Neural Network Models of Social Reasoning and Behavior


  • Personality and Social Behavior
  • Motivated Decision-making and Behavior
  • Social Evaluation and Threat Perception
  • Legal and Everyday Decision-making
  • Coherence in Belief Systems, Belief Change attitude accessibility and the consistency of belief systems
  • Impression Formation and person Perception


We are a group of faculty and graduate students studying the application of connectionist (neural network) models to social reasoning and social behavior. We are currently working on the following models:

  • A neural network model of personality. 
  • A neural network model of human motivation and motivated decision-making.
  • A connectionist model of social evaluation, based on Cunningham’s Iterative Reprocessing model.
  • A connectionist model of threat perception, with David Marsh
  • A connectionist model of Cognitive Dissonance.
  • Computational models of social behavior in response to threats.
  • Computational models of online social behavior (GITHUB, Twitter, Reddit, etc.)

Current Projects

 A number of different projects with code and compiled versions can be found at:

Associated Faculty

Stephen J. Read (Psychology)

Lynn C. Miller (Annenberg School and Psychology)

In addition, a number of individuals in a variety of other departments are also actively investigating computational models (Linguistics, Psychology (Cognitive and Clinical), Computer Science, and the Neural, Informational, and Behavioral Sciences Program (NIBS)).


  • Minwoo Ahn
  • Peter Wang
  • Alice Qiao
  • Xiao Liu
  • Komal Patri




  • one 20 core HP computing cluster
  • one 12 core HP workstation


Emergent Neural Network simulation software.


Thagard’s ECHO program for parallel constraint satisfaction models

  • Stephen J. Read
  • Mendel B. Silberberg Professor of Social Psychology
  • Department of Psychology
  • 501 SGM
  • University of Southern California
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 90089-1061