Prof. John T. Cacioppo, a pioneer and founder of the field of social neuroscience whose research on loneliness helped to transform psychology and neuroscience, died unexpectedly and peacefully at home on March 5. He was 66.
Cacioppo was the Tiffany and Margaret Blake Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago and served as director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience and chair of the Social Psychology Program. He is survived by his beloved wife, Stephanie, director of the brain dynamics laboratory at the University; and two children, Anthony and Christina.
“John’s passing is a profound loss for the field, the University, and the many, many colleagues, students and friends who knew him and learned from his myriad of contributions,” said Amanda Woodward, the William S. Gray Distinguished Service Professor of Psychology and interim dean of the Division of Social Sciences. “His influence across psychology, social neuroscience and health science was enormous, not only as a scientist but as an advocate for science. His legacy cannot be overstated.”
Cacioppo’s colleagues and family said he will be remembered as a truth seeker, creative genius, brilliant scientist, innovator, colleague, teacher, mentor, leader, father and husband.
“There are so few people of whom we can truly say, ‘He was one of a kind,’ but of John it was painfully, obviously true,” said Daniel Gilbert, the Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology at Harvard University.