Students of the Social Brain Lab

Laura Vercellin

Neuroscience Master’s student at the University of Trieste. Under the supervision of Rajeev Rajendran, I am trying to investigate which is the neuronal population responsible for that sensation of pain that we feel when we see another person in pain. Is emotional contagion triggered by the same neurons that are active when i’m feeling the pain in first person? Can we then talk about mirror neurons for empathy? To answer these questions, we are using animal models and we make use of techniques as viral transduction and chemogenetics.



Arianne Leijenaar

As a Master student in Gender Studies at the University of Utrecht, I am focused on the relationship between human pro-social behavior and interpersonal power relationships, one of the core mechanisms of discrimination. Specifically, under the supervision of Kalliopi Ioumpa, the research I am conducting investigates the difference in prosocial behavior for synesthetes and non-synesthetes, that need to chose between a money reward and another participant not receiving electric shocks. The difference between these two groups of people might implicate a difference in the motivation for pro-social behavior.



Irene Arnaldo

I am working under the supervision of Emilie Caspar and Kalliopi Ioumpa on a project that aims to understand how empathy and responsibility are modulated by coercive circumstances as opposed to freely chosen decisions. We are also especially interested in understanding how responsibility can be diffused when orders are given to another agent (human or robot).  To answer these questions we will be using fMRI, EEG, and behavioral data. I find really exciting to think of the implications this can have for society!



Andrei Radu

I am studying a bachelor’s degree in psychology in Romania, at the West University of Timisoara and have been an Erasmus student at NIN for 2 months as an intern under the supervision of Rune Bruls, where I’ve helped in the phase of collecting data from rodent videos using BORIS in her study regarding the question: “What behavior drives the decision to act prosocial in rats?”


Former Students:

2019 Augustine Attah, Laura Stolk, Ieva Gembutaite, Bodil Hoekzema, Steven Voges, Lara Lakhsassi, Laura Fornari, Bodil Hoekzema, Martina Pesce

2018 Alexandra Gabur, Chiara Hinna Danesi, Andrea Veggerby Lind, Susan van den Boogaard, Matteo Capone, Christiaan Becker, Lillian Emming

2017 Anna Henschel, Andrea Romaguera Álvarez, Elif Ezgi Aksulu, Ernesto Berenjeno, Maite van der Miesen, Maryam Yasamin Shirazi, Ming Liu, Nikki Brands, Sammy Heutz, Vaishnavi Balaji