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Philip Jackson,

École de psychologie

Investigation of the cognitive processes and emotions involved in social interactions and empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand the emotions, motivations and states of mind of others. It is essential for normal social interactions. Some neurological or psychiatric disorders (brain trauma or schizophrenia, for example) interfere with this ability.

Professor Phillip Jackson's research aims to understand the ability of the human brain to visualize the states of mind of others and to identify the factors that can influence this ability, such as experience, individual differences, as well as certain brain disorders.

His team also seeks to identify the systems and networks of the brain that are involved in empathy and the representation of the pain of oneself and others. The techniques used include functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, non-invasive transcranial stimulation and several physiological measures, such as heart rate.

Studies by Philip Jackson's lab have helped to explain why people who are often exposed to people who suffer, such as health professionals, will rate patients' pain differently than people who are less exposed to the pain of others. His team found variations in neural activity in the brain that depend on work experience and underlie these differences.

More recently, Dr. Jackson and his team have used virtual reality and video games to identify physiological markers (such as heartbeat) of emotions felt during human-machine interaction.

My interests concern the human brain ability to mentally represent actions, emotions or mental states of others. Embedded in a cognitive and social neuroscience perspective, my research program examines how this capacity is affected by individual differences, learning and brain plasticity, as well as by neurological problems (e.g., traumatic brain injury). My work focuses mainly on three axes: action representation (notably in amputees), pain representation and communication, and social cognition (cognitive processes involved in social interactions, for instance empathy). My team and I use techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, electroencephalography, and transcranial magnetic stimulation, to examine cerebral systems involved in these processes. My research program also examines how psychiatric disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, personality disorders) affect social cognition, empathy, and perception of pain in others. The latest developments in my lab focuses on using neurophysiological markers during human-machine interaction especially with avatars that express emotions as well as video games.

Research assistant
Sarah-Maude Deschenes, Dt.P., M.Sc.

Postdoctoral fellows
Cindy Chamberland, Ph.D.
Aurore Meugnot, Ph.D.

PhD students
Béatrice Tousignant (recherche-intervention)
Marie-Audrey Lavoie (recherche-intervention)
Elsa Massicotte (recherche-intervention)
Cynthia Berthiaume (D. Psy)
Josiane Jauniaux (recherche-intervention)
Marie-Pier B.-Tremblay (recherche-intervention)
Frédéric Grondin (D. Psy)

Master students
Marie-Hélène Tessier
Marc-André Bouchard
Roxanne Poulin

Krishnan, A., Woo, C.W., Chang, L., Gu, X., Lopez-Solà, M., Jackson, P.L., i Nuez, J.P., Fan, J. & Wager, T. (2016). Somatic and vicarious pain are represented by dissociable multivariate brain patterns. eLife, 2016;5:e15166.

Jackson, P.L., Michon, P.E., Geslin, E., Carignan, M., Beaudoin, D. (2015). EEVEE: the Empathy-Enhancing Virtual Evolving Environment.. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9:112.

Achim, AM, Ouellet, R, Lavoie, MA, Vallières, C, Jackson, PL, & Roy, MA. (2013). Impact of social anxiety on social cognition and functioning in patients with recent-onset schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Schizophrenia Research, 145(1-3), 75-81.

Lavoie, MA., Plana, I., Godmaire-Duhaime, F., Bédard-Lacroix, J., Jackson, P.L., & Achim, A.M. (2014). Performance in Multiple Domains of Social Cognition in Parents of Patients with Schizophrenia. Psychiatry Research, 2014 Aug 1. pii: S0165-1781(14)00634-9. doi: 10.1016/j.psychres.2014.07.055. [Epub ahead of print].

Hadjistavropoulos, T., Craig, K.D., Duck, S., Cano, A.M. Goubert, L., Jackson, P.L., Mogil, J.S., Rainville, P., Sullivan, M., Williams, A.deC., Vervoort, T., Fitzgerald, T.D. (2011). A Biopsychosocial Formulation of Pain Communication. Psychological Bulletin, 137 (6), 910-939.

Budell, L., Jackson, P., Rainville, P. (2010). Brain responses to facial expressions of pain: Emotional or motor mirroring? Neuroimage, 53, 355-363.

Jackson P.L., Rainville P., Decety J. (2006). To what extent do we share the pain of others? Insight from the neural bases of pain empathy. Pain, 125, 5-9.

Jackson, P.L., Meltzoff, A.N. & Decety, J. (2005). How do we perceive the pain of others: A window into the neural processes involved in empathy. NeuroImage, 24, 771-779.

Jackson, P.L & Decety, J. (2004). Motor Cognition: A new paradigm to investigate self-other interactions. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 14, 259-263.

Decety, J., & Jackson, P.L. (2004). The functional architecture of human empathy. Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience Review, 3, 71-100.

Liste des publications récentes:

After postdoctoral training in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Washington and the University of Montreal, Mr. Jackson was appointed in 2005, Assistant Professor at the School of Psychology of Université Laval, became associate professor in 2010 and full professor in 2014. he is currently Senior Research scholar of the FRSQ. Neuropsychologist and expert in brain imaging, it performs its work at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration (CIRRIS), the Research Centre of the University Institute in Mental Health of Quebec (CRIUSMQ) and on campus of Université Laval.

2014-2018 Senior Research Scholar Career Award, Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ)

2008-2013 New Investigator Award (Salary grant), Instituts de Recherche en Santé du Canada (IRSC)

2005-2009 Research Scholar Career Award Junior 1, Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Québec (FRSQ)

2003-2005 Postdoctoral Fellowship, Instituts de recherche en santé du Canada

2003 Certificate of excellence, Canadian Psychology Association (CPA)

2003 Nomination, Price for the best thesis, Social Sciences Faculty, Université Laval


Neuropsychology, Pain & Cognition, Cognitive Neuroscience, fMRI, Social Neuroscience, Empathy, Development of technologies modulating empathy

Philip Jackson

(418) 656-2131 x5151


École de psychologie Pavillon Felix-Antoine Savard Local 1520 Québec (Québec) G1K 7P4 Canada



Recent Publications

Funding / Support / Partners

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