Current Lab Members:

Office: Broad Rm # 61
Phone: (626) 395-4486
Email: radolphs(at)

Dr. Adolphs received his Bachelor's degree from Stanford University, and his Ph.D. in neurobiology from Caltech. He did post-doctoral work with Antonio Damasio at the University of Iowa, beginning his studies in human neuropsychology, with a focus on the recognition of emotional facial expressions. Since 2004 he holds an appointment as Professor at Caltech, as well as an adjunct appointment in the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa.
At Caltech:
Caltech MC 228-77
Pasadena, CA 91125
(626) 395-4077
At Fuller Graduate School:
Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
180 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 584-5533

Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum Project
2A Broad 114-96
California Institute of Technology
1200 E California Blvd
Pasadena CA 91125
Tel: 626-395-5796
Fax: 626-395-2000
Email: jmt(at)
Dr. Tyszka's research interests center on the structure-function relation in human brain and the extent to which non-invasive imaging methods such as MRI can shed light on this interaction. His current research ranges from instrumentation development for MR microscopy to connectivity modeling in callosal agenesis with emphasis on the physics, engineering and quantitative analysis of magnetic resonance images. His collaborators include Ralph Adolphs, Lynn Paul, Dan Kennedy, Lin Zhao, Scott Fraser, Russ Jacobs, Elliott Sherr (UCSD) and Larry Frank (UCSD).
Caltech: 57 Broad Center Corner of Del Mar & Wilson Pasadena, CA 91101 (626) 395-4899
Scripps College: 120 Steele Hall Scripps College 1030 Columbia Ave. Claremont, CA 91711 (909) 607-0914
Prof. Spezio is a social neuroscientist who seeks to understand the systems in the mind and brain underlying evaluative cognition, specifically in the social domain. His previous work showed 1) that high-functioning adults with autism exhibit a deficit in top-down attentional processing that results in the abnormal use of facial information during emotional judgments (even when controlling for gaze); 2) that the amygdala is vital for typical gaze to the eyes in real conversations; 3) that the insula is involved in preferentially processing negative cues from a politician's visual appearance, affecting voters' decisions in real elections; and 4) that decision-makers' propensity to overly report the truth in sender-receiver games is due primarily to effects of cognitive load during deception, and not to concern for others' outcomes. Prof. Spezio continues to investigate cognitive and neural processes of social decision-making, focusing on autism, political judgment, and empathy and compassion in morally relevant action, and the role of contemplative practices in reshaping these processes.
Office: Broad Rm # 55
Email: oana(at)
Phone: (626) 395-6212
Oana has obtained an M.D. in Iasi, Romania, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Cristina Rusu and a Ph.D. in Tubingen, Germany, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Andreas Nieder. Currently, she is a postdoc at the Adolphs lab, studying the role of the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex in emotion processing, using intracranial recordings in humans.
Office: Broad Rm # 32
Email: izuma(at)
Phone: (626) 395-8982
Keise is a postdoc at the Adolphs Lab investigating the neural mechanism of how our preferences are modulated by social or cognitive factors. He is also interested in social reward processing and decision-making.
Email: jelison(at)
Jed is a postdoctoral fellow in the Adolphs lab studying social neuroscience and amygdala function. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill under the supervision of Steve Reznick and Joe Piven. Jed's research interests include the developmental processes and neural mechanisms that support specialized information processing, as well as the putative mechanisms that underlie atypical development.
Office: Broad Rm # 32
Home Page
My research integrates behavioral and fMRI techniques from Cognitive Neuroscience, Neuroeconomics, Reinforcement Learning, and Social and Clinical Psychology with the goal of constructing a computational account of the neural mechanisms involved in learning about other people and using what we have learned to make social decisions.
Office: Broad Rm # 59
Email: spunt(at)
Home Page
Bob is a postdoctoral scholar in the Adolphs Lab who uses both behavioral and neuroimaging techniques to investigate social inference. Specifically, his work is concerned with understanding how the behaviors we observe (e.g., actions and emotions) are used to infer something unobservable about a person, such as their mental states or personality traits. Currently, he is focused on characterizing individual differences in this process.
Office: Broad Rm # 57
Email: jfein(at)
Dr. Feinstein's research investigates how the human brain produces emotion and feeling. He is particularly interested in understanding the neural basis of fear and panic by studying rare patients with focal bilateral amygdala lesions.
Caltech, CNS 136-93
Pasadena, CA 91125

