Why do some people flourish in social environments and benefit from social interactions, while others get socially isolated and lonely? How do social connections or the lack thereof influence our brain and shape our visual, tactile and olfactory perception? While it is well established that social isolation and loneliness have devastating consequences for physical and psychological well-being, the neural and hormonal mechanisms underlying these effects are still unclear.
In the newly established Department of Social Neuroscience at the Ruhr-University Bochum we use psychophysiological measurements, neuroimaging and noninvasive brain stimulation to get a better understanding of determinants and consequences of social connection. We are particularly interested how interindividual differences such as sex and early life experiences modulate the neurobiological substrates of social connections.