The complexity of the social world makes it difficult for us to make adaptive decisions. Our choices unfold in the vast landscape of people’s relationships with each other, such that our actions can have far-reaching impacts on our communities. We can make more adaptive decisions by building mental representations, known as cognitive maps, of the individuals in our social networks, and how they’re connected to each other.

In short, my research explores how people build cognitive maps of social networks, and how these cognitive maps inform social decision making.

My work draws on behavioral experiments, computational modeling, network modeling, and functional neuroimaging.

Animated image of my brain from an MRI.

Animated image of my brain from an MRI.


Misadventurer; reluctant optimist; amor fati.

My name is 손재영. In English, I go by Jae. Learn more about Korean naming conventions here. Hear how my full name is pronounced here.

“One-dimensional thought is systematically promoted by the makers of politics and their purveyors of mass information. Their universe of discourse is populated by self-validating hypotheses which, incessantly and monopolistically repeated, become hypnotic definitions or dictations.” -Herbert Marcuse.