Curriculum Vitae

Revised: 11/9/2015

Emory University
36 Eagle Row
Atlanta, GA 30322
Phone: (404) 727-2556
twitter: @gberns


Academic Appointments

Clinical Appointments:



PA Medical License MD-059626-L (issued 1995, inactive since 1998)
GA Medical License 045173 (issued 1998)


American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology: Psychiatry (2000)


1986 A.B. Princeton University Physics
1990 Ph.D. University of California, Davis  Biomedical Engineering
1994 M.D. University of California, San Diego Medicine


1990-1994 Research Assistant / Postdoctoral Fellow

Salk Institute of Biological Studies

Mentor: Terrence J. Sejnowksi, Ph.D.
1994-1995 General Psychiatry and Medicine Internship

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
1995-1998 Adult Psychiatry Residency

Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic

University of Pittsburgh Medical Center


National and International







My research is aimed at understanding the neurobiological basis for individual preferences and how neurobiology places constraints on the decisions that people (and animals) make -- a field now known as neuroeconomics. To achieve this goal, we use functional MRI to measure the activity in key parts of the brain involved in decision making. We then link these activity traces to various phenotypes of decision making. For example, we have used this activity to predict the commercial success of popular songs – the first prospective demonstration in neuromarketing. These results have found application in understanding common stock investing errors, and more recently, in the stock market’s reaction to earnings announcements.  We are also studying decision-making over “sacred values” in the brain and its implications for terrorism.

And finally, we are using fMRI to study canine cognitive function in awake, unrestrained dogs. The goals of these projects are to non-invasively map the perceptual and decision systems of the dog's brain and to predict liklihood of success in service dogs.



Federally Funded:

  • Previous Support


    Full Courses

    Miscellaneous Educational Lectures


    Graduate Students

    Post-Doctoral Fellows

    Graduate students who have rotated through the lab

    Other students, fellows, and faculty who have trained in the lab


    1. Institute for Neural Computation, University of California, San Diego & Salk Institute (1995). "The Basal Ganglia: Local Memory and Automatic Sequencing."
    2. Institute for Neural Computation, University of California, San Diego & Salk Institute (1997). "PET mapping of subconscious novelty detection mechanisms in humans."
    3. School of Psychology, Georgia Institute of Technology (1997). "Cortico-Striatal Function in Sequence Learning."
    4. Department of Psychiatry, University of Alabama, Birmingham (1998). Grand Rounds, "Imaging Cortico-Striatal Function Using Cognitive Probes."
    5. Department of Psychiatry, University of Pittsburgh (1998). Ground Rounds, "Common Neurobiology of ADHD and Substance Abuse."
    6. Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine (1998). "Computational Neuroscience Driving Neuroimaging: Studies of Basal Ganglia Function."
    7. Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine (2000). "Beyond Phrenology: Using fMRI to Study Brain Dynamics."
    8. Psychology Department, Princeton University (2000). "Beyond Phrenology: Using fMRI to Study Brain Dynamics."
    9. Princeton Workshop on Neural Economics (2000). "Neural Responses to Predictability and Uncertainty."
    10. Biomedical Engineering Dept., University of California, San Diego (2001), "Neuroinformatics: Computational Approaches to fMRI Design."
    11. Brain Mapping Center, UCLA (2001), "Neuroinformatics: Computational Approaches to fMRI Design."
    12. Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Grand Rounds, Emory University School of Medicine (2001)
    13. Department of Psychiatry Grand Rounds, Weill Medical College, Cornell University (2002).
    14. Department of Psychiatry and Neurology Grand Rounds, Tulane Medical School (2003).
    15. Division of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine, Opening of Human Neuroimaging Laboratory (2003).
    16. Economics Department, Sloan School MIT (2003).
    17. Center for Mind and Brain, University of California, Davis (2004).
    18. Psychology and Economics Departments, New York University (2004).
    19. Department of Neuroscience, Medical University of South Carolina (2006).
    20. Major Speakers in Neuroeconomics Series, Duke University (2006).
    21. Distinguished Lecture Series, Georgia State University (2007)
    22. Department of Neurology Grand Rounds, Emory University (2007)
    23. Seminar Series in Computation and Neural Systems, Caltech (2007)
    24. Series of Lectures, Economics Dept, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (2007)
    25. Psychology Department Colloqium, Emory University (2007)
    26. Economics Department, Emory University (2008)
    27. Economics Department, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan (2008)
    28. Rotman Institute, University of Toronto (2009)
    29. Frank Shobe Lecture, Department of Psychiatry, Washington University (2010)
    30. Psychology Department, University of Michigan (2011)
    31. Fox Business School, Temple University (2011)
    32. Psychology Department, Stanford University (2011)
    33. Sage Center for the Study of Mind and Behavior, UCSB (2012)
    34. Arizona State University (2014)
    35. Boston ASPCA (2014)
    36. Oregon State University (2014)


