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Ifat Levy, PhD

Professor of Comparative Medicine and Vice Chair for Diversity, Inclusion and Equity; Co-director, Science Fellows Program

Contact Information

Ifat Levy, PhD

Lab Location

Office Location

Mailing Address

  • Comparative Medicine

    PO Box 208016

    New Haven, CT 06520-8016

    United States

Research Summary

I am interested in the neural mechanisms that underlie human decision-making, especially under risk and uncertainty, and in the way individual differences in decision-making are reflected by the neural activation. My studies combine functional MRI methods from cognitive neuroscience and experimental methods from behavioral economics to study the neural correlates of decision parameters and valuation processes. Similar paradigms are used in healthy young volunteers, as well as in adolescents, older adults and obese individuals in order to unravel changes in behavior and in neural activation that may be at the core of pathological behaviors such as extreme risk-taking in adolescents and overeating in obese individuals.

Specialized Terms: Decision-making; Value; Reward; Risk; Ambiguity; Functional MRI

Extensive Research Description

  1. Risk and ambiguity in the negative domain – examining behavior and neural activation for decision in terms of risk and ambiguity between outcomes that include losses.
  2. Behavior and neural correlates of decision under risk and ambiguity across the lifespan.
  3. Decision parameters in obese and lean individuals – comparing attitudes towards decision parameters such as risk and ambiguity in different BMI groups.
  4. Implicit learning of value - behavior and neural correlates of value learning in conditioning paradigms and their relationship to choice processes.
  5. Representation of food in obese and lean subjects - how is food that is depicted in movies perceived and how does it affect choice.


Research Interests

Basal Ganglia; Behavior and Behavior Mechanisms; Central Nervous System; Cerebral Cortex

Public Health Interests

Aging; Obesity; Child/Adolescent Health

Selected Publications

Clinical Trials

ConditionsStudy Title
Diseases of the Nervous System; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchIntensive 7-day Treatment for PTSD Combining Ketamine With Exposure Therapy (PTSD)
Diseases of the Nervous System; Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchBiomarkers of Clinical Subtype and Treatment Response in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Mental Health & Behavioral ResearchStudying the Adult Brain
Using Neuroimaging to track symptom change in PTSD treatment