Department of Anthropology
Dr. Rilling's research combines game theory paradigms with fMRI to investigate the neural bases of human social decision-making in the context of actual social interactions. His lab has discovered that brain reward systems help to sustain social cooperation (in the Prisoner's Dilemma Game) and has also identified a neural network involved in reacting and responding to unfair treatment (in the Ultimatum Game). Currently, Dr. Rilling is extending this research to explore the biological basis of individual variation in cooperative behavior. He is also investigating the potential role of oxytocin and vasopressin, neuropeptides implicated in attachment and affiliation in experimental animals, in human cooperation, as well as the neural mechanisms of these effects.
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