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Professor of Psychology, and Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Chicago

Dr. Jean Decety is Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago and its College. He is the head of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, and the director of the Child Neurosuite. He is a leading scholar on the social neuroscience of empathy, morality and prosocial behavior, as well as other topics related to the neurobiology of social cognition. His work has led to new understandings of empathy, affective processes and moral decision-making in typically developing children and adults, as well as criminal psychopaths. His research uses neuroimaging techniques (functional MRI and high-density EEG), behavioral economics and genetic to examine how biological and social factors interact in contributing to empathy and the motivation to care for the well-being of others.

Decety is the founder of the Society for Social Neuroscience. He edited the Social Neuroscience of Empathy (2009) at MIT Press, the Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience (2011), Empathy from Bench to Bedside (2012), New Frontiers in Social Neuroscience (2014), The Moral Brain – A Multidisciplinary Perspective (2015), and The Social Brain (2020) at MIT press.


  • 2005–present
    Professor, University of Chicago
  • 2001–2005
    Professor, University of Washington
  • 1997–2001
    Director of Research, INSERM - Lyon