Social Sciences Research Centers and Collaborations
Interdisciplinary research centers and collaborations bring together HSS faculty and students with diverse expertise for in-depth social science studies and investigations.
The CBIC, which is affiliated with the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech, houses state-of-the-art magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanners, high-density electroencephalography (EEG), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) equipment for investigating the structure and function of the living brain. It enables interdisciplinary research, involving Caltech faculty, staff, researchers, and students across different divisions (particularly between HSS and BBE), as well as other collaborators. The facilities are also used to support the training of students and postdoctoral researchers in neuroimaging techniques. The CBIC's particular focus is enabling research in the domains of decision, social, and cognitive neuroscience. CBIC was orginially founded in 2003 through a gift from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
The Caltech Conte Center for Neuroscience was established in 2012 under a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. It brings together social scientists and biologists to explore the most intriguing questions regarding social decision making. The questions include: How are basic social rewards processed in the brain? When are these rewards learned and processed through observation rather than receiving a direct reward? How do people process and understand how other individuals feel about rewards? And how are the brain regions involved in these experiments connected on a network level?
The VTP is a joint Caltech–MIT research effort to evaluate the reliability and uniformity of U.S. voting systems, and to propose specific guidelines and uniform requirements to improve elections.
CSIS (formerly known as the Social and Information Sciences Laboratory (SISL)) studies how markets and other social systems function at the intersection of economics and the information and communication systems around us. CSIS brings together researchers from economics, computer science, engineering, and mathematics in a truly interdisciplinary environment. This research furthers the basic sciences of complex markets and social/communication networks while deepening our understanding of the emerging interaction between the two.
T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience
The T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience is one of five interdisciplinary research centers within the Tianqiao and Chrissy Chen Institute for Neuroscience at Caltech focused on exploring and understanding the intricacies and complexities of the brain's structure and function at all scales. Under the direction of Colin Camerer, Caltech's Robert Kirby Professor of Behavioral Economics, the T&C Chen Center for Social and Decision Neuroscience investigates two important higher-order functions of the human brain: making decisions, and processing and guiding social interactions. Using the center's resources for computational modeling and brain imaging, researchers from different areas of science collaborate to learn more about these two core functions. Their findings will help improve how we make personal decisions, allow researchers to design devices and interventions to benefit society, and inform new treatments for neurologically based disorders such as anxiety and autism.
The Ronald and Maxine Linde Institute of Economic and Management Sciences promotes and coordinates research and teaching in managerial economics and related fields at Caltech. The institute's affiliated researchers teach undergrads the principles behind business and managerial behavior, organizations, and institutions, while faculty and students carry out research in the areas with the most potential for original breakthroughs in finance, entrepreneurship, and the intersection of economics and computer science.
The SSEL research center is dedicated to the study of experimental economics, finance, decision making, and political science, including experiments on game theory, market and auction design, voting, network formation, and other social phenomena.