Ralph Adolphs: The Social Brain and Autism


Ralph Adolphs (PhD ’93)

Bren Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience and Professor of Biology; Director of the Caltech Brain Imaging Center

My laboratory uses cognitive neuroscience approaches to understand human social behavior.  This includes techniques such as brain imaging, eyetracking, and electrophysiology, and makes comparisons between several different patient populations.  One focus has been to compare high-functioning people with autism to neurological patients who have focal lesions or disconnections of brain structures.  Another focus has been, in collaboration with local neurosurgeons, to record activity from single cells in the brains of patients who have implanted depth electrodes.  Together, these varied approaches are revealing to us how the brain processes information from faces, how we use such information to understand other people, and how this process can dysfunction in autism.