The Fareri Lab

for Social Neuroscience and Decision-Making

Welcome to the Fareri Lab at Adelphi University, directed by Dr. Dominic Fareri. We are located in the Derner School of Psychology. Our lab investigates how social factors such as who we know and what we know about them change the way in which we learn, place value on others and social experiences and make decisions.


Research in the lab broadly focuses on understanding the way in which the social environment influences neural mechanisms that underlie our choices and ability to learn about others. We employ behavioral, computational (reinforcement learning), psychophysiological (skin conductance) and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques to address these issues. Current and future work in the lab is centered around a few related areas of interest.

Social Relationships

Social psychological theories posit humans are intrinsically motivated to form close social connections with others. These close connections can occur within caregiving contexts (i.e., parents) or with peers (i.e., best friends) that we have come to know well over time (Fareri & Delgado, 2014, The Neuroscientist.). Evidence indicates that positive experiences both shared with others (Fareri*, Niznikiewicz* et al., 2012, Journal of Neuroscience) and earned in competition against others (Fareri & Delgado, 2014, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience) may be more highly valued and informative when interacting with close friends compared with strangers, as represented by differential encoding in the brain's reward circuit. Successful social interactions (i.e., collaborations) with close others are indeed associated with a computational social reward value signal that scales with the value of a social relationship (Fareri*, Chang* & Delgado, 2015, Journal of Neuroscience). Current work in the lab is exploring how constructs such as perceived social support influences the value assigned to social experiences and how the value of close relationships changes in aging samples.

Decisions in Social Contexts

Many of the decisions we make occur within social contexts (e.g., deciding whether someone is trustworthy, choosing whether to make a risky or a safe choice). We often bring to such decisions important prior knowledge about interaction partners that is based on assumptions about social groups (Stanley, Sokol-Hessner, Fareri et al., 2012, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London: Biological Sciences), or previous experience from other situations that can impact the way in which we learn about their reputations (Fareri et al., 2012, Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience). Current studies in the lab are investigating how one's propensity to engage in risky choice may change depending on social context, and how positive and negative social experiences can change preferences for immediate gratification.

Atypical Experiences

Early & atypical life experiences can have a significant impact on brain development and future social and emotional behavior (Fareri & Tottenham, 2016, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience). Indeed, a lack of stable caregiving and social support early in life can profoundly alter connectivity in neural networks important for processing reward and social value, which in turn is associated with increased levels of social difficulties (Fareri et al., 2017, Development and Psychopathology). Current work in the lab is beginning to investigate how interpersonal trauma (e.g., posttraumatic stress) influences the ability to derive reward value from social interactions and from social support figures.



Dominic Fareri

Dominic is an Assistant Professor in the Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University and is the Director of the undergraduate Neuroscience program. He is a Visiting Research Professor at the City College of New York and an affiliate of the Rutgers Center of Alcohol and Substance Use Studies. His research broadly focuses on understanding how the social world influences brain function and connectivity to shape the way in which we interact with others and develop relationships. Dominic received his Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University, where he trained with Mauricio Delgado. He then completed postdoctoral training with Nim Tottenham at UCLA and Columbia University. In his spare time, Dominic enjoys spending time with his family and rooting for the Yankees.

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Lab Manager

Melanie Ruiz

Melanie received her B.A.s in Psychology and Cognitive Science from Rutgers University in 2020, with a concentration in decision making and cognitive neuroscience. Her research interests lie in neuroscience and computational approaches to social cognition and decision making in addition to understanding how such processes vary across individuals and contexts. She plans to pursue a PhD in cognitive neuroscience in the near future. In her spare time, Melanie enjoys painting and playing guitar.

Graduate Students

Michael Poon

Michael Poon is a fourth year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Binghamton University, and his M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University with a concentration in Clinical Psychology. Michael's research interests center around investigating the effectiveness of psychotherapeutic treatment modalities and techniques. His current work in Dr. Fareri's Neuroscience Lab focuses on the neural/cognitive processes involved in addiction with a goal of identifying neural/cognitive changes associated with addiction treatment.

Talia Schiff

Talia is a first year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PhD program. She received her B.A in psychology with a neuroscience concentration and english minor from Yeshiva University, and worked as a research assistant in a cognitive neuroscience lab at Columbia Medical Center. Her research interests include the intersectionality of neuroscience and clinical psychology, and she aspires to academic and humanitarian excellence in her career as a psychologist. Her current research in Dr. Fareri's lab is focused on the neural, cognitive, and psychological processes underlying post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Nicole Senia

Nicole is currently a student in the Psychology M.A. program, after earning her Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences from Adelphi University. Nicole’s research interests include the social and neurological factors of decision making, and how they pertain to addiction and engagement in self-defeating behaviors.

