Exploring the contents of the
social brain
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Participate


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

How do you judge actions?

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

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How do you judge people?

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

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How do you judge emotions?

What principles do you use to understand others' mental states? (5 minute task)

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Predict emotion durations

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

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Who do you write like?

Submit a text sample to learn which famous writers share your style (4 minute task)

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Big 5 Personality Traits

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

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Interpersonal Reactivity Index

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

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Behavioral 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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Studies under development

Choose Your Friends Wisely!

Make friends in a network (5 minute task)

Study coming soon.

Network Matchmaker

Who would you introduce? (5 minute task)

Study coming soon.

Past studies

Are they (Facebook) friends?

Studying memory for social networks

This study is no longer available.

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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., & 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]
  • 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, 113(1), 194-199. *equal contributions [PDF]
  • Tamir, D. I., Bricker, A. B., Dodell-Feder, D., & Mitchell, J. P. (2016). Reading fiction and reading minds: The role of simulation in the default network. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 11(2), 215-224. [PDF]

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.

Former Principal Investigator | Jason P. Mitchell, Ph.D.
[website]

Jason employs functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and behavioral methods to study how we infer the thoughts, feelings, and opinions of others (i.e., how we mentalize) as well as how we reason about counterfactual experiences. He received his B.A. and M.S. degrees from Yale University in 1997 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2003. He is currently Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.