Relationships play a key role in our health and well-being. In the SMU Social and Clinical Neuroscience (SCN) lab, we examine interactions between biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to individual differences in social functioning and mental health. To conduct this work, we integrate social and clinical psychology with neuroscientific methods including neuroendocrine measurement, pharmacological administration, genetics and neuroimaging. 

In particular, our lab focuses on the role of the neuropeptides oxytocin and vasopressin in socioemotional processes and psychopathology. This work has begun to shed light on the complexities of these neuropeptides and how the initial research on oxytocin painted an overly simplistic explanation of its role in human social cognition and behavior (i.e., branding it as the "love hormone"). 

Our current projects address the following questions:

1) Can oxytocin and vasopressin be used as biomarkers for social sensitivity and interpersonal functioning?

2) Does social anxiety impair social cognitive processing?

3) What is the relationship between social sensitivity, psychopathology, and social cognition?

4) Are there common factors that predict empathic accuracy for interpersonal interactions and music listening?

5) What are the neural effects of oxytocin and vasopressin administration on social processes such as empathy?


Dr. Tabak is accepting applications from prospective graduate students to begin in the Fall of 2020. Please read about the SMU Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology to find more information about the program and how to apply.

If you are interested in getting involved in the SCN Lab as an undergraduate research assistant or volunteer, please send a message through the contact page of this website or email Dr. Tabak directly. Please include a brief description of your research interests and a copy of your CV.