CBBM Lecture "Social decisions: Distinct causal brain mechanisms" by

Prof. Christian Ruff, PhD

Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (SNS)

Department of Economics

University of Zurich


will take place on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 from 15:00 to 16:00 hours in CBBM, Ground Floor, B1/B2.

Host: Prof. Dr. Nico Bunzeck
Institute of Psychology I
University of Lübeck


Many of the important decisions in our lives concern not only ourself but also the people around us. Such social influences on choice have been proposed to rely on specialised networks of brain regions in prefrontal and temporo-parietal cortex. However, most of the evidence for these theories comes from purely correlational neuroimaging studies, leaving it unclear whether the activated brain areas are indeed specifically and causally necessary for the social aspects of decision-making. In my talk, I will present recent studies in which we combined brain stimulation techniques (TMS and tDCS) with fMRI, to demonstrate that neural processes in lateral prefrontal and temporo-parietal areas are biological prerequisites for fair, honest, altruistic, and strategic social behaviour.


Christian Ruff is Full Professor of Neuroeconomics and Decision Neuroscience at the Department of Economics of the University of Zurich, where he directs the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research (SNS-Lab). Before taking up this post, he studied Psychology and Neuroscience in Freiburg/Germany and Vancouver/Canada and obtained a PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at University College London. In his research, Prof. Ruff studies human motivation, decision-making, and learning with the aim to develop models that can be used to explain and predict choices and social behavior across many diverse contexts.