Lab Members

Scientific Interests

In the past 10 years I have been working on the neural foundations of social cognition and social emotions, especially empathy and prosocial behaviors. The focus of my research is both in the normal developing and clinical population (especially autism and alexithymia). I recently expanded my interests to the investigation of the neurobiological mechanisms behind social reward.  


Post Doc: Jakub Kraus

jakub.kraus@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

My research focuses on the investigation of the neurobiological mechanisms behind social reward. Specifically I am interested in the role the opiod- and the oxytocin-system and their interaction in social reward processing. To this end I utilize pharmacological manipulation along with the functional MRI and concurrent facial EMG.


Post Doc: Isabella Pollak

isabella.pollak@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

My research interests concern social-emotional learning and psychological wellbeing in school. I have previously focused on links between peer relationships, social-emotional skills and wellbeing in the school context. Currently, I am working on the COMET4Kids project, which aims to improve child mental health literacy in primary school. We conduct qualitative research workshops in schools and link them with innovative methods to assess mental health in children (ecological momentary assessments and virtual reality)


Post Doc: Ana Stijovic

ana.stijovic@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

My research revolves around topics of social isolation and social reward. I have studied social isolation and loneliness using both experimental and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approaches, where the focus was on subjective stress, mood, fatigue, and physiological stress responses. Since recently, I am learning to use functional near infrared spectroscopy to study interbrain synchrony in lonely individuals.


PhD Student: Raimund Bühler

raimund.buehler@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

My research focuses on the neural basis of social attention and social motivation in autism spectrum disorder, specifically the importance of the interaction between the opiod- and the oxytocin-system in modulating these processes. For this, I will be using interactive eye tracking and computational reinforcement learning models. I also have previously gathered some experience in topics related to primary and social reward processing using EMG and fMRI.​


PhD Student: Alexander Groessing

alexander.groessing@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

I'm interested in neuronal plasticity and how functional and structural changes in the brain influence our behavior. Currently I'm investigating the effects of music therapy on the brain, using functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging. I'm also interested in the neuronal underpinnings of psychopathy and criminal behavior and possible implications for law enforcement.


PhD Student: Melanie Michna

melanie.michna@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

I am interested in the topics of dehumanisation and its link to social cognition and behavior.


PhD Student: Katharina Stiehl

katharina.stiehl@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

I am interested in how stereotypical perception of sexualisation influence social behaviour during early adolescence. My current research focuses on how early adolescence see themselves and others in different developmental stages and how this influences their stereotypical perception and social behaviour.

Alumni

Post Doc: Emilio Chiappini

chiappini@ifado.de

 

 

Scientific Interests

My research interests orbit around social perception and social reward processing. Early in my career, I mastered the use of TMS to study the physiology and the plastic properties of healthy brains in young adults and the elderly in the context of motor, perceptual, and social tasks. Currently, my research strand investigates altered mechanisms of social and non-social reward processing in clinical populations such as autistic persons and eating disorder patients. To this end, I make use of functional MRI and concurrent facial EMG.


Post Doc: Claudia Massaccesi

claudia.massaccesi@univie.ac.at 

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Scientific Interests

My research interests are in the area of social behavior, social cognition and social emotions. I worked on empathy and vicarious emotions, in particular pain. I am currently working on the neurochemical and neurocognitive basis of primary and social reward.


PhD Student: Raise Kim Lui

raise@connect.hku.hkv 

 

 

Scientific Interests

My research focuses on play therapy, children with autism, and brain EEG activity. Currently I’m investigating the impact of child-centered play therapy on children with autism as reflected by brain EEG activity. I am also a registered psychologist in Hong Kong interested and specialized in child counseling and children with SEN.