Dr. Jean Decety is Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and the College. He is the co-director of the Brain Research Imaging Center at the University of Chicago Medical Center. Jean Decety is the Editor of Social Neuroscience.
I was born and raised in France and attended the University Claude Bernard in Lyon as an undergraduate. Then I went to graduate school in the neuroscience program at the same University. I received my Ph.D. in 1989 (neuroscience). After that I completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in Sweden, at Lund University Hospital in clinical neurophysiology, and at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm in the Department of clinical neurophysiology and neuroradiology. In 1991, I got a research position at the Institute for Medical Research (INSERM) in Lyon where worked in the domains of cognitive neuroscience of action perception and understanding, mental imagery, imitation, perspective taking and theory of mind using positron emission tomography, functional magnetic resonance imaging, as well as measurements of the autonomic nervous system.
In 2001, I was offered by Pat Kuhl and Andrew Meltzoff the opportunity to become the head of a new social and cognitive neuroscience Lab at he University of Washington Institute for Brain and Learning in Seattle. In 2006, I joined the University of Chicago.
My research investigates the cognitive and neural mechanisms underpinning affective and emotional processing, moral reasoning, empathy, and more generally interpersonal processes in both healthy individuals and atypical populations such as children with aggressive conduct disorder and psychopaths. This area of research combines neuroimaging methods such as functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), structural MRI (sMRI), high-density ERPs, autonomic nervous system (ANS) and hormones. I am also developing an animal model to investigate the neural and neuroendocrine mechanisms of empathy and prosocial behavior in rats.
- Aggression, Conflict, Peace
- Emotion, Mood, Affect
- Ethics and Morality
- Helping, Prosocial Behavior
- Interpersonal Processes
- Neuroscience, Psychophysiology
- Nonverbal Behavior
- Person Perception
- Prejudice and Stereotyping
- Social Cognition
Research Group or Laboratory:
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- Decety, J. (Ed.). (2012). Empathy: From bench to bedside. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Decety, J., & Ickes, W. (Eds.). (2011). The social neuroscience of empathy. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Ben-Ami Bartal, I., Decety, J., & Mason, P. (2011). Empathy and pro-social behavior in rats. Science, 334, 1427-1430.
- Cacioppo, J. T., & Decety, J. (2011). Social neuroscience: Challenges and opportunities in the study of complex behavior. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1224, 162-173.
- Cheng, Y., Hung, A., & Decety, J. (2012). Dissociation between affective sharing and emotion understanding in juvenile psychopaths. Development and Psychopathology, 24, 623-636.
- Cheng, Y., Lin, C., Liu, H. L., Hung, D., & Decety, J. (2007). Expertise modulates the perception of pain in others. Current Biology, 17, 1708-1713.
- Decety, J. (2011). The neuroevolution of empathy. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1231, 35-45.
- Decety, J. (2011). Dissecting the neural mechanisms mediating empathy. Emotion Review, 3, 92-108.
- Decety, J. (2010). To what extent is the experience of empathy mediated by shared neural circuits? Emotion Review, 2, 204-207.
- Decety, J., Echols, S. C., & Correll, J. (2009). The blame game: The effect of responsibility and social stigma on empathy for pain. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 22(5), 985-997.
- Decety, J., & Jackson, P. L. (2004). The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Reviews, 3, 71-100.
- Decety, J., & Lamm, C. (2007). The role of the right temporoparietal junction in social interaction: How low-level computational processes contribute to meta-cognition. The Neuroscientist, 13, 580-593.
- Decety, J., & Meyer, M. (2008). From emotion resonance to empathic understanding: A social developmental neuroscience account. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 1053-1080.
- Decety, J., & Michalska, K. J. (2010). Neurodevelopmental changes in the circuits underlying empathy and sympathy from childhood to adulthood. Developmental Science, 13, 886-899.
- Decety, J., Michalska, K. J., & Kinzler, K. D. (2011). The contribution of emotion and cognition to moral sensitivity: A neurodevelopmental study. Cerebral Cortex.
- Decety, J., & Porges, E. C. (2011). Imagining being the agent of actions that carry different moral consequences: An fMRI study. Neuropsychologia, 49, 2994-3001.
- Decety, J., Yang, C. Y., & Cheng, Y. (2010). Physicians down-regulate their pain empathy response: An event-related brain potential study. NeuroImage, 50, 1676-1682.
- Harenski, C. L., Thornton, D. M., Harenski, K. A., Decety, J., & Kiehl, K. A. (2012). Increased fronto-temporal activation during pain observation in sexual sadism. Archives of General Psychiatry, 69, 283-292.
- Jackson, P. L., Brunet, E., Meltzoff, A. N., & Decety, J. (2006). Empathy examined through the neural mechanisms involved in imagining how I feel versus how you feel pain. Neuropsychologia, 44, 752-61.
- Lamm, C., Batson, C. D., & Decety, J. (2007). The neural substrate of human empathy: Effects of perspective-taking and cognitive appraisal. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 42-58.
- Lamm, C., Meltzoff, A. N., & Decety, J. (2010). How do we empathize with someone who is not like us? A functional magnetic resonance imaging study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 2, 362-376.
- Altruism and Prosocial Behavior
- Brain Mapping Workshop
- Developmental Human Neuroscience
- The Empathic Brain
- Topics in Developmental Psychology: Empathy and Moral Reasoning
- Windows to the Social Brain
Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory
University of Chicago
5848 S. University Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637
- Phone: (773) 834-3711