Habiba Azab

Ph.D. 2019

Thesis Title:

Foundations for Improved Models of Value-Based Decision-Making: Neural Correlates in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex and their Implications

Current Position:

Postdoctoral Fellow, Baylor College of Medicine

Undergraduate Institution and Major:

New York Institute of Technology, BA, Computer Science, 2011 

Graduate Advisor:

Ben Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Current Research:

I’m interested in understanding the neural correlates of value- based decision-making and executive control. Most of my research involves analysis of single-neuron data recorded in primate prefrontal cortex.

Graduate Publications:

  • Woo JH, Azab H, Jahn A, Hayden B, Brown JW. The PRO model accounts for the anterior cingulate cortex role in risky decision-making and monitoring.  Cogn Affect Behav Neurosci. 2022 Oct;22(5):952-968.
  • Azab H, Hayden BY. Partial integration of the components of value in anterior cingulate cortex. Behav Neurosci. 2020;134(4):296-308.
  • Cash-Padgett T, Azab H, Yoo SBM, Hayden BY. Opposing pupil responses to offered and anticipated reward values. Anim Cogn. 2018 Sep;21(5):671-684.
  • Azab H, Hayden BY. Correlates of economic decisions in dorsal and subgenual anterior cingulate cortices. Eur J Neurosci. 2018;47(8):979-993.
  • Farashahi S, Azab H, Hayden B, Soltani A. On the flexibility of basic risk attitudes in monkeys. J Neurosci. 2018;38(18):4383-4398.
  • Pirrone A, Azab H, Hayden BY, Stafford T, Marshall JAR. Evidence for the  speed-value trade-off:  human and monkey decision  making is magnitude sensitive. Decision (Wash D C ). 2018;5(2):129-142.
  • Azab H, Hayden BY. Correlates of decisional dynamics in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. PLoS Biol. 2017 Nov 15;15(11):e2003091.
  • Strait CE, Sleezer BJ, Blanchard TC, Azab H, Castagno MD, Hayden BY. Neuronal  selectivity for spatial position  of offers and choices in five reward  regions. J Neurophysiol. 2016;115:1098-111.

Thesis Committee Members:

Matthew Johnson, Ph.D., Department of Biomedical Engineering (Chair)
Benjamin Hayden, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
David Redish, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Nicola Grissom, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
Jocelyn Richard, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Undergraduate Awards:

Graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science

What Got You Interested in Research?

My undergraduate background is in computer science, and I’ve had a long-held interest in psychology and philosophy. I was especially interested in concepts of self-control, self-determination and free will, but wanted to tackle these from a primarily scientific perspective. My ultimate goal is to understand the algorithms and biological circuits that enable us to exhibit such complex, motivated behavior.


Picture of Habiba Azab