    1. Biomedical Engineering Society Annual Meeting (1998). "Modeling Basal Ganglia Function: Implications for Drug Abuse and Parkinson’s Disease."
    2. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (1998).  Workshop on "Mechanisms of Drug Craving."
    3. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (1999).  Teaching Day.  "Beyond Phrenology: Using Functional MRI to Study Brain Dynamics."
    4. American College of Neuropsychopharmacology (1999).  Workshop on "Mapping the functional anatomy of the anterior limbic areas: Integrating behavior, neurochemistry and anatomy in psychiatric pathophysiology."
    5. European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, Munich (2000). Invited symposium on "Cognition, fMRI, and Psychopharmacology."
    6. Biodynamics III -- Nonlinear Approaches in the Health Sciences (2000). Invited presentation on fMRI and brain dynamics.
    7. NIDA (2000). Invited presentation for workshop, "Computational Models: Applications to Drug Abuse."
    8. American Neuropsychiatric Association (2002). Invited presentation on, "Hyperscan: The biology of human interaction using web-linked fMRI."
    9. Future Leaders in Psychiatry (2002). Invited presentation.
    10. NIDA satellite symposium on reward (2002). Invited presentation.
    11. Future Leaders in Psychiatry (2003). Invited presentation.
    12. Society for Neuroscience, Symposium on Decision-Making (2003). Invited presentation.
    13. World Economic Forum (2004)
    14. International Meeting of the Economic Science Association (2004). Plenary talk on neuroeconomics.
    15. Future Leaders in Psychiatry (2005). Invited presentation.
    16. NIDA Symposium on Obesity and Addiction (2005). Invited presentation or reward & saliency.
    17. NIDA workshop on adolescent reward and decision-making (2006). Invited presentation.
    18. Future Leaders in Psychiatry (2006). Invited presentation.
    19. American Psychological Association (2006). Invited presentation on conformity.
    20. Legg Mason Thought Leaders Forum (2006). Invited presentation on neuroeconomics.
    21. NIDA Conference on Drug Abuse and Risky Behaviors (2007). Invited presentation on neuroeconomics.
    22. Future Leaders in Psychiatry (2007). Invited presentation.
    23. Defining a Cognitive Battery for Drug Abuse, NIDA (2007)
    24. Social Neuroscience Symposium, NIDA (2007). Invited presentation.
    25. Neurofinance symposium, Zurich (2007). Invited presentation.
    26. American Psychological Association (2008). Invited presentation on neuroeconomics.
    27. World Economic Forum (2009)
    28. Summer workshop on decision science, University of Michigan (2009)
    29. Global Economic Symposium, Hamburg, Germany (2009)
    30. Global Economic Symposium, Istanbul, Turkey (2010)
    31. The Neurobiology of Political Violence, Washington, DC (2010)
    32. American Accounting Association, Washington, DC (2012). Plenary talk.
    33. Erasmus University, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2013). Plenary Talk.
    34. Ivy League Vegan Conference (2014)
    35. Science of Animal Thinking & Emotion, Humane Society Institute (2014). Invited presentation.
    36. Canine S&T Workshop (2014)

    BIBLIOGRAPHY (h-index = 37)

