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John T. Cacioppo is the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago.[1] He founded and is Director of the University of Chicago Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and the Director of the Arete Initiative of the Office of the Vice President for Research and National Laboratories at the University of Chicago.[1] He is a member of the Department of Psychology, Department of Psychiatry, and the College and one of the founders of the field of social neuroscience.


Cacioppo obtained a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) from The Ohio State University in 1977. He has served as the President of the Association for Psychological Science, the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Society for Consumer Psychology, and the Society for Psychophysiological Research and is currently the Chair-Elect of the Psychology Section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He has been elected as a Fellow in various societies including the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, The Royal Society of Arts, and a Distinguished Member of Psi Chi. He is a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and member of the American Psychological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, World Innovation Foundation, International Organization of Psychophysiology, Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine.[1]

He has received the Troland Research Award from the National Academy of Sciences, the Distinguished Scientific Award for an early career Contribution to Psychophysiology, an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Bard College, the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, the Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychophysiology from the Society for Psychophysiological Research, the Donald Campbell Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Patricia Barchas Award from the American Psychosomatic Society, the Award for Distinguished Service on Behalf of Personality and Social Psychology from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, the Theoretical Innovation Prize from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, the Presidential Citation from the American Psychological Association, the Order of the Sons of Italy Award, the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Ohio State University Department of Psychology, and the Scientific Impact Award from the Society for Experimental Social Psychology. He has been the keynote speaker at various meetings including the Festival della Scienza in Genoa, Italy and the Annual Meeting of the Association for Psychological Science.[1] He also serves on various Boards.

In the late 1970s, Cacioppo collaborated with Richard Petty to develop the elaboration likelihood model of attitudes and persuasion and began investigations of individual differences in cognitive motivation. They also examined the social and biological influences on mind and behavior. A decade later, Cacioppo began working with Gary Berntson to pioneer a new field they called Social neuroscience.[2] This led to an expansion of Cacioppo’s research examining how personal relationships get under the skin to affect Social cognition and emotions, personality processes, biology, and health. By employing brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function, he found the overpowering influence of social context — a factor so strong that it can alter genetic expression in white blood cells. The work further showed how the subjective sense of social isolation (loneliness) uniquely disrupts our perceptions, behavior, and physiology, becoming a trap that not only reinforces isolation, but can lead to early death. In 2004, he and William Patrick began a collaboration that led to their book, Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, which makes the case that social cooperation is, in fact, humanity’s defining characteristic. Cacioppo, together with Louise Hawkley, Jean Decety, Howard Nusbaum, and Gary Berntson, continue to investigate the biological mechanisms involved in social perception, interpersonal processes, cognition, emotion, and behavior. [3] [4][5]

Social neuroscience

In the early 1990s, Cacioppo began working with Gary Berntson of The Ohio State University to pioneer a new field they called “Social neuroscience.” [6][7]

Social neuroscience is an interdisciplinary attempt to trace how social forces “get under the skin” to affect physiology, as well as how physiology influences social interactions. His collaborative research on loneliness raised questions about one of the pillars of modern medicine and psychology [citation needed]—the focus on the individual as the broadest appropriate unit of inquiry. The new discipline that examines the associations between social and neural levels of organizations and the biological mechanisms underlying these associations. Neuroscientists have tended to focus on single organisms, organs, cells, or intracellular processes. Social species create emergent organizations beyond the individual, however, and these emergent structures evolved hand in hand with neural and hormonal mechanisms to support them because the consequent social behaviors helped animals survive, reproduce, and care for offspring sufficiently long that they too reproduced. Social neuroscience, therefore, is concerned with how biological systems implement social processes and behavior, capitalizing on concepts and methods from the neuroscience to inform and refine theories of social psychological processes, and using social and behavioral concepts and data to inform and refine theories of neural organization and function [8]

By employing brain scans, monitoring of autonomic and neuroendocrine processes, and assays of immune function, Cacioppo and colleagues found that social context Template:Quantify alters genetic expression, for instance in white blood cells [citation needed]. This research also showed that “loneliness” – the subjective social isolation – disrupts perception and alters behavior and physiology, becoming a trap that reinforces isolation. [citation needed]. These biological pathways were argued to be unique [citation needed] and to lead to early death. [citation needed]

John Cacioppo and Jean Decety played an instrumental role in the creation of the Society for Social Neuroscience in 2010.



  • Attitudes and Persuasion: Classic and Contemporary Approaches, (1981): Westview Press.
  • Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change, (1986): Springer.
  • Emotional Contagion - Studies in Emotion and Social Interaction, (1993): Cambridge University Press.
  • Social Neuroscience: Key Readings in Social Psychology, (2004): Psychology Press.
  • Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection, (2008): W.W. Norton & Co.


  • Perspectives in Cardiovascular Psychophysiology, (1982): The Guilford Press.
  • Social Psychophysiology: A Sourcebook, (1983): The Guilford Press.
  • Principles of Psychophysiology: Physical, Social and Inferential Elements, (1990): Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-34885-0
  • Foundations in Social Neuroscience, (2002): The MIT Press.
  • Essays in social neuroscience, (2004): The MIT Press.
  • Social Neuroscience: People Thinking About Thinking People, (2005): The MIT Press
  • Handbook of Psychophysiology (2007): Cambridge University Press.
  • Handbook of Neuroscience for the Behavioral Science, (2009): John Wiley and Sons.

Editorial duties


In 2002 he received the APA Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Psychology

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Department of Psychology, People: John T. Cacioppo. University of Chicago. URL accessed on 2008-03-18.
  2. Cacioppo, John; Bernston, Gary (2005-01-27). Social Neuroscience: Key Readings (Key Readings in Social Psychology), Psychology Press Ltd.
  3. Shah, James; Gardner, Wendi (2007-10-25). Handbook of motivation science, 188–200, The Guilford Press.
  4. Cacioppo, John, Norris, C; Decety J; Monteleone G; Nusbaum H. In the eye of the beholder: Individual differences in perceived social isolation predict regional brain activation to social stimuli. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience.
  5. Cacioppo, John, Cole, Steve; Hawkley, Louise; Arevalo, Jesusa; Sung, Caroline; Rose, Robert (September, 2007). Social regulation of gene expression in human leukocytes. Genome Biology 8 (9): R189.
  6. (1992). Social psychological contributions to the decade of the brain: doctrine of multilevel analysis. American Psychologist 47 (8): 1019–1028.
  7. (2002). Social neuroscience: understanding the pieces fosters understanding the whole and vice versa. American Psychologist 57 (11): 819–831.
  8. Cacioppo, John, Amaral, David; Blanchard, Jack; Cameron, Judy; Carter, Sue; Crews, David; Fiske, Susan; Heatherton, Todd; Johnson, Marcia; Kozak, Michael; Levenson, Robert; Lord, Catherine; Miller, Earl; Ochsner, Kevin; Raichle, Marcus; Shea, M. Tracie; Taylor, Shelley; Young, Larry; Quinn, Kevin (June, 2007). Social Neuroscience: Progress and Implications for Mental Health. Perspectives on Psychological Science 2 (2): 99–123. [dead link] .

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