Department of Psychology

Benjamin Tabak


Benjamin Tabak

Assistant Professor

Expressway Tower 1300


Social and Clinical Neuroscience Lab Website


Benjamin A. Tabak, the Director of the Social and Clinical Neuroscience (SCN) Lab at SMU. Dr. Tabak received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Miami. He also completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles in the Social and Affective Neuroscience Lab, the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, and the Anxiety and Depression Research Center.


The SCN lab examines interactions between biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to individual differences in social functioning and mental health. To conduct this work, the lab integrates social and clinical psychology with neuroscientific methods including neuroendocrine measurement, pharmacological administration, genetics and neuroimaging. 


Dr. Tabak is currently accepting graduate student applications to begin in the Fall of 2019.


Young, K. S., Parsons, C., LeBeau, R. T.,Tabak, B. A., Sewart, A., Stein, A. S., Kringelbach, M. L., & Craske, M. G. (2017). Sensing emotion in voices: negativity bias and gender differences in a validation study of the Oxford Vocal ('OxVoc') Sounds Database. Psychological Assessment, 29, 967-977. doi: 10.1037/pas0000382.

Tabak, B. A., Meyer, M. L., Dutcher, J. M., Castle, E., Irwin, M. R., Lieberman, M. D., & Eisenberger, N. I. (2016). Oxytocin, but not vasopressin, impairs social cognitive ability among individuals with higher levels of social anxiety: A randomized controlled trial. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11, 1272-1279. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsw041.

Tabak, B. A., Vrshek-Schallhorn, S., Zinbarg, R. E., Prenoveau, J. M., Mineka, S., Redei, E. E., Adam, E. K., & Craske, M. G. (2016). Interaction of CD38 variant and chronic interpersonal stress prospectively predicts social anxiety and depression symptoms over six years. Clinical Psychological Science. 4, 17-27. doi: 10.1177/2167702615577470.

Tabak, B. A., Meyer, M. L., Castle, E., Dutcher, J. M., Irwin, M. R., Han, J. H., Lieberman, M. D., & Eisenberger, N. I. (2015). Vasopressin, but not oxytocin, increases empathic concern among individuals who received higher levels of paternal warmth: A randomized controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 51, 253-261. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2014.10.006.

Tabak, B. A., McCullough, M. E., Carver, C. S., Pedersen, E. J., & Cuccaro, M. L. (2014). Variation in oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) polymorphisms is associated with emotional and behavioral reactions to betrayal. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 9, 810-816. doi: 10.1093/scan/nst042

McCullough, M. E., Pedersen, E. J., Tabak, B. A., & Carter, E. (2014). Conciliatory gestures promote forgiveness and reduce anger in humans. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 111, 11211-11216.  doi: 10.1073/pnas.1405072111

Tabak, B. A. (2013). Oxytocin and social salience: a call for gene-environment interaction research. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 7, 199. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2013.00199

McCullough, M. E., Kurzban, R., & Tabak, B. A. (2013). Cognitive systems for revenge and forgiveness. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 36, 1-58. doi: 10.1017/S0140525X11002160

McCullough, M. E., Pedersen, E. J., Schroder, J., Tabak, B. A., & Carver, C. S. (2013). Harsh childhood environmental characteristics predict exploitation and retaliation in humans. Proceedings of the Royal Society B—Biological Sciences, 280, 20122104. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2012.2104

Fulford, D., Feldman, G., Tabak, B. A., McGillicuddy, M., & Johnson, S. L. (2013). Positive affect enhances the association of hypomanic personality and cognitive flexibility. International Journal of Cognitive Therapy, 6, 1-15.

Tabak, B. A., & McCullough, M. E., Luna, L. R., Bono, G., & Berry, J. (2012). Conciliatory gestures facilitate forgiveness and feelings of friendship by making transgressors appear more agreeable. Journal of Personality, 80, 503-536. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2011.00728.x

Tabak, B. A. & McCullough, M. E. (2011). Perceived agreeableness decreases cortisol response and increases forgiveness following recent interpersonal transgressions. Biological Psychology, 87, 386-392. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.05.001

Tabak, B. A., McCullough, M. E., Szeto, A., Mendez, A. J., & McCabe, P. M. (2011). Oxytocin indexes relational distress following interpersonal harms in women. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 36, 115-122. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2010.07.004

Szeto, A., McCabe, P. M., Nation, D. A., Tabak, B. A., Rossetti, M. A., McCullough, M. E., Schneiderman, N., & Mendez, A. J. (2011). Evaluation of enzyme immunoassay and radioimmunoassay methods for the measurement of plasma oxytocin. Psychosomatic Medicine, 73, 393-400. doi: 10.1097/PSY.0b013e31821df0c2

McCullough, M. E., Root, L. M., Berry, J., Tabak, B. A., & Bono, G. (2010). On the form and function of forgiving: Modeling the time-forgiveness relationship and testing the valuable relationships hypothesis. Emotion, 10, 358-376. doi: 10.1037/a0019349