Social and Affective Neuroscience

Department of Neurology

Group Members

Silke Anders (Group leader)
Benjamin Sack (Postdoc)

Research Interests

Social relations are the building bricks of human societies. Yet, the neurobiological processes that shape, and are shaped by, social relations are not well understood. In this group, we share a common interest in the neural bases of human social relations. Questions we ask include (but are not limited to)

  • How is neural information transmitted between brains?
  • Is the flow of neural information facilitated between brains that have a similar functional architecture?
  • Does the functional architecture of our brains determine the social relations we have?

As part of two of the collaborative research initiatives at the CBBM (SFB-TR 134 and SFB-TR 654) we focus on the interaction between human social relations, brain function, behavior and neural plasticity.  We believe that investigating the human brain from a relational perspective requires a combination of methods from many different disciplines including cognitive neuroscience, computational neuroscience, mathematics, social psychology, sociology and sociobiology. Thus, despite our common research interest, people in this group have very diverse educational backgrounds.


  • John-Dylan Haynes, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Charité Berlin, Germany
  • Thomas Ethofer, Department of Biomedical Magnetic Resonance and Department of Psychiatry, University of Tübingen, Germany
  • Georg Jahn,  Institute of Psychology, Technische Universität Chemnitz, Germany


  1. Anders S, Heussen Y, Sprenger A, Haynes J-D, Ethofer T (2015) Social gating of sensory information during ongoing communication. Neuroimage 104:189–98.
  2. Klement S, Anders S, Martinetz T (2013) The Support Feature Machine: Classification with the Least Number of Features and Application to Neuroimaging Data. Neural Comput 25(6):1548–1584.
  3. Anders S, et al. (2012) Compensatory premotor activity during affective face processing in subclinical carriers of a single mutant Parkin allele. Brain 135(Pt 4):1128–40.
  4. Anders S, Heinzle J, Weiskopf N, Ethofer T, Haynes J (2011) Flow of affective information between communicating brains. Neuroimage 54(1):439–46.
  5. Anders S, et al. (2004) Parietal somatosensory association cortex mediates affective blindsight. Nat Neurosci 7(4):339–340.