Mission of the Lab


The Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, headed by Dr. Jean Decety, explores the neurobiological and psychological mechanisms underlying affective and social interpersonal processes and their expressions in behavior.


Because atypical socioemotional functioning and the lack of empathy are hallmark characteristics of psychopathy and, in these individuals, are associated with callous disregard for the well-being of others, guiltlessness, and little appreciation of moral wrongdoing, we further study adults with various levels of psychopathic traits, including forensic psychopaths.


To examine to development of social evaluations, moral cognition and prosocial behavior, we have a separate infant and child friendly space:

The University of Chicago Child Neurosuite.


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Recent Publications

Is empathy necessary for moral behavior?

Perspectives on Psychological Science

Sensitivity to justice and the moral brain

Journal of Neuroscience  


Affective perspective taking in criminal psychopaths

Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

The speed of morality

Journal of Neurophysiology