environment is a long and effortful process, and all too often results in a model of the world that is incorrect, overly specific, or outdated. Humans are therefore very adept at learning about their environment from other individuals. In order to successfully utilize an observed behavior during decision making, one must infer the content of the actor’s mind, evaluate the quality of their information, assess the actor’s intentions, and then use that information to update action values. In order to understand this process, McKell’s research program explores social decision making and its neural and genetic substrates.
View McKell’s CV here.