Office: Broad Rm # 57
Email: dirk(at)
Phone: (626)395-3125
Home Page
Dirk was a graduate student in the Adolphs Lab and is currently a visiting associate in Biology, working in the Adolphs lab. He is interested in functional neuroanatomy of visual and emotional information processing.
Office: Broad Rm # 55
Email: rnair(at)
Phone: (626) 395-6506
Remya has a Masters in Biomedical Imaging Engineering and is a Staff Scientist at the Adolphs Lab. She is currently studying the functional organization of AgCC brains and Implicit Associations in Autism and is also responsible for general systems administration.
Office: Broad Rm # 55
Email: cholcomb(at)
Phone: (626) 395-6505
Catherine is a lab administrator and research assistant in the Adolphs Lab. She helps to manage the autism project, and aids experimenters in running fMRI and behavioral projects. She also helps to manage the administrative needs of the lab.
Office: Broad Rm # 59
Email: tsarmstr(at)
Phone: (626) 395-4868
Tim graduated from UCSD in 2008 with a degree in psychology and is a research technician for the Adolphs Lab. His current project, working with Lynn Paul, provides all resources for human subject recruitment, assessment, fMRI, and databasing for the Conte Center: Core 3 research. He is interested in the general field of behavioral neuroscience and decision making in the prefrontal cortex.
Office: Broad Rm # 63, MC: 114-96
Email: shuo(at)
Phone: (626) 395-4025
Home Page
Wang is a graduate student at Caltech's Computation and Neural Systems Ph.D. program. He received his Bachelor's degree from National University of Singapore. Wang is interested in studying social saliency -- how the brain finds out what is important in social interaction and how the brain represents and integrates social cues. He is also interested in decision making, consciousness and visual attention. His experiments involve psychophysics and human intracranial recording.
Office: Broad Rm # 62
Email: agharib(at)
Phone: (626) 395-8959
Alma is a graduate student in Biology at Caltech. She received her Bachelors degree in Biology from UCSD and her Masters degree in Art History from Columbia. She is interested in automatic responses in aesthetic judgment, emotion and empathy.
Caltech MC 136-93
Email: lauraharrison(at)
Laura is a graduate student in Computation and Neural Systems at Caltech. She received her Bachelor's degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Scripps College. Laura is interested in how we use facial and extra-facial cues to make social judgments.
Email: jcrdubois(at)gmail
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Office: Broad Rm # 59
Email: gayazi(at)
Ghoncheh is a volunteer in the Adolphs' Lab and is currently researching the computational basis of theory of mind. She earned a B.S. in Cognitive Science from UC San Diego, and wishes to pursue a PhD in Social Psychology. She is particularly interested in the neural and physiological mechanisms associated with emotion experience and regulation in healthy and psychopathological populations.

Former Lab Members:

