meet our Lab Members

Lab Director

Prof. Simone Shamay-Tsoory, PI

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 Researchers

Dana Shamai-Leshem, postdoctoral FELLOW

My research focuses on interpersonal dynamics in depression. Do individuals struggling with depression synchronize with others as effectively as non-depressed individuals? How are they perceived by others during daily interactions? Do they evoke empathy in those around them? I believe that providing answers to these questions will pave the way for targeted interventions aimed to relieve depressive symptoms.

Haran Sened‏, postdoctoral FELLOW

Inter-Brain Synchrony in Psychotherapy

My research focuses on emotional dynamics in relationships, whether between romantic partners, therapists and patients, or friends. I'm currently working on a project examining the way therapists' and patients' brain activity is synchronized during psychotherapy, and the way this synchrony changes during treatment. Such changes might reflect changes in the therapeutic relationship and in the patients' condition.

Haran's Publications

Dalit Milshtein‏, postdoctoral FELLOW

Between cognition and theater

My research question is influenced by my dual training in cognitive psychology and practical theater (acting and directing). I am specifically interested in the relationship between social aspects of human behavior and the ability to generate, manipulate and maintain alternative states of affairs (GMMA). I plan to examine the effect of GMMA on interpersonal synchronization and the application of these interactions for actual behavior including regulation of emotions, shared emotional and mental experiences and understanding others.

Dalit's Publications

Oded Mayo, postdoctoral FELLOW

My current research projects focus on how we learn about each other during social interactions (e.g., What others feel and think? What are their traits?) and how this learning process is influenced by interbrain plasticity. Additionally, I explore the impact of social interaction on memory and its neural substrates, examining how sharing memories alters our autobiographical recollections. My work aims to enhance our comprehension of social dynamics, with potential applications spanning psychotherapy, psychopathology, and beyond.

Oded's Publications

PhD Students

alisa Kanterman‏, phd student

Loneliness and the social motivation for inclusion

My research aims to examine whether individuals who suffer from loneliness make active attempts to be included in daily social interactions, and whether these attempts lead to positive social and affective outcomes. Revealing the neural mechanisms (fMRI, Oxytocin administration) underlying such motivation for inclusion may shed light on perceptual, motivational and behavioral processes that possibly contribute to loneliness sustainment and/or could serve as new targets for intervention.  

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.

Elena Kozakevich, phd student

Adaptive Empathy: A Neuro-Computational Approach to Feedback Based Learning of Empathic Responses 

My thesis focuses on the social learning process taking place in human interactions, specifically, in the context of emotion regulation and empathy, and its effect on the future decisions to act. I'm interested in underlying computational mechanisms of the decision-making process in empathy, in collaboration with Dr. Uri Hertz.

Hadas nathan gamliel, PHD student

Interpersonal Synchrony and Group membership

My research focuses on understanding interpersonal synchrony in dyads of different groups. Specifically, 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. 

Keren Gorst, PHD student

My research focuses on understanding the neurochemical system during psychotherapy. Specifically I’m interested in studying the change of oxytocin levels during psychotherapeutic processes, in regards to brain synchronization (fNIRS). Currently I'm focusing on MDD patients. In the future, I strive to expand the study to healthy people as well.

yarden avnor, PHD student

Since I have always wanted to conduct research on human interactions in real-life settings, I decided to take our lab’s research tools (fNIRS) out of the lab and into the real world! I study human brain activity during authentic interpersonal interactions. How do our brains synchronize with one another when we are interacting? Can brain-to-brain synchrony predict empathy? In addition, I aim to work with the PTSD population to further understand their empathic abilities and brain synchronization. 

aial SobEh, PHD student

I investigate how the dynamics and structure of brain networks at the individual level relate to the dynamics and structure of social networks at the collective level. Additionally I have a keen interest in studying how brains interact during social interactions and how those interactions relate to collective cognition and performance.

Omer katz, PHD student

The effect of synchronization training on social behavior in autism spectrum conditions

Building on evidence showing that interpersonal synchrony enhances pro-social behavior and improves social cognition, my research examine a new intervention, based on movement synchronization training. In a set of experiments, I probe the neural underpinnings of dyadic synchrony (fNIRS) and examine the benefits of using training as an intervention for individuals with autism. The finding of the study will allow to develop a new theory on how synchrony contributes to social behavior.

Adi Marinberg, PHD student

My aim is to better understand brain connectivity, with an emphasis of inter-brain connectivity and interactions (inter-brain plasticity). How do we benefit from interpersonal relations; what happens to our brains and bodies when we synchronize; and what behaviors benefit from it? In my present study, I wish to broaden the understanding of brain connectivity during interaction-based learning, while seeking the influence of better brain connections on behavior and learning.

Mario Francis, PHD student

Regulating inter-brain synchrony with dyadic neurofeedback

I am interested in Neurofeedback and its potential in the clinical field, with special emphasis on its implication in empathy treatments and training. To achieve that, I am currently working on Neurofeedback-Synchrony project that aims to develop an empathy training method, by taking advantage of the association between inter-brain synchrony and empathy while using EEG and fNIRS hyperscanning based Neurofeedback.