    Research Articles

    1. Berns MW, Aist J, Edwards J, Strahs K, Girton J, McNeill P, Rattner JB, Kitzes M, Hammer-Wilson M, Liaw L-H, Siemens A, Koonce M, Peterson S, Brenner S, Burt J, Walter R, Bryant PJ, van Dyk D, Coulombe J, Cahill T, Berns GS: Laser microsurgery in cell and developmental biology. Science 213:505-513, 1981.
    2. Berns GS and Berns MW: Computer-based tracking of living cells. Exp. Cell Res. 142:103-109, 1982.
    3. Berns MW, Berns GS, Coffey J, Wile AG: Exposure (dose) tables for hematoporphyrin derivative photoradiation therapy. Lasers in Surgery & Med. 4:107-131, 1984.
    4. Berns GS, Hull ML, Patterson HA: Implementation of a five degree of freedom automated system to determine knee flexibility in vitro. J. Biomech. Eng. 112:392-400, 1990.
    5. Howell SM, Berns GS, Farley TE: Unimpinged and impinged anterior cruciate ligament grafts: MR signal intensity measurements. Radiology 179:639-643, 1991.
    6. Berns GS, Hull ML, Patterson HA: Strain in the anteromedial bundle of the anterior cruciate ligament under combination loading. J. Orthop. Res. 10:167-176, 1992.
    7. Berns GS, Howell SM, Farley TE: The accuracy of signal intensity measurements in magnetic resonance imaging as evaluated within the knee. Magn. Reson. Imag. 10:573-578, 1992.
    8. Berns GS and Howell SM: Roofplasty requirements in vitro for different tibial hole placements in anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions. Am. J. Sports Med. 21:292-298, 1993.
    9. Berns GS, Dayan P, Sejnowski TJ: A correlational model for the development of disparity selectivity in visual cortex that depends on prenatal and postnatal phases. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 90:8277-8281, 1993. PDF.
    10. Hull ML, Berns GS, Varma H, Patterson HA: Strain in the medial collateral ligament of the human knee under single and combined loads. J. Biomech. 29:199-206, 1996.
    11. Berns GS, Cohen JD, Mintun MA: Brain regions responsive to novelty in the absence of awareness. Science, 276:1272-1275, 1997. PDF
    12. Berns GS and Sejnowski TJ: A computational model of how the basal ganglia produce sequences. J. Cogn. Neurosci., 10:108-121, 1998. PDF.
    13. Nemeroff CB, Kilts CD, Berns GS:  Functional brain imaging: Twenty-first century phrenology or psychobiological advance for the millennium? Am. J. Psychiatry 156:671-673, 1999.
    14. Berns GS, Song AW, Mao H:  Continuous functional magnetic resonance imaging reveals dynamic nonlinearities in "dose-response" curves for finger opposition. J. Neurosci. 19:RC17:1-6, 1999. PDF.
    15. Bischoff-Grethe A, Proper SM, Mao H, Daniels KA, Berns GS: Conscious and unconscious processing of nonverbal predictability in Wernicke's area.  J. Neurosci. 20(5):1975-1981, 2000. PDF.
    16. Berns GS, McClure SM, Pagnoni G, Montague PR: Predictability modulates human brain response to reward. J. Neurosci., 21:2793-2798, 2001. PDF.
    17. Bischoff-Grethe A, Martin M, Mao H, Berns GS: The context of uncertainty modulates the subcortical response to predictability. J. Cogn. Neurosci., 13:986-993, 2001. PDF.
    18. Berns GS, Martin M, Proper S: Limbic hyperreactivity in bipolar II disorder. Am. J. Psychiatry, 159:304-306, 2002. PDF.
