Originally from Germany, I have studied Psychology at the University of Vienna, Austria, with a visit at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. I moved to London for my PhD at the Centre for Brain and Cognitive Development (Birkbeck College). I am interested in human social cognition, how it changes with development, and which neural mechanisms drive this change. I am particularly interested in infancy, the period of life in which these changes are greatest and fastest.
In my project, I aim to identify which aspects of infants’ social environment are most important to help them build their social brain network. Specifically, I will investigate which characteristics of auditory and visual social stimuli elicit the strongest activation in the social brain network in 4-8 months old infants. By combining real-time neuroimaging data analysis (EEG, fNIRS, fMRI) with novel machine learning methods (Neuroadaptive Bayesian optimisation), we will be able to identify the individual’s preferred stimulus characteristics among thousands of possibilities based on his/her individual brain responses to a small subset of stimuli. The project will lay the path for designing early behavioural interventions for infants having an elevated likelihood of atypical social development.