Former Sylvius Lectures

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Claus Lamm University of Vienna, department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods University of Vienna



Date & Time: 9 May, 2019, 4.30pm
Location: Faculteit Sociale Wetenschappen, Pieter de la Court gebouw, Wassenaarseweg 52, SA41 


The aim of my talk is to review and integrate recent advances in our understanding of the multi-faceted construct of empathy. The first part of  the talk will focus on psychopharmacological neuroimaging investigations highlighting a prominent role of the opioid system in sharing the pain of others. It will propose that affect sharing is a key component of empathy, and that shared representations between self and other might be at the root of this. In the second part, however, I will stress that affect sharing needs to be complemented by mechanisms keep our own affective states distinct from those of the others. Using a series of experiments weaving together brain stimulation, neuroimaging, and healthy aging, I will demonstrate that the right supramarginal gyrus plays a crucial role in enabling this process.


Short Bio 


I am Full Professor of Biological Psychology, with a specialization in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, at the University of Vienna, Austria. 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.



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