Jean Decety, Ph.D

Irving B. Harris Professor at the University of Chicago and its College with a primary appointment in the Department of Psychology and a secondary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry.
Director of the Child Neurosuite.

5848 S. University Ave., Kelly 308
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Phone: 773-834-3711
Fax: 773-702-0886
Lab Website:
The Child Neurosuite Website:

Education & Training

  • University Claude Bernard, Lyon (France), Ph.D. (neurobiology), 1989.
  • Post-doc at the Karolinska Hospital in Stockholm (Sweden), 1990-1991, in the Departments of Clinical Neurophysiology and Neuroradiology.
  • University Claude Bernard, Advanced Master degree in Biological and Medical Engineering Sciences, 1987.
  • University Claude Bernard, Advanced Master degree in Neuroscience, 1988.

Research Interests

  • Behavioral economics
  • Social decision-making
  • Political neuroscience
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Conduct disorder
  • Psychopathy
  • Developmental affective and social neuroscience
  • Moral reasoning in children and adolescents


  •  Multidisciplinary Perspetives on Morality
  •  Neuroscience and the Media
  •  The Psychopathic Mind
  •  The Empathic Brain
  •  Functional MRI Workshops
  •  Developmental Human Neuroscience
  •  Windows to the Social Brain

Society Memberships

  • Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  • American Psychological Association
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • Society for Neuroscience
  • Society for Personality and Social Psychology
  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping
  • International Brain Research Association
  •  Society for Social Neuroscience
  •  Society for Research in Child Development

Selected 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.

Yoder, K. J., Lahey, B. B., & Decety, J. (2016). Callous traits in children with and without conduct problems predict reduced connectivity when viewing harm to others. Nature Scientific Reports, 6: 20216.

Decety, J., Ben-Ami Bartal, I., Uzefovsky, F., & Knafo-Noam, A. (2016). Empathy as a driver of prosocial behavior: Highly conserved neurobehavioral mechanisms across species. Proceedings of the Royal Society London - Biology, 371, 20150077.

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.

Wolf, R. C., Pujara, M. S., Motzkin, J. C., Newman, J. P., Kiehl, K. A., Decety, J., Kosson, D. S., & Koenigs, M. (2015). Interpersonal traits of psychopathy linked to reduced integrity of the uncinate fasciculus. Human Brain Mapping, 36(10), 4202-4209.

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., Lewis, K., & Cowell, J. M. (2015). Specific electrophysiological components disentangle affective sharing and empathic concern in psychopathy. Journal of Neurophysiology, 114, 493-504.

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

Yoder, K. J., Porges, E. C., & Decety, J. (2015). Amygdala subnuclei connectivity in response to violence reveals unique influences of individual differences in psychopathic traits in a non-forensic sample. Human Brain Mapping, 36, 1417-1428.

Decety, J., & Cowell, J. M. (2014). The complex relation between morality and empathy. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 18(7), 337-339.

Yoder, K. J., & Decety, J. (2014). The good, the bad, and the just: Justice sensitivity predicts neural response during moral evaluation of actions performed by others. The Journal of Neuroscience, 34(12), 4161-4166.


Social Cognition. J. A. Sommerville and J. Decety (Eds). New York: Routledge (2017).

The Moral Brain: A Multidisciplinary Perspective. J. Decety and T. Wheatley (Eds). Cambridge: MIT Press (2016).

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

Empathy: From Bench to Bedside. J. Decety (Ed). Cambridge: MIT Press (2012).

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

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

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

Other Activities

  • Editor in Chief of Social Neuroscience
  • Executive committee member of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience
  • Member of the Center for Integrative Neuroscience and Neuroengineering