Peter Sokol-Hessner, Ph.D.

Download the SfN poster here: [pdf]

I study affect and decision-making. Classic theories describe the influence of affect as "hot", automatic, and often irrational, in opposition to "cold," controlled, rational cognition, but this simplistic dichotomy ignores the complexity of both affect and decision-making. My research combines computational behavioral models of value and learning with psychological theories of affect and self-regulation, and measures and manipulations of components of emotion and the brain. By leveraging psychology, economics, and neuroscience, I seek to develop a more nuanced, sophisticated understanding of affect and decision-making.

My approach is captured in two main goals: first, to identify specific links between unique components of affect and specific decision processes, and second, to understand how techniques used to change emotions can be used to change choices.

I am currently a Postdoctoral Fellow with Nathaniel Daw and Elizabeth Phelps in the Psychology Department at New York University. I received my PhD in Psychology from NYU in Professor Phelps' lab, and went on to a two year Postdoctoral Fellowship in Neuroeconomics with Antonio Rangel at Caltech before my current postdoc.

A recent copy of my CV is available here (updated 11/10/14).


  • Sokol-Hessner, P, Lackovic, SF, Tobe, RH, Leventhal, BL, Phelps, EA (under revision) Propranolol selectively reduces loss aversion
  • FeldmanHall, O, Sokol-Hessner, P, Van Bavel, JJ, Phelps, EA (2014) Fairness violations elicit greater punishment on behalf of another than for oneself, Nature Communications, 5(5306), p1-6 [pdf]
  • Sokol-Hessner, P, Phelps, EA (in press) The neuroscience of value, emotion, and decision-making, in Brosch, T., & Sander, D., The Handbook of value: The affective sciences of values and valuation
  • Phelps, EA, Lempert, KM, Sokol-Hessner, P (2014) Emotion and Decision Making: Multiple Modulatory Neural Circuits, Annual Review of Neuroscience, 37, p263-287 [pdf]
  • Sokol-Hessner, P*, Hartley, CA*, Hamilton, JR, Phelps, EA (2014) Interoceptive awareness predicts aversion to losses, Cognition and Emotion, ePub ahead of print [pdf]
  • Sokol-Hessner, P, Camerer, CF, Phelps, EA (2013) Emotion Regulation Reduces Loss Aversion and Decreases Amygdala Responses to Losses, SCAN, 8, p341-350 [pdf]
  • Sokol-Hessner, P, Hutcherson, C, Hare, T, Rangel, A (2012) Decision value computation in DLPFC and VMPFC adjusts to the available decision time, European Journal of Neuroscience, 35, p1065-1074 [pdf]
  • Stanley, DA, Sokol-Hessner, P, Fareri, DS, Perino, MT, Delgado, MR, Banaji, MR, Phelps, EA (2012) Race and reputation: perceived racial group trustworthiness influences the neural correlates of trust decisions, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 367(1589), p744-753 [pdf]
  • McRae, K, Gross, J, Robertson, E, Sokol-Hessner, P, Ray, R, Gabrieli, JDE, Ochsner, K (2012) The development of emotion regulation: An fMRI study of cognitive reappraisal in children, adolescents, and young adults, SCAN, 7(1), p11-22 [pdf]
  • Phelps, EA, Sokol-Hessner, P (2012) Social and Emotional Factors in Decision-Making: Appraisal and Value, in Dolan, R, Sharot, T, Neuroscience of Preference and Choice: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms, Academic Press (London), p207-222 [pdf]
  • Stanley, DA, Sokol-Hessner, P, Banaji, MR, Phelps, EA (2011) Implicit race attitudes predict trustworthiness judgments and economic trust decisions, PNAS, 108(19), p7710-7715 [pdf]
  • Miller, MB, Donovan, C-L, van Horn, JD, German, E, Sokol-Hessner, P, Wolford, GL (2009) Unique and persistent individual patterns of brain activity across different memory retrieval tasks, NeuroImage, 48(3), p625-635 [pdf]
  • Sokol-Hessner, P, Hsu, M, Curley, NG, Delgado, MR, Camerer, CF, Phelps, EA (2009) Thinking Like A Trader Reduces Individuals' Loss Aversion, PNAS, 106(13), p5035-5040 [pdf]
  • Ofen, N, Kao, Y-C, Sokol-Hessner, P, Kim, H, Whitfield-Gabrieli, S, Gabrieli, JDE (2007) Development of the declarative memory system in the human brain, Nature Neuroscience, 10, p1198-1205 [pdf]


  • New York University, New York, NY, USA
    • Ph.D. in Psychology, May 2010
    • M.A. in Psychology, January 2009
  • Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, USA
    • B.A. in Psychological and Brain Sciences, June 2004


Contact Information

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  • Department of Psychology
    New York University
    6 Washington Place, 8th Fl
    New York, NY 10003