Mission of the Lab


Research at the University of Chicago Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, headed by Dr. Jean Decety, focuses on the neurobiological, epigenetic, and psychological mechanisms underlying affective and social interpersonal processes, including empathy, perspective-taking, moral judgment, and prosocial behavior.


We also examine the neuro-development of social evaluations, moral cognition, and altruism in toddlers, children and adolescents using the latest brain imaging and electrophysiological methods.


Because atypical socioemotional processing and the lack of empathy are hallmark characteristics of psychopathy and, in these individuals, is associated with callous disregard for the wellbeing of others, guiltlessness, and little appreciation of moral wrongdoing, we further explore socioemitional dysfunctions in adults with various levels of psychopathic traits, including incarcerated psychopaths.


This multi-level integrative approach, bridging affective neuroscience, neurobiology, genetics, developmental science, and psychology, has the unique potential for generating new hypotheses concerning social emotional disorders and contributes to our understanding and treatment of abnormal  social behavior.

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Recent News

Justice sensitivity and the moral brain in The Journal of Neuroscience  


Affective perspective taking in criminal psychopaths in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

The speed of morality in The Journal of Neurophysiology