    19. Pagnoni G, Zink CF, Montague PR, Berns GS: Activity in human ventral striatum locked to errors of reward prediction. Nat. Neurosci., 5:97-98, 2002. PDF.
    20. Dhamala M, Pagnoni G, Wiesenfeld K, Berns GS: Measurements of brain activity complexity for varying mental loads. Phys. Rev. E., 65:041917(7), 2002. PDF.
    21. Rilling JK, Gutman DA, Zeh TR, Pagnoni G, Berns GS, Kilts CD: A neural basis for social cooperation. Neuron, 35:395-405, 2002. PDF.
    22. Montague PR, Berns GS, Cohen JD, McClure SM, Pagnoni G, Dhamala M, Wiest M, Karpov I, King RD, Apple N, Fisher RE: Hyperscanning: Simultaneous fMRI during linked social interactions, Neuroimage 16:1159-1164, 2002. PDF.
    23. McClure SM, Berns GS, Montague PR: Temporal prediction errors in a passive learning task activate human striatum. Neuron 38: 339-346, 2003. PDF.
    24. Dhamala M, Pagnoni G, Wiesenfeld K, Zink CF, Martin M, Berns GS: Neural correlates of the complexity of rhythmic finger tapping. Neuroimage 20:918-926, 2003. PDF.
    25. Zink CF, Pagnoni G, Martin ME, Dhamala M, Berns GS: Human striatal response to salient non-rewarding stimuli. J. Neurosci. 23:8092-8097, 2003. PDF. Accompanying editorial.
    26. Zink CF, Pagnoni G, Martin-Skurski ME, Chappelow JC, Berns GS: Human striatal response to monetary reward depends on saliency. Neuron 42:509-517, 2004. PDF.
    27. Capuron L, Pagnoni G, Demetrashvili M, Woolwine BJ, Nemeroff CB, Berns GS, Miller AH: Anterior cingulate activation and error processing during interferon-alpha treatment. Biol. Psychiatry 58:190-196, 2005. PDF.
    28. Berns GS, Chappelow JC, Zink CF, Pagnoni G, Martin-Skurski ME, Richards R: Neurobiological correlates of social conformity and independence during mental rotation. Biol. Psychiatry 58:245-253, 2005. PDF.
    29. Zink CF, Pagnoni G, Chappelow JC, Martin-Skurski ME, Berns GS: Human striatal activation reflects degree of stimulus saliency. Neuroimage 29:977-983, 2006. PDF.
    30. Berns GS, Chappelow J, Cekic M, Zink CF, Pagnoni G, Martin-Skurski ME: Neurobiologic substrates of dread. Science, 312:754-758, 2006. PDF. Supporting Materials.
    31. Capuron L, Pagnoni G, Demetrashvili MF, Lawson DH, Fornwalt FB, Woolwine B, Berns GS, Nemeroff CB, Miller AH: Basal ganglia hypermetabolism and symptoms of fatigue during interferon-alpha therapy. Neuropsychopharmacology 32:2394-2392 , 2007.
    32. Berns GS, Capra CM, Moore S, Noussair C: A shocking experiment: new evidence on probability weighting and common ratio violations. Judgment & Decision Making 2:234-242, 2007. PDF.
    33. Chandrasekhar PVS, Capra CM, Moore S, Noussair C, Berns GS: Neurobiological regret and rejoice functions for aversive outcomes. Neuroimage 39:1472-1484 (epub Nov 2007). PDF.
    34. Berns GS, Capra CM, Chappelow J, Moore S, Noussair C: Nonlinear neurobiological probability weighting functions for aversive outcomes. Neuroimage 39:2047-2057, 2008 (epub Nov 2007). PDF.
    35. Engelmann JB, Capra CM, Noussair C, Berns GS: Expert financial advice neurobiologically "offloads" financial decision-making under risk. PLoS One 4:e4957, 2009. Link. PDF.
    36. Berns GS, Moore S, Capra CM: Adolescent engagement in dangerous behaviors is associated with increased white matter maturity of frontal cortex. PLoS One 4(8):e6773, 2009. Link. PDF.
