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Dean Mobbs
Assistant Professor
PhD., University College London, 2008

General Area of Research

Social and Affective Neuroscience, Neuroecology and Neurophilosophy.

Current Research

The Fear, Anxiety and Biosocial Lab is inspired by insights from behavioural ecology, social and clinical psychology and endeavors to understand the central determinants of the human emotional experience. We employ brain imaging (e.g. fMRI) and behavioural techniques to examine the neurobiological systems that coordinate fear in humans.  Our theoretical stance rests on the long-standing view that fear is an evolutionarily favorable response, whereby increasingly unambiguous threat leads to a cascade of defensive responses that can be dichotomized as slow thoughtful actions vs. fast instinctive reactions.  A second stream of research aims to determine the neural proxies that underlie social cognition. Previous research has surveyed the neural basis of vicarious reward, competition, altruism, and social emotions such as envy. We are currently pursuing questions of how social behavior orchestrates and shapes emotion and how such operations are variably disrupted in psychiatric disorders.

Please see the Lab website for more details.

Relevant Publications

Mobbs, D., Hassabis, D. Yu, R., Chu, C., Rushworth, M., Boorman, E., Dalgleish, T. (2013). Foraging under competition: The neural basis of input matching in humans. Journal of Neuroscience. 33; 9866-9872

Schweizer, S., Grahn, J., Hampshire, A., Mobbs, D., & Dalgleish, T. (2013). The neural substrates underlying cognitive gains in working memory and transfer effects onto the cognitive control of emotions. Journal of Neuroscience. 33; 5301-5311.

Feldman Hall, O., Dalgleish, T. Thompson, R., Evans, D., Schweizer, S., Mobbs, D. (2012). Differential Neural Circuitry and Self-Interest in Real versus Hypothetical Moral Decisions. Social, Cognitive and Affect Neuroscience. 7 (7), 743-751.

Mobbs, D., Yu, R., Rowe, J., FeldmanHall, O., Dalgleish, T. (2010).  Neural activity associated with monitoring the oscillating threat value of a Tarantula. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. USA.  107(47):20582-6.

Mobbs, D., Meyer, M., Yu, R., Passamonti, L., Seymour,  B.J., Calder A.J., Schweizer, S., Frith, C.D., Dalgleish,  T. (2009).  A key role for similarity in vicarious reward. Science. 324, 900.

Takahashi, H., Kato, M., Matsuura, M., Mobbs, D., Suhara, T., Okubo, Y. (2009). When Your Gain Is My Pain and Your Pain is My Gain: Neural Correlates of Envy and Schandenfreude. Science.  323, 937-939.

Mobbs, D., Petrovic, P., Marchant, J., Hassabis, D., Seymour, B., Weiskopf, N., Dolan, R.J., Frith, C.D (2007). When Fear is Near: Threat Imminence Elicits Prefrontal - Periaqueductal Grey Shifts in Humans. Science. 317; 1079-1083.

Mobbs, D., Lau, H.C., Jones, O.D., Frith, C.D. (2007). Law, Responsibility and the Brain. PLoS-Biology. 5; E103.

Courses Frequently Taught

  • PSYC W4485: Mind, Brain and Behavior. Fall 2012-
  • PSYC G1010: Seminar in Affective Neuroscience. 2013-
Dean Mobbs Photo

Columbia University
Psychology Dept.
1190 Amsterdam Ave. 370 Schermerhorn Ext.
New York, NY 10027

Phone: 212-854-5318
Fax: 212-854-3609

Last modified: Jan 30, 2012 4:49:52 PM EST