Computational Social Science

As a postdoc in Computational Social Science at the Complexity Science Hub and the Medical University of Vienna, I currently work on the following projects:

  • Assessing collective emotions and mental health during the COVID-19 outbreak using social media analyses. My talk at Digzoom on this project is online here.
  • Using machine learning for suicide prevention: Which features of news media reporting and social media content contribute to suicide prevention, and which have harmful effects on suicidal behavior?
  • Emotional Misinformation: How do emotions influence the spreading of misinformation? Could online interventions foster emotional awareness and reduce belief in and sharing of misinformation?

Open Science

I helped launch the Horizon 2020 project ON-MERRIT on Matthew effects in academia, industry and policy, coordinating the activities of several research institutions as the project manager. Together with the ON-MERRIT team, I investigated how the open science movement could be shaped so that the scientific system actually becomes more equitable and participatory.


Power Postures and Social Cognition (PhD)

During my PhD, I explored how body postures expressing social power influence face perception and social interaction. I applied experimental techniques from cognitive science, statistical models and image analyses methods, and analyzed eye and mouse tracking data as well as salivary hormone levels. The “replication crisis” in psychology sparked an intense discussion about the research my project was built on. Really caring about the quality of my own contributions to science, I therefore made my own research as rigorous and reproducible as possible, and became involved in the open science community.
You can have a look at my PhD thesis here: The influence of bodily actions on social cognition and behavior: Assessing effects of power postures


Social and Affective Neuroscience

I explored various topics and brain imaging techniques in Social and Affective Neuroscience in three lab rotations during the first year of the ENP Graduate Program, and during my Master thesis at the University of Vienna.

Sexual cognition
With Franck Ramus at École Normale Supérieure Paris, I investigated anatomical brain differences associated with the fraternal-birth-order-effect related to male homosexuality, and prepared seminars about the broader topic of “sexual cognition” and human sexuality.

Social perception: Facial emotion expressions and gaze direction
In the group of Nathalie George at the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris, I analyzed intracranial EEG data to examine the integration of gaze and emotional expression cues in the superior temporal sulcus, one of the core structures of the „social brain“. Finally, I explored the effect of power-related body postures on the recognition of threatening facial expressions in the team of Julie Grèzes (ENS Paris). I used a model-based approach to analyze how adopting expansive and contracted postures influences the recognition of angry and fearful faces depending on their gaze direction.

Gender differences in stress responses (Master)
For my Master thesis, I worked in a large research project at the SCAN-Unit, that investigated gender differences and menstrual cycle effects in the response to different types of stressors. We compared the effects of social and achievement stress on subjective emotional responses, the social hormones testosterone and progesterone, and on neural activity measured with fMRI.
My diploma thesis focused on Sex differences in neural and hormonal responses to achievement stress.