I am a Psychologist currently obtaining my PhD at the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit in Vienna, Austria, investigating why and how we understand and share the suffering of other individuals around us.
PhD in Social Neuroscience, ongoing
University of Vienna, Austria
MSc in Psychology, 2017
University of Vienna, Austria
BSc in Psychology, 2014
University of Vienna, Austria
Center of Open Science
German Psychological Society, Section Biopsychology and Neuropsychology
SPM, FreeSurfer & Nipype
Behavioral experiments, Digitimer DS5, Vernier hand dynamometer, ECG & SCR
RStudio, JASP, Matlab, Python/Jupyter
My research focuses on the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying shared representations between first-hand and empathy for pain, specializing on a manipulation of first-hand pain through placebo analgesia. Generally, I aim for a deeper understanding of these processes by combining fMRI, physiology (ECG, SCR) and behavioral experiments.
Below is a short animation of my PhD research made by Scientistt.
In this project I am interested in what is actually shared when we see others in pain and what role sensory-discriminative pain processing plays in this regard.
This project investigates the transfer of placebo analgesia to effort-based prosocial decision-making in the domain of pain avoidance.
In this project I am working together with the Social Brain Lab from the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam to further investigate how empathy and prosocial decision-making are related and represented in the brain.
I further investigate the effect of placebo analgesia on interoceptive abilities, psychological differences between placebo responders and non-responders as well as self-other distinction and emotional egocentricity in autism.
Below is a short talk about the effects of placebo analgesia on interoceptive abilities that I gave as part of the symposium “From heart to brain and back: novel findings and methodological challenges in interoception research” organized by Federica Riva and myself at the 63rd Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP).
I was part of the feminist dream team that gave the collaborative talk “Navigating open science as early career feminist researchers” at the RIOT Science Club’s “Open Research: A Vision for the Future” conference in March 2021:
Here I explained my research on empathy for pain and prosocial behavior in German at a science communication format called Kaffeeklatsch mit Wissenschaft hosted by the amazing Franziska Sattler in February 2021:
This is a talk I gave at the online lecture series OnNeuro about parts of my PhD on the role of the somatosensory component of pain processing in empathy in November 2020:
Guest Lecture on “Science for Everyone! Science Communication for Beginners” - Slides (University of Vienna, 2020).
Guest Lectures on “Doing Good/Open Science” (University of Vienna, 2019 & 2020):
Picture-based empathy for pain task from Hartmann et al. (2021 Bioarxiv)
Cue-based empathy for pain task from Hartmann et al. (2021 NeuroImage)
Personal space task in autism spectrum disorder from Massaccesi et al. (2020 CerCor)
I work as a psychologist and researcher for MyMind, a startup company in Vienna. They are developing Brain Hero, a Neurofeedback game to improve concentration levels and relaxation capabilities in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I was part of a Children’s University workshop at the University of Vienna, where we taught children about the brain, perspective taking and empathy (Podcast in German).
I talked to Lee Delaney from Curiosity Cake about my PhD, specifically what kinds of methods I employ to measure empathy for pain in brain and behavior.
I chatted with Aaron Halliday about my research on empathy, prosocial behavior and interoception, but also about making science relevant and accessible to everyone.
DiscoverPhDs asked me about my PhD research, what a typical work day looks like for me and what enjoyments and challenges my PhD entails. Have a look at the full interview.
1 Million Women in STEM (1MWIS), a global network providing the stories of women studying & working in STEM, asked me what I do, why I chose this field of research, what I would tell my younger self and why I love working in STEM. Have a look at my answers.
Feminist Alliance Book Club (FemABC), founded in December 2020, is a monthly book club to read and discuss books centred around feminism and underrepresented genders. Everybody is welcome to join! For more infomation, have a look at our Twitter or Instagram pages. If you have questions or want to become a member, write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am an ambassador for this exciting new research platform! Here are some of the cool things you can benefit from, if you sign up: Showcase your research skills and experience, find new research and job opportunities, get information about funding and conferences in your field, and connect with other researchers all around the world. And the best thing: Everything is completely free! Check out Scientistt on Twitter or have a look at their website. You can also sign up directly here.
Pint of Science (PoS) brings scientists to share their latest research with you! I was part of 2020’s “Beautiful Mind” event manager team to organize three exciting evenings all about neuroscience that were unfortunately cancelled due to COVID. In 2021, I am also active for PoS Amsterdam, organizing online events. More info on the Website.
Together with my PhD colleagues, I organized a booth all about research in psychology and social neuroscience in 2018. Have you ever experienced the rubberhand illusion? How do we investigate something called affective touch? Can we put awake dogs into an MR-scanner? And can you match all brains to their corresponding species? More info on their website.
For German-speaking participants over 18 years: