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Brain networks controlling social decisions

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






Project "BRAINCODES" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
address: RAMISTRASSE 71
city: Zürich
postcode: 8006

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country Switzerland [CH]
 Total cost 1˙999˙991 €
 EC max contribution 1˙999˙991 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2016-COG
 Funding Scheme ERC-COG
 Starting year 2017
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2017-09-01   to  2022-08-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    UNIVERSITAT ZURICH CH (Zürich) coordinator 1˙999˙991.00


 Project objective

Successful social interactions require social decision making, the ability to guide our actions in line with the goals and expectations of the people around us. Disordered social decision making – e.g., associated with criminal activity or psychiatric illnesses – poses significant financial and personal challenges to society. However, the brain mechanisms that enable us to control our social behavior are far from being understood. Here I will take decisive steps towards a causal understanding of these mechanisms by elucidating the role of functional interactions in the brain networks responsible for steering strategic, prosocial, and norm-compliant behavior. I will employ a unique multi-method approach that integrates computational modeling of social decisions with new combinations of multimodal neuroimaging and brain stimulation methods. Using EEG-fMRI, I will first identify spatio-temporal patterns of functional interactions between brain areas that correlate with social decision processes as identified by computational modeling of behavior in different economic games. In combined brain stimulation-fMRI studies, I will then attempt to affect – and in fact enhance – these social decision-making processes by modulating the identified brain network patterns with novel, targeted brain stimulation protocols and measuring the resulting effects on behavior and brain activity. Finally, I will examine whether the identified brain network mechanisms are indeed related to disturbed social decisions in two psychiatric illnesses characterized by maladaptive social behavior (post-traumatic stress disorder and autism spectrum disorder). My proposed work plan will generate a causal understanding of the brain network mechanisms that allow humans to control their social decisions, thereby elucidating a biological basis for individual differences in social behavior and paving the way for new perspectives on how disordered social behavior may be identified and hopefully remedied.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Ignacio Obeso, Marius Moisa, Christian C Ruff, Jean-Claude Dreher
A causal role for right temporo-parietal junction in signaling moral conflict
published pages: , ISSN: 2050-084X, DOI: 10.7554/elife.40671
eLife 7 2019-06-11
2019 Rafael Polanía, Michael Woodford, Christian C. Ruff
Efficient coding of subjective value
published pages: 134-142, ISSN: 1097-6256, DOI: 10.1038/s41593-018-0292-0
Nature Neuroscience 22/1 2019-06-11
2019 Jan B. Engelmann, Friederike Meyer, Christian C. Ruff, Ernst Fehr
The neural circuitry of affect-induced distortions of trust
published pages: eaau3413, ISSN: 2375-2548, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau3413
Science Advances 5/3 2019-06-11
2018 Christian C. Ruff
Brain Stimulation Studies of Social Norm Compliance: Implications for Personality Disorders?
published pages: 105-109, ISSN: 0254-4962, DOI: 10.1159/000486898
Psychopathology 51/2 2019-04-18
2018 Arkady Konovalov, Jie Hu, Christian C Ruff
Neurocomputational approaches to social behavior
published pages: 41-47, ISSN: 2352-250X, DOI: 10.1016/j.copsyc.2018.04.009
Current Opinion in Psychology 24 2019-04-18
2018 Rafael Polanía, Michael A. Nitsche, Christian C. Ruff
Studying and modifying brain function with non-invasive brain stimulation
published pages: 174-187, ISSN: 1097-6256, DOI: 10.1038/s41593-017-0054-4
Nature Neuroscience 21/2 2019-04-18
2018 Micah G. Edelson, Rafael Polania, Christian C. Ruff, Ernst Fehr, Todd A. Hare
Computational and neurobiological foundations of leadership decisions
published pages: eaat0036, ISSN: 0036-8075, DOI: 10.1126/science.aat0036
Science 361/6401 2019-04-18

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