Jean Decety, Ph.D

Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry

Child NeuroSuite

Jean Decety (Ph.D. in neurobiology from the University Claude Bernard, France) is Irving B. Harris Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Chicago. He is a leading scholar on the social and affective neuroscience of empathy, morality, and prosocial behavior, as well as other topics related to neurobiological underpinnings of social cognition. His work has led to new understanding of empathy, affective processes, and moral decision-making in typically developing individuals as well as psychopaths. His research uses neuroimaging techniques (functional MRI and high-density EEG) and genetics to examine how biological and social factors interact in contributing to empathy and the motivation to care for the well-being of others.

In the Child NeuroSuite, Dr. Decety is examining the development of morality and empathy in infants and children by combining EEG measurements with behavioral tasks that assess various basic elements of morality including sensitivity to fairness, sharing, and social evaluations. He is also exploring cross-cultural differences in the development of moral reasoning in various countries including, Canada, China, Jordan, South Africa, Turkey and USA.

Dr. Decety is the President-elect of the Society for Social Neuroscience. He recently edited the Oxford Handbook of Social Neuroscience (2011) and Empathy from Bench to Bedside (2012) at MIT Press. He is currently preparing a new volume on The Moral Brain at MIT Press.