Email: dpk(at)
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Dan graduated from the UCSD Neuroscience program, having done his thesis on fMRI in autism under Eric Courchesne. He worked as a post-doc in the Adolphs Lab doing research on personal space and functional connectivity in autism. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor at the Social Brain and Cognition Lab at Indiana University.
Address: Lab for adaptive intelligence, Brain Science Institute, RIKEN, Hirosawa 2-1 Wako-shi Saitama-Ken 351-0198 Japan
Affiliation: PRESTO researcher in JST, Japan
Visiting researcher in RIKEN, Japan
Visiting researcher in Caltech
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Nao worked as a postdoc at the Adolphs Lab doing research on the differences between conscious and non-conscious processing of emotional information. Currently, he is an Associate Professor at the School of Psychology and Psychiatry, Monash University, Australia. Ongoing studies involve fMRI and behavioral studies that use continuous flash suppression, a technique he invented for controlled conscious suppression of visual stimuli under conditions similar to binocular rivalry.
Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive Burnaby BC, Canada V5A 1S6
Email: ebirming(at)
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Elina worked as a postdoc at Caltech investigating the role of the amygdala in orienting attention to social stimuli within complex scenes. Elina is now an Assistant Professor at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada.
Email: glascher(at)
Dr. Glaescher did his graduate work with Christian Buechel on emotional processing of facial expressions and temporal integration of predictive stimuli using fMRI. At Caltech, he is working jointly with Dr. Adolphs and Dr. O'Doherty on projects involving large-scale brain mapping and the application of learning theories to reward-based spatial learning in the context of virtual 3D mazes.
Email: alicel(at)
Alice was a graduate student in Caltech's Computations and Neural Systems program. She received her undergraduate degrees in Biology and Business Economic Management from Caltech in 2005. She is interested in social reward processing and other neuroeconomic topics.
Email: shuichi(at)
Shuichi is a visiting scholar in the Adolphs lab investigating the psychological influence of 2D/3D images on emotion. He has worked for Sony Corporation in Tokyo as a research engineer. He has years of experience in 3-D technologies and human vision. His research interests include display technologies, image processing, the human visual system, and cognition and perception.
Email: harel(at)
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Jonathan was a graduate student working with Professor Adolphs and Professor Christof Koch to investigate face processing and individual differences in the human brain using fMRI.
Email: ronnie(at)
Ronnie was a CNS graduate student working with Professor Adolphs and Professor Perona to investigate the visual processes underlying rapid inferences about trust.

