Exploring the contents of the
social brain


Learn about yourself. Help us learn about the mind. Participate in an ongoing study!

Choose Your Friends Wisely!

Make friends strategically in social networks (5 minute task)

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How do you judge people?

Discover the dimensions you use to understand others (5 minute task)

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Who do you write like?

Learn which famous writers share your style (4 minute task)

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How do you judge emotions?

Discover how you understand others' mental states (5 minute task)

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Big 5 Personality Traits

What are your five basic personality traits? (50 question survey)

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Predict emotion durations

Test your beliefs about the lengths of other people's feelings (5 minute task)

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Interpersonal Reactivity Index

How empathically do you react to others? (28 question survey)

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How do you judge actions?

What principles do you use to understand actions? (5 minute task)

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Approach and Inhibition

How motivated are you by reward and punishment? (24 question survey)

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Empathy Quotient

How much do you empathize with others? (40 question survey)

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Need for Cognition

How much do you need intellectual challenge? (10 question survey)

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Need to Belong

How much do you need to feel part of a group? (10 question survey)

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Life Satisfaction

How satisfied are you with the life you're living? (5 question survey)

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Interpersonal Regulation

Do you like to share your emotions with others? (16 question survey)

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Social Support Survey

Do you have people you can rely on for support? (19 question survey)

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More studies

Partcipated in all our studies? Want more? Try these sites:

Test My Brain

Project Implicit

The SAPA Project

YourMorals

research

Web-based data collection

Interactive designs and innovative research.

Data Protection

De-identified data and secure encryption.

Social Cognitive Neuroscience

The primary focus of our research is social cognitive neuroscience: understanding how the brain allows people to make sense of each other. To that end we use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine the neural basis of diverse social phenomena. To learn more about our research, see the list of recent publications below or check out our lab website.

The Mind on the Web

We use large scale web research to complement the fine-grained work we do with fMRI. MySocialBrain.org is a platform for wide variety of social cognitive experiments. It allows us to study much larger and more diverse groups of people than we would otherwise be able to. From the participants' point of view, it offers engaging, interactive experiments with personalized feedback to a broad audience.

Individual differences in social abilities

One of the major goals of this site has less to do with any one study than with the correlations of multiple studies. Research on "individual differences" - the psychological properties that make people different from one another, such as personality or intelligence - requires very large sample sizes for meaningful results. That's where our account system comes in. By registering, you allow us to correlate your (de-identified) data across studies, and thereby answer exciting new questions.

publications


The following are recent publications from our lab. To see more, please visit our lab website

Electronic versions are provided as a professional courtesy to ensure timely dissemination of academic work for individual, noncommercial purposes. Copyright and all rights therein resides with the respective copyright holders, as stated within each paper. These files may not be reposted without permission.

  • Thornton, M. A., & Mitchell, J. P. (in press). Theories of person perception predict patterns of neural activity during mentalizing. Cerebral Cortex. [Paper] [Data & code] [Blog]
  • Thornton, M. A., & Mitchell, J. P. (2017). Consistent neural activity patterns represent personally familiar people. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29(9), 1583-1594. [PDF] [Data & code] [Blog]
  • Thornton, M. A., & Tamir, D. I. (2017). Mental models accurately predict emotion transitions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(23), 5982-5987. [PDF] [Data & code] [Blog]
  • Tamir, D. I.*, Thornton, M. A.*, Contreras, J. M., & Mitchell, J. P. (2016). Neural evidence that three dimensions organize mental state representation: Rationality, social impact, and valence. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 113(1), 194-199.
    *equal contributions [PDF] [Data & code] [Blog] [Commentary by Dubois & Adolphs]

Our Team


Lead Researcher | Mark A. Thornton, Ph.D.
[website]

Mark studies the structure of social knowledge - how we organize and make sense of other people's mental states, traits, relationships, groups, and networks. He is particularly interested in how the brain implements accurate, efficient solutions to challenging problems in the social domain. Mark received his A.B. from Princeton University in 2011 and his M.A. from Harvard University in 2013. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Harvard University in 2017. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Princeton University.

Principal Investigator | Diana I. Tamir, Ph.D.
[website]

Diana studies how people think about their own minds and the minds of other people. She uses a combination of behavioral, machine learning, and neuroimaging methods. She received her Sc.B in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University, her Ph.D. in psychology from Harvard University, and postdoctoral training at Stanford University before starting as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Princeton University in 2015.