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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 Professor Longo at Birkbeck, as well as the Laboratory of Action and Body of Professor Tsakiris, currently based at the Warburg Institute in the School of Advanced Study.

Dr Lara Maister