Feeling yourself and others 

Understanding social communication and interoception by studying affective touch.

In my current project I investigate how humans use and process affective touch. Touch provides the earliest form of communication between newborns and their environment and contributes to the development of the sense of self and one’s own body.

The neural processing of social touch is a novel research area with many basic questions still open. In order to understand how social touch can affect social cognition, emotion and behavior, we need to understand, what exactly makes touch signals specifically social. Considering its importance in social communication, cognition and behavior, studying social touch in psychiatric populations is of high interest.

Impairments in social cognition in Autism Spectrum Disease (ASD) are well described and it has been proposed that they might be rooted in deficits in social motivation. Furthermore, social and emotional impairments in ASD patients could be related to altered interoception.

We use functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain, physiological and behavioral measures to understand how affective touch is processed in the healthy population as well as in psychiatric patients.

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About me
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  • 2015 PhD at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Charité Berlin
  • 2010 Master of Science in Neural and Behavioral Sciences, International Max-Planck-Research School, Tübingen
  • 2008 Bachelor of Science in Biology, Ruprecht-Karls-University, Heidelberg

Awards and Scholarships

  • 2016 Linköping University Postdoctoral Scholarship
  • 2015 Fazit Foundation Scholarship
  • 2013 For Women in Science Award, German UNESCO-commission & L’Oréal Germany
  • 2013 Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard-foundation Scholarship
  • 2011 PhD Scholarship from German Research Foundation

Related Research
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