UCLA Department of Psychology, Professor, Co-director of Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
Naomi Eisenberger, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCLA. Her research uses neuroimaging techniques to better understand why social relationships are critical for mental and physical health. For example, her research has explored the neural underpinnings of social pain—the painful feelings following social rejection or loss—and has shown that social pain relies on some of the same neural regions that are involved in processing physical pain. She has also explored the neural substrates associated with social connection—including the systems involved in giving and receiving social support from others. Her work has also examined the bidirectional relationships between social relationships and health. Through this work she has shown that greater pain-related neural responding to social rejection is associated with enhanced inflammatory responding and that inflammatory activity itself can lead to increases in feelings of social disconnection and depressed mood. Dr. Eisenberger, who received her Ph.D. in 2005, has published more than 100 papers including articles in top tier journals (Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Neuroscience). In addition, her work has been recognized with several early career awards including ones from the American Psychological Association, the American Psychosomatic Society, the Association for Psychological Science, and the International Union of Psychological Science.