Center for Social Neuroscience


Westmont’s Center for Social Neuroscience provides funding and support to faculty, students, and visiting scholars in the Westmont community for the interdisciplinary exploration of the social and neural processes that underlie psychological phenomena.



The field of social neuroscience understands social behavior as emergent from more basic biological processes, but biological processes as driven by and understood in terms of the social processes in which they are embedded: The individual organism and its psychological phenomena, including emotion, cognition, and action, are defined at the nexus of biological and social levels of organization. Understanding the complexities of human behavior within the context of both social and biological realities will be important for the creation of a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Such an approach to social, psychological, and neuroscientific questions is well suited to Westmont College for several reasons. First, an emphasis on social interactions and relational phenomena is consistent with the College’s Christian foundations and central theme in which loving one's neighbor is paramount. Second, the culturally- and socially-embedded emphasis of the discipline speaks directly to both practical and theoretical issues of interest in shaping global citizens. Finally, the inherently inter- and cross-disciplinary character of the discipline fits well within the liberal arts tradition.


Programs and Funding Opportunities
  • Faculty research
  • Student research
  • Guest speakers and visiting scholars
  • Pedagogy and curriculum


Projects and Interests
  • Action and intention understanding
  • Empathy and altruism
  • Neuroscience of leadership
  • Affective processes in neural and social systems
  • Biological and social foundations of spiritual formation
  • Philosophy and theology of social neuroscience
Brain Maps