Ali Khatibi

Assistant Professor

AliKhatibi Office: HZ-42


Personal Website:


  • Ph.D. in Psychology, KU Leuven, Leuven, Belgium (2014)
  • M.Sc. in Psychology, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran (2008)
  • B.Sc. in Biology. Guilan University, Rasht, Iran (2004)
  • Former affiliation:
    • Postdoctoral research fellow, Laboratory of Research on neuropsychophysiology of pain, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada


Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience. Like other emotions, facial expressions are a channel for the communication of feelings when people are in pain. The human cognitive system evolved in a way to efficiently detect signals related to pain and to prepare the person for a proper reaction, but sometimes it leads to a biased processing of pain resulting in a maladaptive response to pain. This can lead to the development and maintenance of pain-related problems.

On the other hand, a true estimation of pain in health care setting has a crucial value for the well-being of patients. A biased assessment of pain (for example through patients’ painful facial expressions) may lead to misevaluation of patients and can lead to unsatisfied expectations which may itself contribute to the development and maintenance of pain-related problems.

Ali Khatibi’s research targets cognitive mechanisms associated with the processing of pain in facial expression of other people and how these mechanisms contribute to the modulation of responses in the observer. He is also interested in the ways we can minimize bias in pain assessment in health care settings.
Keywords: Pain, Empathy, Pain Communication, Vicarious Pain, Facial Expression, Cognitive Bias, Selective Attention, Interpretation Bias, Neuroimaging.