My research focuses on understanding factors that affect or relate to decision-making patterns. Check out my lab page, PEDL, for more information on our current research!

I am also interested in leveraging digital and social media for effective teaching. You can find more information on that work under Teaching.

In graduate school, my work focused on how decision-making changes across the lifespan and the neural correlates of these changes. I used fMRI and behavioral choice tasks to measure brain activity during choices. In one study, we found that older adults who show disadvantageous decision-making in real world situations tend to show less brain activation in the “value network” – a set of brain regions that helps us create value/meaning.

My thesis work focused on the role affect plays in judgment and decision-making among older adults. I found that although older adults experiences less negative affect, their negative affective experiences were less varied/complex. Moreover, younger adults affect correlated with decision patterns, whereas older adults emotions did not correlate with decision patterns. I also found individual differences in brain activity associated with emotion regulation among older adults.


*indicates undergraduate (or former undergraduate)

[Preregistration] Mueller, D., & Halfmann, K. (2019, June 6). Dopamine and Utilitarian Moral Judgment. Retrieved from

[Preregistration] Schony, M., & Halfmann, K. (2019, June 4). How Confident are Anxious Individuals in Making Ethical Decisions? Retrieved from

[Preregistration] *Kornely, D., & Halfmann, K. (2018, June 21). The effect of psychosocial stress on substance use behaviors.

Halfmann, K., *Kornely, D., *Kerkel, B., *Mueller, D., & *Davis, C. (Under Review). Impulsive choice, risky choice, socioeconomic status, and student debt attitudes.

*Barry, C., & Halfmann, K. (2016). The effect of mindset on decision-making. The Journal of Integrated Social Sciences, 6, 49-74.

Koestner, B., Hedgcock, W., Halfmann, K., & Denburg, N. L. (2016). The role of the ventromedial prefrontal cortex in purchase intent among older adults. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 8, 189. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2016.00189

Halfmann, K., Hedgcock, W., Kable, J., & Denburg, N. L. (2015). Individual differences in the neural signature of value in older adults. Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 1-10. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsv078

Halfmann, K., Hedgcock, W., Bechara, A., & Denburg, N. L. (2014). Functional neuroimaging of the Iowa Gambling Task in older adults. Neuropsychology, 6, 870-880doi: 10.1037/neu0000120

Halfmann, K., Hedgcock, W., & Denburg, N. L. (2013). Age-related differences in discounting future gains and losses. Journal of Neuroscience, Psychology, and Economics, 6, 42-54. PMCID: PMC4070592

Halfmann, K., & Crisp, K. (2011). A kinematic study of control of pulsation in the dorsal blood vessel of the blackworm, Lumbriculus variegatus. IMPULSE: The Premier Undergraduate Journal for Publications in the Neurosciences, 1-10. {From undergraduate research I conducted at St. Olaf College}


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