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Chiu Lab

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Led by principal investigator Pearl Chiu, Ph.D., the Chiu Laboratory examines the neuroscience of human motivation and social decision-making. Dr. Chiu’s work is also at the forefront of Computational Psychiatry, an emerging field that broadly applies quantitative model-based understandings of neural functioning to understand the neural and behavioral decision-making processes that break down in mental illness.

Ongoing projects use multiple methods, including behavioral tasks, self-report, clinical interviews, computational models, and functional neuroimaging to:

  • Study the neural substrates of how, when, and why humans make and change their decisions;
  • Detail how these neurobehavioral systems are affected in disorders marked by difficulties in motivated decision-making (e.g., major depression, addiction, PTSD, autism)
  • Develop biologically-informed interventions to remediate these functional deficits.

Participate in One of our Research Studies

Teenager Brain Imaging Study

A brain research study of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 14.5. 

Neuroscience of Social Behavior Study

A study to understand how people with and without a range of interpersonal difficulties process different kinds of information.

Meet the Lab



  • Kevin McKee, Ph.D., Postdoctral Statistician, Center for Biostatistics and Health Data Science, Virginia Tech
  • Katherine McCurry, Ph.D., Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Mark Orloff, Ph.D., Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC

Lab News