Wei-Qian Wang

Wei-Qian is currently a first-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at Derner School of Psychology at Adelphi University. In 2018, Wei-Qian graduated summa cum laude from Hunter College, CUNY, and received his B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. In 2020, he graduated with his M.A. from the Psychology in Education program at Teachers College with a concentration in global mental health. Wei-Qian’s research interests focus on examining effective ways to culturally adapt existing therapeutic interventions to address the disparity in mental health seeking behaviors that are prominent in many minority populations. Moreover, he is interested in understanding how psychosocial distress, such as high levels of expressed emotions and interpersonal conflicts, contributes to symptom severity of mental disorders.

Undergraduate Students

Gabriella DeLuca

Gabriella DeLuca is a psychology major and an art therapy minor. She wants to have her own private practice in the future. She is interested in researching how people behave and interact with one another especially with all of the new and growing social media platforms. She is going to be completing research with Dr. Fareri within the Emerging Scholars program, and is very excited to start!

Aadil Khan

Aadil is a senior at Adelphi in the Honors College majoring in molecular neuroscience, as well as pursuing minors in biology, psychology, and economics. He is interested in how chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) develops in athletes starting from their childhood and subsequently alters their decision-making. He is conducting neuroeconomic research with Dr. Fareri and Dr. Stanley through Emerging Scholars for his Honors Thesis on the social decision-making and biases of individuals as it relates to post-traumatic stress using fMRI data. He intends to attend medical school and become a physician.

Tereza Kuzmina

Tereza (Tess) Kuzmina is an international student from Russia entering her junior year at Adelphi University. Tess is a part of the Honors College, a member of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology, and a chapter president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. Tess aspires to become a psychotherapist and to start her own practice after attending graduate school. Aspects of social psychology, in particular, relationships of intimate nature and impact that close ties have on young adults’ well-being are primary research interests of hers. Social media and its effects on college students’ self-image is also something that Tess finds appealing and intriguing to look into.

Lab Alumni

Tanya Saraiya

Tanya is beginning her clinical internship at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in the Substance Use Track.

Kelly Hiersche

Kelly is currently a Research Assistant in the Buckeye-Brain Aging Lab (B-BAL) at The Ohio State University.

Joanne Stasiak

Joanne is currently the Lab Manager for the Social Affective Neuroscience Lab at Temple University.

Landon Kessler

Landon is planning to pursue medical school with a focus on neurosurgery.

Amalia Saleh

Amalia is planning to pursue medical school.

Monroe Marshall

Monroe is currently pursuing a graduate degree in public health.

Eboney Nedd

Eboney is currently pursuing a graduate degree as a Physician's Assistant.

Esther Libby Frankl

Esther just completed her MA in Psychology at Adelphi and is planning to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Developmental Psychology.


*denotes equal author contribution

In press & under review

Gee DG, Hanson C, Caglar LR, Fareri DS, Gabard-Durnam LJ, Mills-Finnerty C, Goff B, Caldera CJ, Lumian DS, Flannery J, Hanson* SJ, Tottenham* N. (under review). Experimental evidence for a child-to-adolescent switch in human amygdala-prefrontal cortex communication

Fareri DS, Stasiak J, Sokol-Hessner P. (submitted). Choosing for another: Social context changes dissociable computations underlying risky decision-making. doi: 10.31234/

Brudner E, Karousatos A, Fareri DS, Delgado MR. (under review). To trust or not to trust: How reputations shape our decisions.


VanTieghem M, Korom M, Flannery J, Choy T, Caldera C, Humphreys KL, Gabard-Durnam L, Goff G, Gee DG, Telzer E, Shapiro M, Louie JY,Fareri DS, Bolger N, Tottenham, N. (accepted). Longitudinal changes in amygdala, hippocampus and cortisol development following early caregiving adversity. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience.


Sazhin D, Frazier A, Haynes C, Johnston C, Chat I, Dennison J, Bart C, McCloskey M, Chein J, Fareri DS, Alloy L, Jarcho JM, Smith DV. (2020). The Role of Social Reward and Corticostriatal Connectivity in Substance Use. Journal of Psychiatry and Brain Science.2020;5:e200024.doi: 10.31234/

Park B, Fareri DS, Delgado MR, Young L. (2020). The role of right temporo-parietal junction in processing social prediction error across relationship contexts, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. doi:10.1093/scan/nsaa072

Fareri DS, Chang LJ, Delgado MR. Neural mechanisms of social learning. In Gazzaniga MS, Mangun GR, & Poeppel D. The Cognitive Neurosciences, 6th Edition. MIT Press.

