Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and the College

Office phone: (773) 834-3711
Fax: (773) 702-0886
Office: Kelly Hall 308
Labs: Kelly Hall 310, 312, 314, 315
Child NeuroSuite: Beecher 302, 312


Dr. Jean Decety is the Irving B. Harris Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago and the College.

Professor Decety received a Ph.D. in Neurobiology from the University Claude Bernard (France) in 1989, and then completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in Sweden, at Lund University Hospital and at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm in the Departments of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuroradiology.

Dr. Decety is the Director of the Child Neurosuite and the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory.

Research Interests and Skills

  • Affective neuroscience
  • Behavioral economics
  • Developmental social neuroscience
  • Developmental psychology
  • Emotion and empathy
  • Functional and structural neuroimaging
  • Justice motivation
  • Morality
  • Political neuroscience
  • Prosociality
  • Psychopathy
  • Social decision-making
  • Social neuroscience

Selection of Five Recent Publications

Decety, J. & Yoder, K. J. (2017). The emerging social neuroscience of justice motivation. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21(1), 6-14.

Chen, C., Decety, J., Huang, P. C., Chen, C. Y. Yau, C. & Cheng, Y. (2016). Testosterone administration in females modulates moral judgment and patterns of brain activation and functional connectivity. Human Brain Mapping, 37, 3417-3430.

Cowell, J., & Decety, J. (2015). Precursors to morality in development as a complex interplay between neural, socio-environmental, and behavioral facets. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 112 (41), 12657-12662.

Yoder, K. J., Harenski, C., Kiehl, K. A., & Decety, J. (2015). Neural networks underlying implicit and explicit moral evaluations in psychopathy. Translational Psychiatry, 5, e625.

Decety, J., & Cowell, J. M. (2015). Empathy, justice and moral behavior. American Journal of Bioethics – Neuroscience, 6(3), 3-14.

Books as an Editor

Social Cognition: Development Across the Life Span (2017). J. Sommerville and J. Decety (Eds). Routledge.

The Moral Brain: A Multidisciplinary Perspective (2015). J. Decety and T. Wheatley (Eds). MIT Press.

New Frontiers in Social Neuroscience (2014). J. Decety and Y. Christen (Eds). Springer.

Empathy: from Bench to Bedside (2012). J. Decety (Ed). MIT press.

The Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience (2011). J. Decety and J. T. Cacioppo. Oxford University Press.

The Social Neuroscience of Empathy (2009). J. Decety and W. Ickes. MIT Press.

Interpersonal Sensitivity: Entering Others' World (2007). J. Decety and C. D. Batson. Psychology Press.


  • Developmental social neuroscience
  • The empathic brain
  • Functional MRI and EEG/ERPs workshop
  • The Mind
  • Multidisciplinary perspectives on morality
  • Neuroscience and the media: How to separate the wheat from the chaff
  • Windows to the social brain
  • The psychopathic mind: mad or bad?

More Information

Dr. Jean Decety's Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab and Child Neurosuite.