Lab Members

Lab Director:

Prof. Simone Shamay-Tsoory

My research focuses on the neural basis of emotions and social behavior: How do we understand emotions? what are the neural underpinnings of empathy, social communication and interpersonal synchronization?

We also study: The role of Oxytocin in social behavior | The neural underpinnings of social comparison and jealousy | The neural underpinnings of social touch | Chemical social communication using odor.

Postdoctoral Researcher:

Hila Gvirts, a postdocTORAL fellow

The neural basis of synchrony and herding

I'm interested in studying the neural correlates of Herding and Synchrony utilizing brain stimulating techniques. I am also interested in finding ways to increase moments of "togetherness" (in which perfromance of individuals merges into a synchronized whole) by means of neuroscience. I've completed my PhD at The Tel-Aviv university, studying cognitive and affective component of Borderliene Personality Disorder

Hila's Publications

Leehe Peled-Avron, postdoctoral member

The neural underpinnings of social touch

I'm interested in the electrophysiological and endocrinological correlates of observed social touch. I present participants with social touch situations and measure their early (P1, N1) and late (LPP) event related responses (ERP). I also research the involvement of the oxytocinergic system in the emotional processing of social touch.

Leehe's Publicaitions

Graduate Students:

Daniela Cohen, PhD student

A neural model of intimacy between friends

I study the neural basis for intimacy among best friends. By the use of Oxytocin and imaging I intend to build a biological model for intimacy by considering the neurochemical systems and anatomical areas.

nira saporta, PhD student

The neural underpinnings of Loneliness

I am interested in loneliness. Using a combination of behavioral and neural research methods I study some of the social mechanisms that can help explain how people become and stay lonely. I completed my B.Sc. studies in Biology and Psychology and my M.A. studies in Child Clinical Psychology in Tel Aviv University.

tal ivancosky, PhD student

The neural basis of cross cultural differences in creativity

I study the differences between East and West in the creative process, from a neurocognitive perspective. The aim of my research is to explore the different expressions of creativity in each culture and to better understand the processes behind it.

livnat leemor, PhD student

Neural underpinnings of vicarious victory and defeat

In my research I use both behavioral measurements and fMRI to study the neural basis of empathic experience to positive and negative emotional experiences, especially in situations of victory and defeat. Moreover, I test the role of body gestures in mediating these experiences.


Is Self-Enhancement a Universal Motivation?

The purpose of my research is to help solve the debate regarding the universality of the self-enhancement motivation. I study this topic through both behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) cross-cultural paradigms. The aim of the research is to conclude whether self-enhancement is a universal motivation, shared by all humans alike throughout cultures and times, or strictly a Western phenomenon.

chen oren, PhD student

Chemosignals of Fertility in Women: What are they and how do they affect us?

I'm interested in examining how women's body odor at different levels of fertility affects certain behaviors among men, that is, how women's body odor at different stages of the menstrual cycle affects men's preferred inter-personal distance and risk taking. Furthermore I would like to investigate how these behavioral changes are reflected within the brain, at areas associated with the mentioned aspects of approach behavior.

amir banner, PhD student

Chemosignaling of dominance and its effect on social judgment and attention

My research topic lies within the field of human social chemosignaling. Specifically, I'm interested in the involvement of a putative pheromone in conveying dominance to healthy and socially anxious individuals.

inbar z. marton, PhD student

The Neural Correlates of Group Synchrony in Autism Spectrum Disorder

I study social interactions within groups of both healthy and autistic population. I use behavioral and neural measures of synchronization to explore differences between individuals in the ability to sync with a group of peers.

orit nafcha, PhD student

Social influences on attention

In my PhD study I aim to investigate the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying social influences on attention, specifically, the social IOR effect. In addition I am exploring the evolutionary origin of social influences on reflexive attention and the evolutionary origin of social interaction and valence processing. In order to do so I am using the archer fish that have an optic tectum but lack fully developed cortical structures. Jointly supervised with Dr. Shai Gabay.

dovrat atias, PhD student

Does Interpersonal synchrony regulate our emotions? Neural and behavioral research

My research focuses on understanding the relations between interpersonal synchrony and emotions regulation. Moreover, I also explore this association among autism spectrum disorder (ASD) population. I examine this topic through both behavioral and neural synchrony (fNIRS) paradigms.

nardine fahoum, PhD student

Neural and computational modeling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

My study aims to reveal the psychological and neural mechanisms underlying the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Especially, I study the differential processing of empathy, mental state reasoning, and reward related to in-group and out-group members and how it predicts an individual’s altruistic behavior toward in-group and punishing behavior toward out-group members. Furthermore, I am interested in examining the Computational Model that underlies the conflict Escalation mechanism. Finally, I will investigate the functional role of oxytocin in the regulation of all of the above.

hadar nahmani, m.a. student

Sensual Empathy: Role of Somatosensory Cortex in Empathy for Pain

I'm interested in simulation mechanisms in empathy for pain. In my research, I use tDCS techniques to selectively enhance activity in somatosensory cortex in order to understand the possible contribution of somatic resonance to different aspects of empathic response.

