Profile picture of Robert Chavez

Robert Chavez

Associate Professor
Center for Translational Neuroscience, Neuroscience, Psychology
Phone: 541-346-4943
Office: 433 Straub Hall
Research Interests: Social/Personality, Social Neuroscience, Self, Interpersonal Perception, Individual Differences, Computational Methods


Among the most defining characteristics of our species is our capacity for a rich sense of self and depth of our social cognition. How does the human brain build models of ourselves and other people, and how do we use this information to guide our behavior in the real world? My research aims to better understand the biological mechanisms of social behavior. Specifically, I am interested in both the shared and dissociable psychological processes that underlie self-representation and social cognition and their representation in the brain. Employing methods such as multimodal neuroimaging (e.g., fMRI and DTI) and machine learning, my work investigates how these processes are reflected in the structure and function of distributed networks of the brain and how they predict individual differences in each domain. As such, research in my lab broadly draws on theoretical and methodological approaches from personality and social psychology, cognitive neuroscience, evolutionary theory, and data science.

Selected publications:

Guthrie, T.D., Benadjaoud, Y.Y., & Chavez, R.S. (2022). Social relationship strength modulates the similarity of brain-to-brain representations of group members. Cerebral Cortex, 32, 2469–2477.

Chavez, R.S., Tovar, D.T., Stendel, M.S., & Guthrie, T.D. (2022). Generalizing effects of frontostriatal structural connectivity on self-esteem using predictive modeling. Cortex, 146, 66-73.

Tovar, D.T., & Chavez, R.S. (2021). Large-scale functional coactivation patterns reflect the structural connectivity of the medial prefrontal cortex. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 16(8), 875-882.

Chavez, R.S., & Wagner, D.D. (2020). The neural representation of self is recapitulated in the brains of friends: A round-robin fMRI study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 118(3), 407-416.

Wagner, D.D., Chavez, R.S., & Broom, T.W. (2019). Decoding the neural representation of self and person knowledge with multivariate pattern analysis and data-driven approaches. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science, 10(1), e1482.

Chavez, R.S., Heatherton, T.H., & Wagner, D.D. (2017). Neural population decoding reveals the intrinsic positivity of the self. Cerebral Cortex, 11(1), 5222-5229.