    37. Berns GS, Capra CM, Moore S, Noussair C: Neural mechanisms of the influence of popularity on adolescent ratings of music. Neuroimage 49:2687-2696, 2010. PDF.
    38. Brooks AM, Pammi VSC, Noussair C, Capra CM, Engelmann JB, Berns GS: From bad to worse: striatal coding of the relative value of painful decisions. Front. Neurosci doi: 10.3389/fnins.2010.00176, 2010. PDF.
    39. Berns GS and Moore SE: A neural predictor of cultural popularity. J Consumer Psychol. 22:154-160, 2012. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2011.05.001.
    40. Berns GS and Bell E: Striatal topography of probability and magnitude information for decisions under uncertainty. Neuroimage, 59:3166-3172, 2012. PDF.
    41. Brooks AM, Capra CM, Berns GS: Neural insensitivity to upticks in value is associated with the disposition effect. Neuroimage, 59:4086-4093, 2012. PDF.
    42. Berns GS, Bell E, Capra CM, Prietula MJ, Moore S, Anderson B, Ginges J, Atran S: The price of your soul: neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. B, 367:754-762, 2012. PDF. HTML.
    43. Engelmann JB, Moore S, Capra CM, Berns GS: Differential neurobiological effects of expert advice on risky choice in adolescents and adults. Soc Cogn Affect Neurosci, 7:557-567, 2012. PDF.
    44. Berns GS, Brooks AM, Spivak M: Functional MRI in awake unrestrained dogs. PLoS ONE 7(5):e38027, 2012. Link. PDF.
    45. Capra CM, Jiang B, Engelmann JB, Berns GS: Can personality explain heterogeneity in probability distortions? J. Neurosci. Psychol. Econ. 6:151-166, 2013. PDF.
    46. Berns GS, Brooks A, Spivak M: Replicability and heterogeneity of awake unrestrained canine fMRI responses. PLoS ONE 8(12):e81698, 2013. Link.
    47. Ekins WG, Caceda R, Capra CM, Berns GS: You can't gamble on others: dissociable systems for strategic uncertainty and risk in the brain. J. Econ. Behav. Org.94:222-233, 2013. PDF.
    48. Berns GS, Blaine K, Prietula MJ, Pye BE: Short and long term effects of a novel on connectivity in the brain. Brain Connectivity 3:590-600, 2013. Link.
    49. Berns GS, Brooks AM, Spivak M: Scent of the familiar: an fMRI study of canine brain responses to familiar and unfamiliar human and dog odors. Behavioural Processes, 2014. Link.
    50. Barton J, Berns GS, Brooks AM: The neuroscience behind the stock market's reaction to corporate earnings news. The Accounting Review, 89:1945-1977, 2014.
    51. Ekins WG, Brooks AM, Berns GS: The neural correlates of contractual risk and penalty framing. J. Risk & Uncertainty, 49:125-140, 2014. PDF.
    52. Pincus M, LaViers L, Prietula MJ, Berns G: The conforming brain and deontological resolve. PLoS ONE, 9(8):e106061, 2014. Link.
    53. Cook PF, Spivak M, Berns GS: One pair of hands is not like another: caudate BOLD response in dogs depends on signal source and canine temperament. PeerJ, 2:e596, 2014. PDF. Link.
    54. Berns GS, Cook PF, Foxley S, Jbabdi S, Miller KL, Marino L: Diffusion tensor imaging of dolphin brains reveals direct auditory pathway to temporal lobe. Proc. R. Soc. B 282:20151203, 2015. Link.
    55. Dilks DD, Cook P, Weiller SK, Berns HP, Spivak M, Berns GS: Awake fMRI reveals a specialized region in dog temporal cortex for face processing. PeerJ, 3:e1115, 2015. Link. PDF.