Hadas nathan gamliel, m.a. student

Interpersonal synchrony and group membership

My research focuses on understanding interpersonal synchrony in dyads of different groups. Speciffically I’m interested in studying synchrony in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I compare the level of behavioral and interbrain synchrony (with fNIRS) of dyads of participants from same vs. different groups and examine whether synchronized movement of mixed dyads may change the political attitudes towards outgroup members.

tasnim khatib, m.a. student

I'm interested in studying the mechanism underlying the effects of oxytocin on social behavior. Specifically, I focus on olfactory pathways and examine their role mediating the effects of oxytocin.

Lab alumni:

pavel goldstein, phd

Inter-brain synchrony in the context of romantic intimacy

My research focuses on investigating social interactions using biological and behavioral tools associating social, cognitive and computational neuroscience, social psychology, physiotherapy, and statistical methodology. During my Ph.D. I acquired experience in novel neuroimaging techniques such as hyperscanning which I apply to study the role of social touch and pain in physiological and neural synchronization dynamics and to test the relationship between synchronization and pain analgesia. I also investigate interpersonal physiological and movement synchronization during mutual movement and mindfulness process effects.

Pavel's Publications

anat perry, postdoctoral researcher

I study social interactions in healthy and clinical populations, using a multidisciplinary approach that includes behavioral studies, EEG and fMRI. I've completed my PhD at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studying the motor system's contribution to our understanding of others, specifically focusing on EEG mu suppression. My current work focuses on the behavioral and neural correlates of preferred interpersonal distance in healthy and clinical populations.

Anat's Publications

naama mayseless, phd

The Neural Correlates of Creativity and Originality

I'm interested in studying the Neural Correlates of Creativity and Originality utilizing neuroimaging techniques such as fMRI and brain stimulating techniques such as rTMS and tDCs, as well as lesion cases and genetic research. In addition to looking at the neural correlates of creativity, I am interested in viewing ways to enhance creativity by means of neuroscience.

Naama's Publications

oded kleinmintz, phd

The Neural Basis of Creative Thinking and Originality among Musicians

In my research I use fMRI and TMS in order to answer questions about the relationship between creativity, the evaluation of creative ideas and expertise. I test both musicians and non-musicians during musical and non-musical tasks of divergent thinking. In addition I use a twofold model of idea generation and idea evaluation to explain cross-cultural differences in creative behavior and neural activation.

Oded's Publications

nufar perach barzilay, phd

The biological basis of aggression

Aggressive behavior is aimed at causing damage or pain to another individual. Aggression is traditionally divided into two distinct forms: reactive aggression, a response to a perceived provocation; and proactive aggression, an aggressive act with goal-oriented purposes. The overall objective of my research is to explore the neurobiological and genetic basis of aggression, combining psychological, biological and genetic strategies.

noga adler, phd

The neural correlates of empathic embarrassment

I plan to examine the experience of social emotions such as embarrassment in the normal population as well as in the autistic spectrum conditions. Additionally, my research attempts to explore the neural correlates of empathic embarrassment.

Noga's Publications

sharon palgi, phd

Study of the emphatic abilities and autobiographical memories in patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the effect of intranasal oxytocin on their emphatic abilities.

I'm interested in studying social, effective and empathic impairment in people who suffered from psychiatric disorders, and especially PTSD. More specifically, I'm studying the effect of the hormone oxytocin on empathic abilities, both in PTSD patients and healthy people.

amit geva, m.a.

Frontal mechanisms mediate Emotion Regulation choice

I'm very interested in the way people choose to regulate their emotions. Specifically, i'm interested in the role of the Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex (DLPFC) in the Emotion Regulation Choice process. In my research i'm using TMS induced inhibition on the DLPFC and examine how this inhibition affects the choice of emotion regulation strategies.

shahar yellinek, m.a.

The electro-physiological mechanisms of consolation

I'm interested in studying the mechanisms of consolation, a pro-social behavior that involves touch and thought to have analgesic effects. i will use behavioral and electro-physiological measures, specifically focusing on EEG mu suppression.

adi kilim, m.a.

I'm interested in the neural basis of consolation. Using hyperscanning fMRI approach I'm planning to examine the interaction between consoling (or empathic) touch and reducing physical pain.

hila sharon, m.a.

The overarching purpose of my research is to examine whether human sweat contains chemosignals of social dominance. Applying behavioral as well as physiological methods, I intend to explore the relationship between body postures associated with victory and chemical communication of social dominance.

Elena Kozakevich, phd student

I am interested in examining empathy as a dynamic interaction. My research focuses on the learning process of an ability to imagine and understand the reaction of others, and its effect on the future decisions to act.

THE SOCIAL AND AFFECTIVE NEUROSCIENCE LAB, Prof. Simone Shamay-Tsoory | University of Haifa, Mount Carmel, Haifa, 31905