Email: c7cheng(at)
Brian Cheng was a research assistant in the Adolphs lab. He graduated from UCSD in 2009 with a BS in Biochemistry/cell biology. Currently, he is a graduate student at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Jessica is a graduate student in Caltech's Biology Ph.D. program. She received her undergraduate degree in Biochemical Neuroscience from Kenyon College in 2000. She is interested in the neural systems that underlie moral judgment, moral intuation and moral choices. Her thesis is on autobiographical memories for moral events. She is currently developing a database of moral stimuli from these memories.
Dr. Castelli worked with Professor Uta Frith in England investigating social cognition in people with autism. In Dr. Adolphs' lab, she is leading the recruitment and studies of people with autism and Asperger syndrome, with a special interest on investigating the connectivity of their brains.
Jessica was a research assistant with the Adolphs Lab. She graduated in 2007 from Duke University with a bachelor's degree in psychology and neuroscience.
Jessica was Caltech undergraduate who worked as a SURF student in Dr. Adolphs' lab with Jessica Edwards on studies of gender stereotyping. She is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado.
Matt graduated from Occidental College in 2006 with a B.A. in Cognitive Science (neuroscience specialization). He worked in the Adolphs lab for more than two years, designing, programming, and analyzing eye tracking and fMRI experiments for the Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum project. His undergraduate honors thesis was on visual search and attention in AgCC. Matt is currently a Ph.D student in the Cognitive Science department at UCSD, where he is working with Jeff Elman and Eric Halgren on several MEG studies of language development. His second year project uses MEG to investigate the neural basis of lexical representations in Spanish-English bilinguals.
Address: MSC 260
Pasadena, CA 9112
Room: Broad 63 (summer)
huangsamuel at
I am a undergraduate junior participating in the SURF program. The project that I'm currently working on is "Face-to-face Eye-tracking in Naturalistic Dyadic Social Interactions." I am working under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Spezio and supervision of Dr. Ralph Adolphs.
Matt is a mathematics major at Caltech working with Dirk Neumann on MRI studies of the brain that look at its connectivity.
Jason was a graduate student in Caltech's Computations and Neural Systems program.He also helped implementing and refining automated cortical surface reconstruction tools that will permit more accurate discrimination of pathologies in the AgCC populations
I am an undergraduate in biology and English, and will continue on to medical school after finishing at Caltech. My research projects with Naotsu Tsuchiya, supervised by Ralph Adolphs, involve measuring people's behavioral and neural responses to presentation of invisible stimuli, made invisible by continuous flash suppression, in addition to looking at how personality influences performance on emotion-based psychophysics tasks.
My research interest is in social cognitive neuroscience and neuroeconomics. I use computational modeling and functional magnetic resonance imaging techniques, to investigate brain mechanisms of emotional decision-making in human including facial expression recognition, face preference decision, and reward/punishment-based learning. At caltech, I am workng as a postdoctoral scholar with Ralph Adolphs, John O'Doherty, and Shinsuke Shimojo.
  • Kim H, Shimojo S, and O'Doherty JP. Is avoiding an aversive outcome rewarding? Neural substrates of avoidance learning in the human brain. Oral presentation at 2006 RIKEN Brain Science Institute Workshop on Topics in Reward and Addiction, Wako City, Japan.
  • Buchanan TW, Kim H, Rudrauf D, Whalen PJ, and Adolphs R. Sex differences in contextual modulation of emotion and memory. Poster presentation at 2006 Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) meeting in San Francisco, California.
  • Kim H, Shimojo S, Adolphs R, and O'Doherty JP. Does avoiding a punishment act as a reward? An fMRI study of avoidance learning. Poster presentation at the 2005 SFN conference in Washington, DC.
  • Kim H, Somerville LH, Johnstone T, Davis FC, and Whalen PJ. Amygdala and nucleus accumbens responses to neutral faces demonstrate inverse correlations with state anxiety. Poster presentation at the 2004 SFN conference in San Diego, CA.
  • Kim H, and Whalen PJ. (2004). A Computational Model of Amygdala-Basal Forebrain Interaction in the Detection and Resolution of Predictive Uncertainty. Oral presentation at the 8th International Conference on Cognitive and Neural Systems in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Kim H, and Whalen PJ. (2003). A Computational Model of Amygdala-Basal Forebrain Interaction in the Detection and Resolution of Predictive Uncertainty. Slide presentation at the 2003 SFN conference in New Orleans.
  • Kim H, Somerville LH, Johnstone T, Polis S, Alexander AL, Shin LM, and Whalen PJ. (2004). Contextual modulation of amygdala responsivity to surprised faces. Poster presentation at 2004 Annual Cognitive Neuroscience Society (CNS) meeting in San Francisco, California.
  • Whalen PJ, and Kim H. (2003). An fMRI task for the simulataneous assessment of amygdala and medial prefrontal cortex reactivity in humans. ACNP 42nd Annual Meeting in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • Somerville LH, Kim H, McLaren DG, Johnstone T, and Whalen PJ. (2003). State Anxiety Correlates with Human Amygdala Response During Presentation of Happy and Neutral Faces. Poster presentation at 9th Annual Meeting of the Organization for Human Brain Mapping. June 18-22, 2003: New York, New York.
  • Kim H, Somerville LH, McLean AA, Johnstone T, Shin LM, and Whalen PJ. (2002). Functional MRI Responses of the Human Dorsal and Ventral Amygdaloid Regions to Facial Expressions of Emotion. Program No. 780.6. 2002 Abstract Viewer/Itinerary Planner. Washington, DC: Society for Neuroscience, 2002. Online.
  • Kim H, Somerville LH, McLean AA, Johnstone T, and Whalen PJ. (2002). An fMRI study of amygdala response to the facial expression of surprise. Poster presentation at the NYAS conference, "The Amygdala in Brain Function: Basic and Clinical Approaches." March 24-26, 2002: Galveston, Texas.
  • Kim H. (1997). Cardiovascular Conditioning Model and the Whole-Body Information Process Hypothesis. Poster Presentation at the First Conference of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness (ASSC) on "What does Implicit Cognition tell us about Consciousness?" June 14-16, 1997: Claremont, California.
Yaear is a physics major at Caltech working with Michael Spezio on the analysis of eyetracking data.
David is a Caltech alum (class of 2006) who worked as a research assistant in the lab from 2007 until 2008. He worked primarily on analysis of eyetracking data and segmentation of the brains of subjects with agenesis of the corpus callosum. He is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania under the mentorship of Robert Schultz and Geoffrey Aguirre.