    Review Articles

    1. Berns GS: Functional neuroimaging.  Life Sci 65:2531-2540, 1999. PDF.
    2. Berns GS and Nemeroff CB:  Extreme measures. The neurobiology of bipolar disorder.  Odyssey 5:36-41, 1999.
    3. Mao H and Berns GS: MRI in the study of brain functions: clinical perspectives. Medicamundi 46:28-38, 2002. PDF.
    4. Montague PR and Berns GS: Neural economics and the biological substrates of valuation. Neuron 36:265-284, 2002. PDF.
    5. Berns GS and Nemeroff CB: The neurobiology of bipolar disorder. Am. J. Med. Genet C 123C:76-84, 2003. PDF.
    6. Berns GS: Neural game theory and the search for rational agents in the brain. Behav. Brain Sci. 26:155-156, 2003.
    7. Berns GS: Something funny happened to reward. Trends Cogn. Sci. 8:193-194, 2004. PDF.
    8. Berns GS: Price, placebo, and the brain. J. Marketing Res. XLII:399-400, 2005. PDF.
    9. Berns GS, Capra CM, Noussair C: Receptor theory and biological constraints on value. Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 1104:301-309, 2007. PDF.
    10. Berns GS, Laibson D, Loewenstein G: Intertemporal choice -- toward an integrated framework, Trends Cogn. Sci., 11:482-488, 2007. PDF.
    11. Berns GS, Capra CM, Moore S, Noussair C: Three studies on the neuroeconomics of decision-making when payoffs are real and negative. Adv Health Econ Health Serv Res 20:1-29, 2008.
    12. Ariely D and Berns GS: Neuromarketing: The hope and hype of neuoroimaging in business. Nat. Rev. Neurosci., 11:284-292, 2010. PDF.
    13. Berns GS and Atran S: The biology of cultural conflict. Phil. Trans. Royal Soc. B, 367:633-639, 2012. PDF. HTML.
    14. Yoon C, Gonzalez R, Bechara A, Berns GS, Dagher AA, Dube L, Huettel SA, Kable JW, Liberzon I, Plassmann H, Spence C: Decision neuroscience and consumer decision making. Mark Lett 23:473-485, 2012. PDF.
    15. Brooks AM and Berns GS: Aversive stimuli and loss in the mesocortical dopamine system. Trends Cogn. Sci. 17:281-286, 2013.


    1. Berns G: Satisfaction. The Science of Finding True Fulfillment. Henry Holt & Co., 2005. Foreign editions: German, Dutch, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Romanian.
    2. Berns G: Iconoclast. A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently. Harvard Business School Press, 2008. Named one of top 10 business books of 2008 by Fast Company. Foreign editions: Korean, Portugese, Thai, Chinese, Romanian.
    3. Berns G: How Dogs Love Us. A Neuroscientist and His Adopted Dog Decode the Canine Brain. Amazon New Harvest, 2013. NYT Book Review. NYT and WSJ Bestseller (Aug 2014).
  • Popular Articles

    1. Berns G: Dogs are people,too. New York Times, Oct. 7, 2013. Link.
    2. Berns G: Five signs your dog loves you. Wall Street Journal, Dec. 4, 2013. Link.
    3. Berns G: Loving a hard to love dog. The Dodo, Jan. 12, 2014. Link.

    Book Chapters

    1. Berns GS and Sejnowski TJ: How the basal ganglia make decisions. The Neurobiology of Decision-Making. A Damasio, H Damasio, Y Christen eds, Springer-Verlag, 1996, pp. 101-113.
    2. Berns GS: Cognitive neuroscience. Encyclopedia of Psychology and Neuroscience, WE Craighead and CB Nemeroff eds. John Wiley & Sons, 2000, pp. 314-315.
    3. Montague PR, Eagleman DM, McClure SM, Berns GS: Reinforcement learning. Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. L Nadel ed. Macmillan Reference, 2003.
    4. Pagnoni, G and Berns GS: Brain imaging in psychopharmacology. Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Third Edition. AF Schatzberg and CB Nemeroff eds. American Psychiatric Publishing, 2004, pp. 163-172.

    Book Reviews

    1. Berns GS and Nemeroff CB: Book Review of "The Neuropsychiatry of Limbic and Subcortical Disorders." J Psych Neurosci 24:251-252, 1999.

    Other Publications

    1. Berns GS: Force distribution patterns in the foot during running. A.B. Thesis, Dept. of Physics, Princeton University, 1986.
    2. Berns GS: Strain within the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments of the human knee under combination loading. Ph.D. Dissertation, Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, 1990.

    MEDIA COVERAGE / PUBLIC SERVICE (Prior to 2007. For current publicity, see google search)