Fareri DS, Smith DV, Delgado MR. The influence of relationship closeness on default-mode network connectivity during social interactions. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 15(3):261-271.


Saraiya T, Fareri DS, Lopez-Castro T, Hien D, Fertuck E, Melara R. The social cognitive appraisal of trustworthiness in individuals with dimensional levels of post-traumatic stress symptoms: A translational study. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 10:1. doi: 10.1080/20008198.2019.1697582.

Fareri DS. Neurobehavioral mechanisms supporting trust and reciprocity. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13:271. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2019.00271

Callaghan BL, Gee DG, Gabard-Durnam LJ, Telzer E, Humphreys KL, Goff B, Shapiro M, Flannery JE, Lumian DS, Fareri DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. Decreased amygdala reactivity to parent cues protects against anxiety following early adversity: an examination across 3-years. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 4(7):664-671.


Fareri DS, Delgado MR. The affective nature of social interactions. In Fox AS, Lapate RC, Shackman AJ and Davidson RJ. The Nature of Emotion: Fundamental Questions, 2nd Edition. (2018).


Fareri DS, Gabard-Durnam LJ, Goff B, Flannery J, Gee DG, Lumian DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. (2017). Altered ventral striatal-medial prefrontal cortex resting-state connectivity mediates adolescent social problems after early institutional care. Development and Psychopathology, 29(5):1865-1876.

Silvers JA, Goff B, Gabard-Durnan L, Gee DG, Fareri DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. (2017). Vigilance, the amygdala and anxiety in youth with a history of institutional care. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 2(6):493-501.


Silvers JA, Lumian DS, Gabard-Durnan LJ, Gee DG, Goff B, Fareri DS, Caldera C, Flannery J, Telzer E, Humphreys KL, Tottenham N. (2016). Early parental deprivation is followed by broader recruitment of neural circuitry for aversive learning during human development. Journal of Neuroscience, 36(24):6420-30.

Fareri DS, Tottenham N. (2016). Effects of early life stress on amygdala and striatal development. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 19: 233-247.

Gabard-Durnam L*, Gee DG*, Goff B, Flannery J, Telzer E, Humphreys K, Lumian D, Fareri DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. (2016). Stimulus elicited connectivity influences resting-state connectivity years later in human development: A prospective study. The Journal of Neuroscience, 36(17): 4771-84.


Fareri DS, Gabard-Durnam LJ, Goff B, Flannery J, Gee DG, Lumian DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. (2015). Normative development of ventral striatal resting-state connectivity in humans. NeuroImage, 118:422-437.

Fareri DS*, Chang LJ*, Delgado MR. (2015). Computational substrates of social value in interpersonal collaboration. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(21):8170-8180.


Gee DG*, Gabard-Durnam L*, Telzer EH, Humphreys KL, Goff B, Shapiro M, Flannery J, Lumian DS, Fareri DS, Caldera C, Tottenham N. (2014). Maternal buffering of human amygdala-prefrontal circuitry during childhood. Psychological Science, 25(11):2067-2078.

Fareri DS, Delgado MR. (2014). The importance of social rewards and social networks in the human brain. The Neuroscientist, 20(4):387-402.

Fareri DS, Delgado MR. (2014). Differential reward responses during competition against in- and out-of-network others. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9(4):412-420.


Fareri DS, Delgado MR. (2013). Reward Learning: Contributions of corticobasal ganglia circuits to reward value signals. In Armony, J., and Vuilleumier, P. (eds), The Cambridge Handbook of Human Affective Neuroscience. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

2012 and earlier

Fareri DS, Chang LJ, Delgado MR.(2012). Effects of direct social experience on trust decisions and neural reward circuitry. Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience, 6(148).

Fareri DS*, Niznikiewicz MA*, Lee VK, Delgado MR. (2012). Social network modulation of reward-related signals. The Journal of Neuroscience, 32(26):9045–9052.

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 of London: Biological Sciences, 367(1589):744-53.

Fareri DS, Martin LN, Delgado MR. (2008). Reward related processing in the human brain: Developmental considerations. Development and Psychopathology, 20, 1191-1211.


Interested in participating in a study? We are currently recruiting healthy individuals between the ages of 18-35 for a number of paid studies. Contact us at farerilab [at]

If you are an undergraduate student at Adelphi enrolled in General Psychology (PIA 101) or Psychological Research (PIA 245) and need to participate in experiments for credit, please visit the Adelphi Sona Systems site to view studies in our lab currently being run for credit.

If you are interested in gaining research experience and learning more about our work, we are always looking for motivated volunteers! Please send an email to Dr. Fareri at dfareri [at]