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Brooks King-Casas, Ph.D.

Brooks King-Casas, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Brooks King-Casas, Ph.D. headshot

“Our preferences about risks extend to the type of peers who are more likely to influence our choices. This goes beyond negative peer pressure and demonstrates why strong social support systems are effective for encouraging healthy choices.”

Learning how humans make decisions about, among, for one another

How do two people trust each other? 

Brooks King-Casas seeks insight into the neural computations underlying normative social behavior – how learning generated by interactions of neurons within neural networks bolsters social decision-making. His lab addresses two broad areas of inquiry: neural underpinnings of valuation and learning in social settings, and how social and economic preferences influence valuation and learning.

The King-Casas lab uses a blend of decision neuroscience, behavioral economics, and social psychology – approaches which 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.

The lab’s 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 across the lifespan and under social influence? How does social dominance influence the way we learn from others?

King-Casas also pursues understanding of 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.

  • Associate Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Science
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering
  • Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, School of Medicine

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.

Christopoulos GI and King-Casas B. (2015). With you or against you: Social orientation dependent learning signals guide actions made for others. NeuroImage 104: 326-35.

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(10): 1319-21.

Lee MR, Glassman M, King-Casas B, Kelly DL, Stein EA, Schroeder J, Salmeron BJ. (2014). Complexity of oxytocin's effects in a chronic cocaine dependent population. European Neuropsychopharmacology 24(9).

Williams W, Graham DP, McCurry K, Sanders A, Eiseman J, Chiu PH, King-Casas B. (2014). Group psychotherapy's impact on trust in veterans with PTSD: a pilot study. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic 78(4): 335-348.



  • Assistant Professor of Neuroscience and Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Baylor College of Medicine: Postdoctoral fellowship
  • Harvard University: Ph.D., Psychology

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