The Department of Social Neuroscience investigates human social behaviour. Adopting an interdisciplinary approach, we study the neuronal, hormonal, and developmental foundations of human social cognition, social and moral emotions such as empathy and compassion, envy, revenge, fairness as well as emotion regulation capacities and their role in social decision making and communication.
As such, we bring together scientists from a variety of social and natural sciences (including neuroscience, psychology, bio-psychology, biology, economics, and anthropology) to investigate the influence of the environment on social behavior, the underlying cognitive processes sub-served by neuronal circuits and ultimately by neurotransmitters, hormones, and genes. To achieve these goals, we combine brain imaging methods (e.g., functional and structural MRI, rt-fMRI, TMS, EEG), autonomic measures (e.g., heart rate, pupillary response), neuro-pharmacological interventions (e.g. oxytocin), hormonal measurements (e.g. cortisol), genetic techniques, behavioral paradigms (including virtual reality paradigms, game theoretical paradigms adopted from economics, and experimental paradigms adopted from psychology research), and subjective methods (e.g., event-sampling, questionnaires).
One important part of our research programme is to identify the various routes underlying social cognition and emotions, i.e. our ability to understand others. Here, we are working towards a unifying model of social cognition. [more]
Successful social interaction is not something that occurs from birth but develops slowly. Infants and children undergo considerable change in their ability to feel with and understand their fellow human beings and to act on this gained understanding. [more]
Another important focus of the Department of Social Neuroscience is on the plasticity of the social brain and the investigation of trainability of socio-affective functions. [more]
One of the four major areas of research of the Department of Social Neuroscience is studying the psychopathology of the social brain. This focus of the department is headed by Dr Philipp Kanske. [more]