Filling the gaps: cognitive control as a critical lens for understanding mechanisms of value-based decision-making

R. Frömer*, Amitai Shenhav*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While often seeming to investigate rather different problems, research into value-based decision making and cognitive control have historically offered parallel insights into how people select thoughts and actions. While the former studies how people weigh costs and benefits to make a decision, the latter studies how they adjust information processing to achieve their goals. Recent work has highlighted ways in which decision-making research can inform our understanding of cognitive control. Here, we provide the complementary perspective: how cognitive control research has informed understanding of decision-making. We highlight three particular areas of research where this critical interchange has occurred: (1) how different types of goals shape the evaluation of choice options, (2) how people use control to adjust the ways they make their decisions, and (3) how people monitor decisions to inform adjustments to control at multiple levels and timescales. We show how adopting this alternate viewpoint offers new insight into the determinants of both decisions and control; provides alternative interpretations for common neuroeconomic findings; and generates fruitful directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104483
Number of pages17
JournalNeuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews
Early online date10 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Reward
  • Attention
  • Choice conflict
  • Performance monitoring
  • Metacognition


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