The Centre for Brain, Mind and Markets provides an inter-disciplinary platform for research and research-training in human and machine decision-making in complex environments.
The Centre was established in 2022. It was preceded by the Brain, Mind and Markets Laboratory, founded in 2016. The Centre is located in the Department of Finance in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne but operates across the University and affiliated institutes.
Our vision is to harness the science of decision-making to help people flourish. We aim to contribute to solving the greatest decision-making challenges of our era through interdisciplinary research and partnerships.
We conduct both basic and translational research on decision-making at the levels of brain, mind and markets. We are particularly interested in how decision-makers learn about their environment from information acquired through interacting with the environment and how they integrate this information into decisions. For example, we study how agents learn in environments where they encounter frequent outliers, a property of financial markets and many other social systems.
Another key interest of ours is examining how agents process information with limited cognitive resources when making decisions. For example, we develop theoretical models to quantify the complexity of decisions. We study how agents adapt to different levels of complexity, for example, by changing the cognitive strategies they use.
In our research, we draw on methods from computer science, economics, mathematics, neuroscience and psychology.
In our translational research, we work with other academic researchers as well as partners in government and industry to solve pressing problems in decision-making. At present, we work with collaborators in psychiatry to study the effects of certain mental illnesses on decision-making. We have worked with both regulators and private-sector organisations on the regulation of consumer financial markets as well as on the design of financial products. We have also worked with financial institutions in the area of fintech.
The Centre's team comprises researchers and students with backgrounds in disciplines including computer science, economics, finance, mathematics, neuroscience and psychology. We work closely with academics in departments and schools in the University, affiliated institutes as well as other universities.
Our Centre manages the inter-disciplinary PhD program in decision sciences (Decision, Risk and Financial Sciences). The program includes a two-year coursework phase plus three to four years of doctoral research. All students are fully funded by a scholarship. We also offer a joint PhD program with the University of Bonn (Germany) in decision-neuroscience and computational psychiatry.
We conduct most of our behavioural experiments in the Faculty of Business and Economics Experimental Research Facility. The state-of-the-art facility accommodates experiments with individual participants as well as small and large groups (for example, for markets experiments). It provides eye-tracking as well as psychophysiology testing equipment. We use the 7 Tesla MRI system at the Melbourne Brain Centre and have access to various 3 Tesla MRI systems in the nearby Parkville Medical Precinct, one of the world's largest precincts for medical research.
We offer teaching at undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level. The core aim of our teaching is to equip students with critical-thinking and problem-solving skills. Our teaching is heavily research-driven, inter-disciplinary and technology-based. Many of our subjects involve experiential learning.
We currently teach subjects on algorithmic trading, behavioural finance, experimental methods for decision-making research, financial literacy, fintech and quantum computing.