My research focuses on questions that lie at the intersection of decision making and cognitive control. Most recently, I've become very interested in understanding, at a computational level, how the brain decides which decision-making strategies to employ given their costs, benefits, and their environment. I am also very interested in how such 'metacontrol' decisions affect phenomena in the broader field of psychology. I approach my research from a broad range of perspectives, using tools from experimental psychology, computational modeling, neuroimaging, and behavioral economics.

recent papers

  • Reasoning supports utilitarian resolutions to moral dilemmas across diverse measures

    Patil et al. (in prep).

    Dual-process models of morality claim that those who reason more should make more utilitarian moral judgments. Across 8 studies, we find strong evidence for this claim.

  • The transdiagnostic structure of mental effort avoidance

    Patzelt et al. (in press). Sci Rep.

    Our team has found that people's tendency to avoid mental effort predicts a number of constructs that are common to several forms of psychiatric illness.

  • Mental labour

    Kool & Botvinick (2018). Nat Hum Behav.

    In this paper, we discuss how tools from behavioral economics provide a fruitful ground for understanding how people balance costs and benefits when exerting mental effort.

  • Planning complexity registers as a cost in metacontrol

    Kool, Gershman, & Cushman (2018). J Cogn Neurosci.

    In this series of studies, we demonstrate that our willingness to exert model-based control depends on the amount of mental effort it requires.