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The Fear Lab is inspired by insights from the fields of behavioral ecology, social, evolutionary and clinical psychology.  Our lab’s main endeavor is to understand the neural and behavioral dynamics of human social and emotional experiences and consequently build new theoretical models that merge multiple fields. We employ brain imaging (e.g. fMRI) and novel behavioral techniques to examine the neurobiological systems that coordinate fear and anxiety in humans.   My lab also investigates the proximate and ultimate value of social behavior.  We are currently pursuing questions of how social behavior orchestrates and shapes emotion and how such operations are variably disrupted in psychiatric disorders.


Selected Publications


​​*Zbozinek, T., *Wise, Y., *Qi, S., Perez, O., Fanselow, M., and Mobbs, D. (2022). Ambiguity Drives Higher-Order Pavlovian Learning. PLoS-Computational Biology.

*Silston, B., *Wise, T., *Qi, S., *Sui, X., Dayan, P., and Mobbs, D. (2021).  Neural encoding of socially adjusted value during competitive and hazardous foraging. Nature Communications. 12 (1) 1-11.

Mobbs, D., *Wise, T., Suthana, N., *Guzman, N., Kriegeskorte, N., Leibo, J., (2021).  The Promises and Challenges of Human Computational Ethology. Neuron.

Tashjian, S.M., Zbozinek, T., Mobbs, D. (2021). A Decision Architecture for Safety Computations. Trends in Cognitive Science.

Mobbs, D., Headley, D., *Ding, W., Dayan, P.  (2020).  Space, Time, and Fear: Survival Computations Along Defensive Circuits. Trends in Cognitive Science.

Fung, B., *Qi, S., Hassabis, D., Daw, N., Mobbs, D.  (2019). Slow escape decisions are swayed by trait anxiety. Nature: Human Behavior.

Mobbs, D, Trimmer, P., Blumstein, D.T., Dayan, P. (2018).  Foraging for foundations in decision neuroscience: Insights from ethology. Nature Reviews, Neuroscience.

Qi, S., Hassabis, D., Sun, J., Guo, F., Daw, N., and Mobbs, D.  (2018). How Cognitive and Reactive Fear Circuits Optimize Escape Decisions in Humans. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA.

Mobbs, D. (2018). The ethological deconstruction of fear(s). Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

Qi, S., Footer, O., Camerer, C., and Mobbs, D.  (2018).  A collaborator’s reputation can bias decisions and anxiety under uncertainty. Journal of Neuroscience.

Camerer, C., and Mobbs, D. (2017). Differences in brain activity and behavior during hypothetical and real choices. Trends in Cognitive Sciences.

Perkins, A., Arnone, D., Smallwood, J., and Mobbs, D. (2015). Thinking too much: Self-generated thought as the engine of neuroticism. Trends in Cognitive Science.

Mobbs, D and Kim J. (2015). Neuroethological studies of fear and risky decision-making in rat and humans. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences.

*Mobbs, D.,*Hassabis, D. Yu, R., Chu, C., Rushworth, M., Boorman, E., Dalgleish, T. (2013).  Foraging under competition: The neural basis of input matching in humans. Journal of Neuroscience.  *Equal Authors

FeldmanHall, O., Dalgleish, T. Thompson, R., Evans, D., Schweizer, S., Mobbs, D. (2012). Differential Neural Circuitry and Self-Interest in Real versus Hypothetical Moral Decisions. SCAN. 7 (7): 743-751.

Mobbs, D., Yu, R. Rowe, J.B., Eich, H., FeldmanHall, O., Dalgleish, T. (2010) Neural activity associated with monitoring the oscillating threat value of a Tarantula. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA.

Mobbs, D., Yu, R., Meyer, M., Passamonti, L., Seymour, B., Calder, A.J., Schweizer, S.,Frith, C.D., Dalgleish, T. (2009).  A key role for similarity in vicarious reward.  324, 900, Science .

Takahashi, H., Kato, M., Matsuura, M.,  Mobbs, D., Suhara, T., Okubo, Y. (2009). When Your Gain Is My Pain and Your Pain is My Gain: Neural Correlates of Envy and Schandenfreude.  Science.

Mobbs, D., Petrovic, P., Marchant, J., Hassabis, D., Weiskopf, N., Seymour, B.,Dolan, R.J., Frith, C.D. (2007). When fear is near: threat imminence elicits prefrontal-periaqueductal gray shifts in humans. Science. 24;317(5841):1079-83.

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