Claus Lamm

Department of Cognition, Emotion and Methods in Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna 

Claus Lamm (CL) is Full Professor in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. He has spent several formative years abroad, including the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM, Unit 280, Bron), The University of Chicago, IL, USA, and the University of Zurich, Switzerland. Upon his acceptance of the position as tenured full Professor of Biological Psychology in 09/2010, he founded the Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit (SCAN-Unit). The SCAN-Unit, as of March 2020, hosts seven post-doctoral researchers, six Ph.D. students, two senior scientists, and several research assistants. Research at the SCAN-Unit aims to advance insights into the neural and psychological foundations of predominantly human social cognition and behavior. Triggered by collaborations within the ongoing DK "Cognition and Communication 2", Lamm together with faculty member Ludwig Huber recently also established the Comparative Canine Neuroimaging Unit, which focuses on comparing human and canine cognition and brain research. His research focuses on the neural underpinnings of social affect, cognition and behavior, which he explores using a wide range of methods. One of his research foci is how acute psychosocial stress influences (pro)social behavior, in which he is investigating and has already documented gender/sex- specific effects. He mainly works experimentally, and directs the neuroimaging center of the University of Vienna. Recently, he started to explore field-based research using ecological momentary assessments, to assess stress effects on social cognition in real life. CL also contributes his expertise as the Vice Dean for research, research infrastructure, and the advancement of young scientists. 

Claus Lamm is generally interested in the neural underpinnings of social cognition and behavior in humans and non-human animals. He uses a multi-level interdisciplinary approach conceptually grounded in social cognitive neuroscience and biological psychology, exploiting methods ranging from genetics through psychopharmacology and neuroimaging to behavioral experimental studies. The broad questions addressed are (i) which neural and cognitive mechanisms enable us to feel and to understand what other individuals are feeling and thinking, (ii) how does this affect social interaction and communication, and (iii) to what extent are these skills unique to humans. CL's research has mainly focused on humans, but he has recently also begun to address comparative research questions, investigating empathy and prosociality in multiple species, so far including canines, corvids, and monkeys (together with LH, TB, and FR). His main research focus are the neural underpinnings of empathy and their link to prosocial and moral behavior. He has made pioneering contributions in this domain, and pursues 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 behavioral and neuroimaging approaches to test empathy and its precursors.

For more information see the website.