Jean Decety: On the neurobiological mechanisms of empathy and caring: Ultimate causes and proximate mechanisms
JEAN DECETY, M.S., PH.D.
Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry
University of Chicago and the College Co-director of the Brain Research Imaging Center University of Chicago Medicine
5848 S. University Avenue
Chicago, IL 60637 - USA
E-mail: decety [at] uchicago.edu
Lab web site: www.scnl.org
Child Neurosuite: www.childneurosuite.org
Faculty web page:
I am interested in understanding how the human brain processes socio-emotional information in the service of adaptive behavior, from a social neuroscience perspective. My research examines the neurobiological and computational mechanisms underlying affective interpersonal processes, in particular empathy, perspective-taking, moral decision-making, and prosocial behavior. I also study the neurodevelopment of social evaluations, moral judgment and moral behavior in infants and children using the latest brain imaging such as functional MRI, and electrophysiological techniques, combined with eye- tracking, autonomic nervous system, behavioral measures and genetics. Because various psychopathologies are characterized by deficits in interpersonal sensitivity, my Lab further explores dysfunctions in the biopsychological mechanisms underpinning social-emotional information processing in children and adults with developmental and personality disorders including aggressive conduct disorder and psychopathy. This multi-level approach (from genes to behavior), bridging affective neuroscience, neurobiology, genetics, developmental science, social and personality psychology, has the unique potential for generating new hypotheses concerning social cognitive disorders and aids our understanding and treatment of abnormal human social behavior.