Team of the SCAN-Unit

Head

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Claus Lamm

I am Full Professor of Biological Psychology, with a specialization in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. I have spent several formative years abroad, and founded the SCAN-Unit when I moved back to Vienna in 2010. Apart from advancing our insights into the neural and psychological foundations of social cognition and behavior, my goal is to establish a thriving interdisciplinary research environment that will foster innovative and cutting-edge research in the domain of Social Cognitive Neuroscience. I have thus engaged in a number of initiatives, such as the establishment of a research-dedicated MRI Centre, the Cognitive Science Research Platform, as well as a Multimodal Neuroimaging cluster. 

My scientific interests focus on the neural underpinnings of empathy and prosocial behavior. I have made pioneering contributions in this domain, and never get bored in pursuing ever-more complex research approaches to unravel these multifaceted phenomena. This includes recent multi-modal investigations combining neuroimaging with psychopharmacology and psychoneuroendocrinology, as well as comparative approaches to test empathy and its precursors in ravens and dogs.

Email: claus.lamm@univie.ac.at


Scientific Staff

Jessie Adriaense, MSc - PhD student

For my PhD in Psychology I focus on empathy from an interdisciplinary perspective with as main research question “How and why empathy occurs”. For this I work with both humans (SCAN-Unit) and animals (Cognitive Biology department, Life Sciences faculty – supervised by prof. Thomas Bugnyar). In humans I study empathy for pain and its neural underpinnings by means of self-report and EEG. In animals (common ravens and common marmosets) I study positive and negative emotional contagion by means of behavior and cognition. My PhD work is funded by the Cognitive Science Research Platform.

Email: jessie.adriaense@univie.ac.at

 

 

Magdalena Boch, MSc - PhD student

 

For my interdisciplinary PhD project I am interested in the evolutionary roots of the social brain by comparing the neural underpinnings of social skills in dogs and humans. To address my research aims I am using fMRI with fully awake and unrestrained dogs (and humans), eye tracking and behavioral measurements. I am especially interested in the potentially similar neuro-cognitive functions during tasks such as empathy, imitation, emotional contagion and perspective taking. My project is funded by the Doctoral Program Cognition and Communication.

Email: magdalena.boch@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

 

 

Helena Hartmann, MSc - PhD student

 

My PhD research is based on investigating the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying shared representations, empathy for pain and its modulation through placebos. Specifically, I aim for a deeper understanding of these processes by combining functional magnetic resonance imaging, psychopharmacology and behavioral measures. My PhD project at the SCAN-Unit is funded by a three-year Uni:docs fellowship

Email: helena.hartmann@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

Mag. Lukas Lengersdorff - PhD student

 

My PhD project is focusing on the relationships between empathy, prosocial behavior and aggression, and how these processes are modulated by factors such as ingroup/outgroup biases and exposure to media. To also understand the neural bases of these phenomena, I am conducting experiments using EEG, fMRI and psychophysiological messures. Moreover, I am the lab manager of the Neuroimaging Center of the University of Vienna.

Email: lukas.lengersdorff@univie.ac.at

 

 

 

Mag. Alexa Müllner-Huber, PhD PhD - Post doc

I am interested in the neural and psychological mechanisms underlying pain, empathy and hypnosis, and the relationships between these three types of experiences. My current project aims to implement hypnosis as a tool to study the neural mechanisms of empathy for pain. I am funded by a grant from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research.

Email: alexa.huber@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

Dr. Igor Riecanský, PhD - Post doc

My current research focuses on the sensorimotor processes and their role in social cognition. I am deeply interested in how differences at the level of brain physiology translate into differences in mental functions and behavior in both normal and pathological conditions.

Email: igor.riecansky@univie.ac.at

 

 

Dr. Federica Riva - Post doc

My current research is focused on the age-related changes of the neural mechanisms underlying socio-cognitive and socio-affective processes. I am specifically interested in how the neural foundations of  empathy, affective touch, and interoception develop from adolescence to older age. My research approach combines functional magnetic resonance imaging with behavioral and physiological measures. I am funded by the FWF project "Emotional Egocentricity Bias across the lifespan".

Email: federica.riva@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

 

 

Dr. Markus Rütgen - Post doc

In my experimental research, I focus on the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition, with a thematic priority on empathy and prosocial behavior. By applying a variety of different methods, such as functional magnetic resonance tomography, electroencephalography or psychopharmacological manipulations, I try to shed light on these phenomena from various different perspectives. I am partially funded by a grant from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research

Email: markus.ruetgen@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

 

 

Dr. Isabella Wagner - Post doc

 

I am interested in memory formation and retrieval, and how memory representations might influence social cognition. In my research, I am using fMRI in combination with multivariate decoding techniques and brain connectivity measures, as well as psycho-/pharmacological manipulations.

Email: isabella.wagner@univie.ac.at

link to Google Scholar profile

Maga. Anna Wucherer - PhD student

My research aims to understand how social interaction, in my case being imitated by another person, modulates empathic responses. Specifically, I am interested in the psychological and neural mechanisms that underpin the effects of being imitated on empathic responses. Moreover, I am investigating how personality traits, in particular psychopathic personality traits, modulate empathic responses and the effects of being imitated on empathy. My PhD project at the SCAN-Unit is funded by a three-year Uni:docs fellowship.

Email: anna.wucherer@univie.ac.at

 

 

 

Yili Zhao, MSc - PhD student

I study the role of emotion identification in empathy and affect sharing, and how the opioidergic system modulates these processes. To address these questions, I will fMRI and pharmacological manipulations to understand the brain networks and neurochemical mechanism of these phenomena. My PhD position is funded by a scholarship of the China Scholarship Council (CSC).

Email: yilixiaoyutou@foxmail.com

 

 

 


Administration

Maga. Sigrid Hager

I assist the scientific staff in all administrative inquiries, help administrating the departments staff and budget and I am also involved in externally funded projects. Furthermore I am the contact person for all students, researchers and colleagues from the University of Vienna, as well as external.

Email: sigrid.hager@univie.ac.at

 

 


Technical support

Dr. Andreas Gartus

 

Email: andreas.gartus@univie.ac.at

Mahmoud Trabelsi

 

Email: mahmoud.trabelsi@univie.ac.at


Student Research Assistants

Lisa Doppelhofer, BSc

Morris Krainz

Marleen Schönfeld, BSc

Felicia Wittmann


Tel: +43 1 4277 47134

Mail: studmit.scan@univie.ac.at


Alumni