Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering

Empathy Building Neuro-lab

Do you ever stop to take others' perspective? Doing so is particularly challenging when the target is a member of a different social group. In our lab we use multiple tools (neuroscience, social psychology, political psychology, virtual-reality, philosophy and arts) to investigate empathy and perspective-taking and to foster them.
spring22-ebn
During our 2022 Midsummer picnic on the bird tower in Otaniemi!
During our 2022 end of summer picnic on Suomenlinna island!

2022 End of summer picnic on Suomenlinna island! 

lab photo

During our virtual 2021 Midsummer celebration! 

Escape room - autumn 2021

Escape room - autumn 2021

Illustration by Yoni Levy; the “Virtual Reality” icon by Nikita Kozin is taken from thenounproject.com (CC attribution), and slightly modified.

Social brain. The figure on the right illustrates an example of the kind of work we do: (1) we create semi-realistic simulations of social situations (by virtual-reality, for example), and then (2) implement advanced neuroimaging in order to analyze and interpret the induced (& complex) brain patterns.
To have an initial idea of the neural mechanisms that we investigate, checkout a couple of our representative publications on the neuroscience of prejudice, intergroup empathy, and empathy development

neurophenomenology

Neurophenomenology. In the lab, we are much inspired by Francisco Varela who coined the term neurophenomenology: an ambitious proposal to bridge the gap between physiological features of the mind (i.e., neuro) and the subjective experience (i.e., phenomenology). In collaboration with the phenomenologist Dr. Oren Bader, we examine the way that neural mechanisms relate to subjective-experience in the social world. More information can be found in our theoretical framework on empathy [Levy J, Bader O (2020) - c.f. illustration on the right] as well as our recent empirical support [Zebarjadi et al., (2021)].

 

vr

VR. In the lab, we use study the impact of VR interventions. As part of a collaborative virtual-reality (VR) production which I (Yoni Levy) am happy to be part of, we created an intense (staged) encounter between Israeli soldiers & Palestinian passengers. 
To have the Palestinian perspective, press here
To have the Israeli perspective, press here
N.B., for an immersive look you will need VR headsets or cardboard etc.
Currently we study the impact of this VR intervention on neural, phenomenological and behavioral representations, and whether it can promote conflict reduction. 
 

Lab Director

 Jonathan (Yoni) Levy

Jonathan (Yoni) Levy

Academy Fellow (Aalto uni.) & Assistant Professor (Reichman Uni.)

Members

 Niloufar Zebarjadi

Niloufar Zebarjadi

Doctoral candidate (Aalto uni.) | empathy, neurodevelopment, intergroup relations
 Annika Kluge

Annika Kluge

Doctoral candidate (Aalto uni.) | humor, interventions, intergroup relations
 Eli Adler

Eli Adler

Doctoral candidate (The Hebrew uni. of Jerusalem & Aalto uni.) | interventions, intergroup relations, politics, media, empathy.
 Elise Turk (External member)

Elise Turk (External member)

Postdoctoral fellow (Tilburg uni.) | neurodevelopment, neural synchrony, hyperscanning
 Faraz Roshanizand

Faraz Roshanizand

Masters student (Uni. of Helsinki) | Neuro-education, intergroup relations, empathy

Jenni Vuorinen

Intern (Aalto uni.) | Neurophenomenology, Intergroup relations
 Tommi Arffman

Tommi Arffman

Intern (Aalto uni.)
 Yarden Marom

Yarden Marom

Research assistant (Bar-Ilan uni.)

Alumni

Mirja Inkinen

Masters student (Uni. of Helsinki) | phenomenology, intergroup relations, empathy
 Annika Hautala

Annika Hautala

Masters student (Aalto uni.) | Intergroup relations, empathy,covid19 attitudes

Iida Hakulinen

Intern
 Chen Zusman

Chen Zusman

Research assistant
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