Luke Chang

Assistant Professor

My research focuses on understanding the neurobiological and psychological processes underlying social interactions. I am interested in understanding how emotions and expectations are represented in the brain and impact how we make decisions and learn in social contexts. We use computational techniques such as utility theory, reinforcement-learning, and machine-learning to develop models of these complex processes and validate our models using behavioral, psychophysiological, and neuroimaging experiments. One application of this approach is to create a better understanding of the mechanisms by which psychosocial treatments influence our mental and physical health.


HB 6207


Social Brain Sciences


  • B.A., Reed College
  • M.A., New School for Social Research
  • Ph.D., University of Arizona
  • Postdoc, University of Colorado Boulder

Selected Publications

  • Sanfey, A.G., Stallen, M., & Chang, L.J. (2014). Norms and expectations in social decision-making. Trends In Cognitive Science, 18(4), 172-174.

    Chang, L.J. & Koban, L. (2013).  Modeling emotion and learning of norms in social interactions.  Journal of Neuroscience, 33(18), 7615-7617.

    Chang, L.J., Yarkoni, T., Khaw, M.W., & Sanfey, A.G. (2013).  Decoding the role of the human insula in human cognition: Functional parcellation and large-scale reverse inference.  Cerebral Cortex, 23(3), 739-749.

    Chang, L.J., & Sanfey, A.G. (2013).  Great expectations: Neural computations underlying the use of social norms in decision-making. Social Cognitive Affective Neuroscience, 8(3), 277-284.

    Fareri, D.S., Chang, L.J., Delgado, M.R. (2012).  Effects of experienced social information on trust decisions and neural reward circuitry.  Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, 6, 1- 17.

    Kahnt, T., Chang, L.J., Park, S.Q., Heinzle, J., Haynes, J.D.  (2012).  Connectivity based parcellation of the human orbitofrontal cortex.  Journal of Neuroscience, 32(8), 6240-6250.

    Harle, K.M., Chang, L.J., van’t Wout, M., & Sanfey, A.G.  (2012). The neural underpinnings of mood-driven biases in social economic decision-making.  Neuroimage, 61(1), 32-40.

    Chang, L.J., Smith, A., Dufwenberg, M., & Sanfey, A.G.  (2011).  Triangulating the neural, psychological, and economic bases of guilt aversion. Neuron, 70, 560-572.

    Van’t Wout, M, Chang, L.J., & Sanfey, AG.  (2010).  Emotion regulation and social interactive decision-making.  Emotion, 10(6), 815-821.

    Chang, L. J., Doll, B., Van’t Wout, M., Frank, M., Sanfey, A.G.  (2010).  Seeing is believing: Trustworthiness as a dynamic belief.  Cognitive Psychology, 61(2), 87-105.

Works In Progress

“How are emotional experiences represented in the brain?”

Are somatic and vicarious pain represented by the same brain circuitry?

How is social value calculated and what is its role in collaborative interactions?

How do expectations about treatment influence symptom change?