Professional Education

  • Bachelor of Science, Columbia University (2011)
  • Doctor of Philosophy, New York University (2016)

Stanford Advisors

All Publications

  • Computational neuroscience approaches to social cognition. Current opinion in psychology Hackel, L. M., Amodio, D. M. 2018; 24: 92–97


    How do we form impressions of people and groups and use these representations to guide our actions? From its inception, social neuroscience has sought to illuminate such complex forms of social cognition, and recently these efforts have been invigorated by the use of computational modeling. Computational modeling provides a framework for delineating specific processes underlying social cognition and relating them to neural activity and behavior. We provide a primer on the computational modeling approach and describe how it has been used to elucidate psychological and neural mechanisms of impression formation, social learning, moral decision making, and intergroup bias.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.09.001

    View details for PubMedID 30388495



    Despite preliminary evidence that individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) demonstrate deficits in learning from corrective feedback, no studies have examined the influence of emotional state on these learning deficits in BPD. This laboratory study examined the influence of negative emotions on learning among participants with BPD (n = 17), compared with clinical (past-year mood/anxiety disorder; n = 20) and healthy (n = 23) controls. Participants completed a reinforcement learning task before and after a negative emotion induction. The learning task involved presenting pairs of stimuli with probabilistic feedback in the training phase, and subsequently assessing accuracy for choosing previously rewarded stimuli or avoiding previously punished stimuli. ANOVAs and ANCOVAs revealed no significant between-group differences in overall learning accuracy. However, there was an effect of group in the ANCOVA for postemotion induction high-conflict punishment learning accuracy, with the BPD group showing greater decrements in learning accuracy than controls following the negative emotion induction.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000441420900001

    View details for PubMedID 28594633

  • Propagation of Economic Inequality Through Reciprocity and Reputation PSYCHOLOGICAL SCIENCE Hackel, L. M., Zaki, J. 2018; 29 (4): 604–13


    Reciprocity and reputation are powerful tools for encouraging cooperation on a broad scale. Here, we highlight a potential side effect of these social phenomena: exacerbating economic inequality. In two novel economic games, we manipulated the amount of money with which participants were endowed and then gave them the opportunity to share resources with others. We found that people reciprocated more toward higher-wealth givers, compared with lower-wealth givers, even when those givers were equally generous. Wealthier givers also achieved better reputations than less wealthy ones and therefore received more investments in a social marketplace. These discrepancies were well described by a formal model of reinforcement learning: Individuals who weighted monetary outcomes, rather than generosity, when learning about interlocutors also most strongly helped wealthier individuals. This work demonstrates that reciprocity and reputation-although globally increasing prosociality-can widen wealth gaps and provides a precise account of how inequality grows through social processes.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0956797617741720

    View details for Web of Science ID 000430241000010

    View details for PubMedID 29474134

  • Frontal cortical effects on feedback processing and reinforcement learning: Relation of EEG asymmetry with the feedback-related negativity and behavior PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY Schmid, P. C., Hackel, L. M., Jasperse, L., Amodio, D. M. 2018; 55 (1)

    View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12911

    View details for Web of Science ID 000425287500008

  • From groups to grits: Social identity shapes evaluations of food pleasantness JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Hackel, L. M., Coppin, G., Wohl, M. A., Van Bavel, J. J. 2018; 74: 270–80
  • Social Identity Shapes Social Valuation: Evidence from Prosocial Behavior and Vicarious Reward. Social cognitive and affective neuroscience Hackel, L. M., Zaki, J., Van Bavel, J. J. 2017


    People frequently engage in more prosocial behavior toward members of their own groups, as compared to other groups. Such group-based prosociality may reflect either strategic considerations concerning one's own future outcomes or intrinsic value placed on the outcomes of in-group members. In a functional magnetic resonance imaging experiment, we examined vicarious reward responses to witnessing the monetary gains of in-group and out-group members, as well as prosocial behavior towards both types of individuals. We found that individuals' investment in their group- a motivational component of social identification-tracked the intensity of their responses in ventral striatum to in-group (versus out-group) members' rewards, as well as their tendency towards group-based prosociality. Individuals with strong motivational investment in their group preferred rewards for an in-group member, whereas individuals with low investment preferred rewards for an out-group member. These findings suggest that the motivational importance of social identity-beyond mere similarity to group members-influences vicarious reward and prosocial behavior. More broadly, these findings support a theoretical framework in which salient social identities can influence neural representations of subjective value, and suggest that social preferences can best be understood by examining the identity contexts in which they unfold.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/scan/nsx045

    View details for PubMedID 28402506