Noa BrandE-eilat, PHD student

My research is centered on developing and validating a novel Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) dyadic neurofeedback platform. This non-invasive, compact brain-imaging technique, based on blood oxygenation measures, aims to train participants with autism to enhance their brain-to-brain coupling. We hypothesize that this enhancement will improve their social interaction-based learning. The efficacy of this platform will be assessed through a rigorous randomized controlled trial involving participants with autism.

Moran Knafo, PHD student

m.a. students

Ayelet avnY, m.a. student

My research focuses on inter-brain synchrony between therapists and their patients during psychotherapy sessions. More specifically, I aim to explore whether inter-brain synchrony is an underlying mechanism for therapists’ empathy toward their patients, focusing on patients with depression. I believe that revealing the role of inter-brain synchrony in the therapeutic process could lay the ground for novel psychotherapeutic interventions, and deepen understanding of the neural and social mechanisms underpinning MDD.

Tamar radai, m.a. student

My work involves exploring the underlying mechanisms of interpersonal relationships in individuals experiencing high levels of loneliness. Specifically, I concentrate on comprehending the neuropsychological and chemical aspects that contribute to loneliness and major depressive disorder in fostering interpersonal connections. My research places particular emphasis on the dynamics of marital and therapeutic relationships, as well as interpersonal synchronization abilities.

Shelly Weinblatt, m.a. student

Synchrony in Romantic Couples During Conflict and Conflict Resolution

My study aims to understand how different levels of synchronized brain activity between romantic couples, could possibly be connected or predict different relationship parameters such as relationship satisfaction, feelings of closeness and conflict resolution styles. Is it a good thing to be in synchrony with your partner during conflicts, or maybe not?

Yael Molcho Fisher, m.a. student

My research focuses on interbrain synchronization during personal narrative storytelling. By exploring the interplay between social interaction, emotional arousal, and implicit episodic memory, I aim to uncover whether interbrain synchrony can predict what memories are retained and which ones fade away. 

Lab research fellow & data analyst

andrey, PHD

Lab alumni

Shir galimidi, m.a. student

Maternal sensitivity and familial synchronization

My research focuses on understanding how does maternal sensitivity affects the familial synchronization among family triads in which the child is diagnosed with ASD. The project examined triads in several tasks that record synchronization through motor synchronization tasks and maternal sensitivity by free-play interaction.

dana zoabi, m.a. student

My research aims to understand the effects of COVID-19 on observed social touch.  

My study is based on previous works, which examined the electrophysiological and behavioral correlation of the observed social touch prior to COVID-19. Jointly supervised with Dr. Leehe Peled-Avron.

nira saporta, PhD

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. 

livnat leemor, PhD

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.

Guy Nahardiya, m.a.

My research aims to understand the difference between observational learning and interaction-based learning and their influnce on brain-to-brain coupling (EEG, Qualisys Track Manager) in teacher-learner dyads, while testing the contribution of biological sex and heoterosexual attraction on learning. In my study, I wish to broaden our understaning of inter-brain connections (inter-brain plasticity), and this mechanism's influnce on daily situations and actions.

orit nafcha, PhD

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. 

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 FELLOW

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.

hadar nahmani, m.a.

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. 

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.

Daniela Cohen, PhD

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. 

tal ivancosky, PhD

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. 

chen oren, PhD

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

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.

Noya Kadosh, M.A.

Inter-Brain Plasticity

I study the effect of repeated social interactions between two partners on changes in brain-to-brain coupling (using fNIRS), and whether such repeated interactions may lead to strengthening of inter-brain connections. This inter-brain plasticity may explain the enhanced alignment and synchronization between two partners following repeated interactions.    


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.

Hila Gvirts, 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, PHD

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 Publications

rotem bennet, postdoctoral FELLOW

Multi-Brain Cognition, Motor Interactions & Neural Predictive Loops 

My research interest is on modeling human cognition as a prediction & control loop, internal (mental, simulated) or external (motor, social), using multi-brain imaging and full-body motion-capture. I'm also interested and involved in collaborative development of novel experimental setups and data analysis techniques. I've completed my PhD at the Technion, studying Embodied-Cognition in Virtual-Reality, following an academic background in Computer-science and Psychology.

Rotem's Publications

tasnim khatib, m.a.

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.

Fine Stuhr-Wulff, m.a. student

Real-time analysis of hyperscanning fNIRS data

My research focuses on the analysis of fNIRS data and the measurements of inter-brain synchrony. In addition to various analytical measurement techniques, I am exploring the potential of real-time analysis, which finds its application in a dyadic neurofeedback system based on fNIRS hyperscanning.

hadas pick‏, postdoctoral FELLOW

The Cortical mechanisms underlying group creativity

I'm interested in revealing the neural mechanisms underlying social creativity. More specifically, understanding cognitive performance in heterogeneous as opposed to homogeneous group settings via in-group versus out-group interpersonal brain synchronization. I've completed my PhD at Bar Ilan university, exploring the cognitive and neural basis of creativity.  

Hadas' Publications

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. 

nardine fahoum, PhD student

A neural model of the contribution of group creativity to conflict resolution

My study aims  to examine the effects of creativity training on conflict escalation and explore the neural underlying mechanisms of these effects. Especially, I study the existence of conflict contagion in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the effect of short group creativity training intervention on this conflict contagion.  Finally, I will test Inter-Brain synchrony in herding related networks during the joint creativity training using fNIRS.