Francisca Ayres Ribeiro

PhD Candidate


Research topic: Empathy in social networks

Francisca is a PhD Candidate at the Social Brain Lab, in the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, working in collaboration with the Faculty of Developmental Psychology in Leiden University (WP2). Her research interests lie at the intersection of affective empathy, self-other distinction/merging, social relationships, and social networks. Specifically, she is interested in the role of affective empathy in determining one’s position within a group or social environment, as well as its influence on the self-other merging experienced in close friendships or highly influential social groups. By combining behavioral data, neuroimaging (fMRI), and social network analysis using a longitudinal approach, the main goal of her research project is to understand the relationship between individual differences in affective empathy and social positioning, as well as the driving effects of self-other merging in social and group contexts.

Francisca completed a Master’s degree in Computer Engineering at the Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisboa, specializing in data analysis, complex networks and neuroimaging. Her academic background has fuelled her interest in combining multidimensional data and exploring complex methodologies to investigate the human mind and its neural underpinnings, particularly within social environments.

(co)promotors: Christian Keysers, Berna Güroglu, Valeria Gazzola, Simone Dobbelaar

Photo: Alexander Santos Lima