Research Projects

My research addresses the neural, physiological and cognitive mechanisms underpinning decisions about gathering and sharing resources, approaching the problem from multiple, complementary levels. I particularly focus on social factors and mechanisms that employ one’s own emotional state as a guide for making decisions:

  • What are the mechanisms of food storing in animals? Does stress from hunger and social competition drive decisions to store food?
  • How do humans decide to acquire and discard material goods? Do states such as anxiety, sadness, and attachment underlie cost-benefit analyses in such decisions?
  • How do humans perceive and respond to emotion in others? How do automatic mechanisms of emotional resonance underlie empathy and altruism?


Ecological Neuroscience Lab
Stephanie D. Preston

University of Michigan
Department of Psychology
3040 East Hall, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Tel: (734) 764-5264
Fax: (734) 764-3520
Email: prestos at