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Brooks King-Casas

Brooks King-Casas

Faculty, Department of Psychology
Affiliated Faculty, Clinical Science
Faculty, Biological Psychology

My lab addresses two broad areas of inquiry: (i) neural underpinnings of valuation and learning in social settings, and (ii) how social and economic preferences influence valuation and learning. Specifically, I seek insight into the neural computations underlying normative social behavior using methods of decision neuroscience, behavioral economics, and social psychology. These approaches, when jointly brought to bear on complex social phenomena, provide tractable and clear answers about how humans make decisions about, among, and for one another. To date, my experiments have focused on four inter-related questions:

· how do two people trust each other?
· how do individuals balance their own interests with the interests of others?
· how do risk preferences change (i) across the lifespan and (ii) under social influence?
· how does social dominance influence the way we learn from others?

I also seek insights into neural computations underlying social decision-making abnormalities of psychopathology. Psychiatric illnesses, from substance abuse to borderline personality disorder, include primary features that can be studied as impaired decision-making in social contexts. In current and planned work, my lab leverages our normative work in these areas to investigate neural substrates that give rise to aberrant behavior.


  • 2016-present Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Neuroscience, Virginia Tech
  • 2015-2016 Assistant Professor, School of Neuroscience, Virginia Tech
  • 2014-2016 Assistant Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • 2011-2016 Assistant Professor, School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Virginia Tech
  • 2011-2016 Research Health Scientist, Research Service Line, Salem VA Medical Center
  • 2010-2016 Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and School of Medicine, Virginia Tech
  • 2010-2016 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Virginia Tech
  • 2008-2011 Research Health Scientist, Research Service Line, Michael E DeBakey VA Medical Center
  • 2007-2010 Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine
  • 2007-2010 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behav Sci, Baylor College of Medicine
  • 2005-2007 Postdoc, Dept of Neuroscience, Baylor College of Medicine
  • 1997-2005 Ph.D. Psychology, Harvard University
  • 1992-1996 B.A. Philosophy, Harvard University


  • decision neuroscience
  • experimental psychopathology
  • interpersonal decision-making
  • functional magnetic resonance imaging

Courses Taught

  • Advanced Topics in Decision Neuroscience, PSYC 6954
  • Fundamentals in Neuroscience, TBMH 5014


  • Chung D, Christopoulus GI, King-Casas B, Ball SB, Chiu PH. (2015). Social signals of safety and risk confer utility and have asymmetric effects on observers’ choices. Nature Neuroscience 18(6), 912-916.
  • Zhu L, Jenkins AC, Set E, Scabini D, Knight RT, Chiu PH, King-Casas B, Hsu M. (2014). Damage to dorsolateral prefrontal cortex affects tradeoffs between honesty and self-interest. Nature Neuroscience 17:1319-21.
  • Christopoulos GI and King-Casas B. (2014). With you or against you: Social orientation dependent learning signals guide actions made for others. NeuroImage 104:326-35.
  • Lauharatanahirun N, Christopoulos GI, King-Casas B. (2012). Neural computations underlying social risk sensitivity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6, 213.
  • King-Casas B, Chiu PH. (2012). Understanding interpersonal function in psychiatric illness through multiplayer economic games. Biological Psychiatry 72(2), 119-25.
  • Tso IF, Chiu PH, King-Casas BR, Deldin PJ. (2011). Alterations in affective processing of attack images following September 11, 2001. Journal of Traumatic Stress 24(5), 538-45.
  • Kishida K, King-Casas B, Montague PR. (2010). Neuroeconomic approaches to mental disorders. Neuron 67, 543-57.
  • Rilling JK, King-Casas B, Sanfey A. (2008). The neurobiology of social decision-making. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 18, 159-65.
  • King-Casas B, Sharp C, Lomax-Bream L, Lohrenz T, Fonagy P, Montague PR. (2008). The rupture and repair of cooperation in borderline personality disorder. Science 321, 806-810.
  • King-Casas, B, Tomlin, D, Anen, C, Camerer, CF, Quartz, SR, Montague, PR (2005). Getting to know you: Reputation and trust in a two-person economic exchange. Science 308:78-83.

    Brooks King-Casas

Office Hours

By appointment only