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Lara Maister, PhD


I completed an undergraduate degree in Natural Sciences, specializing in Experimental Psychology (BA First Class Hons., 2007), followed by a PhD (Experimental Psychology, 2011) at the University of Cambridge. During my PhD, I investigated episodic memory retrieval mechanisms in children with high-functioning ASD under the supervision of Dr. Kate Plaisted-Grant. In 2011, I began a postdoctoral research fellowship with Professor Manos Tsakiris in the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London, where I developed my current research focus on body representation and embodied social cognition. I joined the Department of Psychological Sciences at Birkbeck as a Lecturer in January 2017, where I am affiliated with the Body Representation Laboratory of Prof. Matt Longo.

Research Interests

During my post-doctoral research, I became fascinated with intersubjectivity and body representation, most recently in developing infants as well as adults. My current research is primarily focussed on the distinction and integration of self- and other-representations during social interactions. At the bodily level, I use body illusions to experimentally modulate the embodied experience of the self in relation to others, and investigate how this affects the way we process social information. In the opposite direction, I test how socially-relevant information, such as group membership, personal association or facial self-resemblance, can alter the way we 'share' the embodied experiences of others, such as in empathy for pain, motor mimicry, touch referral and emotional contagion. Another branch of my research focusses on interoception, our sensitivity to physical sensations from inside our bodies. I use a range of behavioural, physiological and neuroscientific measures in my research, including EEG, TMS, fMRI, cardiac measurement, psychophysics and reaction time measures. I am currently carrying out research both in the Body Representation Laboratory of Prof. Longo at Birkbeck, as well as the Laboratory of Action and Body of Prof. Tsakiris, currently based at the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Study.


I currently coordinate the Sensorimotor Processes and Attention module on the MSc/MA in Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuropsychology.


In Press
Maister, L., Hodossy, L. & Tsakiris, M. (in press). You fill my heart: Looking at one's partner increases interoceptive accuracy. Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice.

Maister, L., & Farmer, H. (2016). Attending to the bodily self. Cognitive Neuroscience, 7, 28-29.

Maister, L., & Tsakiris, M. (2016). Intimate imitation: Automatic motor imitation in romantic relationships. Cognition, 152, 108-113.

Payne, S., Tsakiris, M., & Maister, L. (2016). Can the self become another? Investigating the effects of self-association with a new face-identity. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1-13.

Maister, L., & Tsakiris, M. (2015). The plasticity of self-other boundaries. In M. H. Fischer & Y. Coello (Eds.), Conceptual and Interactive Embodiment: Foundations of Embodied Cognition (pp. 182-198). NY: Routledge.

Maister, L., Slater, M., Sanchez-Vives, M. V., & Tsakiris, M. (2015). Changing bodies changes minds: owning another body affects social cognition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 19(1) 6-12.

Maister, L., Cardini, F., Zamariola, G., Serino, A., & Tsakiris, M. (2015). Your place or mine: Shared sensory experiences elicit a remapping of peripersonal space. Neuropsychologia, 70, 455-461.

Ainley, V., Maister, L., & Tsakiris, M. (2015). Heartfelt empathy? No association between interoceptive awareness, questionnaire measures of empathy, reading the mind in the eyes task or the director task. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 554.

Maister, L., & Tsakiris, M. (2014). My face, my heart: Cultural differences in integrated bodily self-awareness. Cognitive Neuroscience, 5(1), 10-16.

Farmer, H., Maister, L., & Tsakiris, M. (2014) Change my body, change my mind: The effects of illusory ownership of an outgroup hand on implicit attitudes toward that outgroup. Frontiers in Psychology, 4(1016).

Maister, L., Simons, J. S., & Plaisted-Grant, K. (2013). Executive functions are employed to process episodic and relational memories in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Neuropsychology, 27(6), 615-627.

Ainley, V., Maister, L., Brokfeld, J., Farmer, H., & Tsakiris, M. (2013). More of myself: Manipulating interoceptive awareness by heightened attention to bodily and narrative aspects of the self. Consciousness and Cognition, 22(4), 1231-1238.

Maister, L., Sebanz, N., Knoblich, G., & Tsakiris, M. (2013). Experiencing ownership over a dark-skinned body reduces implicit racial bias. Cognition, 128(2), 170-178.

Maister, L., Banissy, M., & Tsakiris, M. (2013). Mirror-touch synaesthesia changes representations of self-identity. Neuropsychologia, 51(5), 802-808.

Maister, L., Tsiakkas, E., & Tsakiris, M. (2013). I feel your fear: Shared touch between faces facilitates recognition of fearful facial expressions. Emotion, 13(1), 7-13.

Maister, L., & Plaisted-Grant, K. (2011). Time perception and its relationship to memory in Autism Spectrum Conditions. Developmental Science, 14(6), 1311-1322.