Our laboratory investigates the neural underpinnings of human social behavior. We are pursuing questions such as:
- How do we recognize emotion from facial expressions?
- How do we make social judgments about other people?
- How do we look at people’s faces (how do we move our eyes when looking at them)?
- How do we make decisions that are influenced by emotion?
- How do we remember emotional events in our lives?
- How do we make moral judgments about what is right and wrong?
These and other questions are being addressed by using a variety of techniques. We study the changes in cognition and behavior following specific brain damage and brain malformations in neurological patients; we record electrical activity from the brains of neurosurgical patients; we probe the behavior of people with neuropsychiatric diseases such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. And we are investigating behavior and brain activations in healthy individuals, studies that include an examination of the differences between people in social cognition.
We collaborate with Daniel Tranel and colleagues at the University of Iowa, Joe Piven and colleagues at the University of North Carolina, and a number of faculty at Caltech. Our research is funded in part by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, and a number of other private Foundations including the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Foundation.