Claus Lamm

Claus Lamm (CL), Faculty of Psychology, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, University of Vienna 

received his Master in Psychology (1997) and Doctor in Psychology (2001) both at the University of Vienna, Austria. As post-doctoral researcher he worked 2004-2005  at the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Unit 280 for Mental Processes and Brain Activation at Bron, France, from 2006-2008 as research associate at the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory, Dep. of Psychology, University of Chicago, USA  and from 2008-2010 as assistant Professor at the Laboratory for Social and Neural Systems Research, University of Zurich, Switzerland. In 2010 he became full Professor and head of the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna and he is currently holding the position of the vice-dean of the faculty.

CL is interested in the neural underpinnings of social cognition and behaviour 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 focussed on humans, but he has recently also begun to address comparative research questions, investigating empathy and prosociality in dogs and in ravens (together with LH and TB). His main foci are the neural underpinnings of empathy and their link to prosocial and moral behavior. Recent studies incorporate psychopharmacological and neuroendocrinological approaches (including opioids, oxytocin and cortisol) to derive a more causal and mechanistic understanding of social emotions and behaviors. For more information see the website.