Franco Pestilli

New York University/Columbia University

Neuroimaging of reward processing and decision-making


Franco Pestilli obtained a B.A. from La Sapienza University, Rome (Italy), specializing in Experimental Psychology and Artificial Intelligence. For his doctoral research, he worked in the laboratory of Marisa Carrasco at New York University, New York (USA).
Since his PhD, he has been working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Neuroscience of Columbia University, New York (USA), and as a Visiting Scientist at the Riken Brain Science Institute, Wako (Japan). He is currently working in the Laboratory of Vincent Ferrera at Columbia University. His research focuses on distinguishing the effects of attention and expected reward on behavior and neural response. In life, one attends to stimuli that are behaviorally relevant, and often relevant stimuli are those that will predict rewards. For this reason, the effects of attention and that of expected reward on neural response can be easily confounded. Pestilli is investigating how the neural mechanisms dedicated to control attention and predict reward interact to affect one's decisions.