Dr. Pascal VRTICKA (PhD)

Group Leader
Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

Department of Social Neuroscience
Stephanstraße 1A
04103 Leipzig

Institute Website:            institute-logo

Email:                               Email-Me-256





July 07, 2018:
I was invited as a keynote speaker to the conference “The Future of Neuroscience, Attachment and Mentalizing: from research to clinical practice” to be held on May 18 and 19, 2019, at University College London. This conference will be one of the first conferences to explicitly focus on the application of neuroscience and neurobiology to clinical issues. Another aim of the conference is further exchange between practitioners and leading experts in affective neuroscience. More information is available here

June 20, 2018:
I was invited as a conference speaker to the seventh “Visions in Science” annual interdisciplinary scientific event organized by members of the Max Planck PhDnet, the communication network for PhD Students of the Max Planck Society. The conference – held in Berlin from October 5-7, 2018 – is open to all junior scientists of the Max Planck Society, as well as of other university and non-university institutions. This years’ topic is “Science & Society“, and I will be talking about “Social Neuroscience” and how this field of research is shaping society in direct and indirect ways. More information is available here.

June 11, 2018:
A Conference Poster entitled “Does a Nine-Month Contemplative Mental Training Intervention in Healthy Adults Influence Leukocyte Telomere Length?” by Lara Puhlmann, myself, and Tania Singer was accepted at this year’s 48th Annual International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology Conference (ISPNE) in Ivrine, California, from September 6-8, 2018.

May 05, 2018:
A Conference Symposium I am co-organizing with Melanie Kungl (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany) entitled “The Quality of Social Interactions within Parent-Child and Adult-Dyads: What are the influencing Factors in the Context of Attachment Theory? [Title in German: Qualität sozialer Interaktionen in Eltern-Kind- und Erwachsenen-Dyaden: Welches sind die beeinflussenden Faktoren im Rahmen der Bindungstheorie?]” with additional contributions by Margund Rohr (University of Leipzig, Germany), Sandra Gabler (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany), and Sabine Heinisch (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany),  was accepted at this year’s Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs – German Society for Psychology) in Frankfurt from September 15-20, 2018. More information here.  

May 05, 2018:
A Conference Poster entitled “Does Telomere Length Change after a Nine-Month Contemplative Mental Training Intervention in Healthy Adult Participants?” by Lara Puhlmann, myself, and Tania Singer was accepted at this year’s Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Psychologie (DGPs – German Society for Psychology) in Frankfurt from September 15-20, 2018. More information to follow here.

March 26, 2018:
A new Paper entitled “Neural correlates of socio-emotional perception in 22q11.2 deletion syndrome” authored by Lydia Dubourg, myself, Martin Debbané, Léa Chambaz, Stephan Eliez & Maude Schneider (University of Geneva, Switzerland) has just been published online in the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. It can be downloaded here (open access).

March 13, 2018:
A new Paper entitled “Change in Emotional Self-Concept following Socio-Cognitive Training relates to Structural Plasticity of the Prefrontal Cortex” authored by Anna-Lena Lumma (Department of Psychology, University of Witten, Germany), Sofie Valk (Forschungszentrüm Jülich, Germany), Anne Böckler (University of Würzburg, Germany), myself, and Tania Singer (MPI CBS, Leipzig, Germany) has just been published online in Brain and Behavior. It can be downloaded here (open access).

March 7, 2018:
A new Paper entitled “Epigenetic Modification of the Oxytocin and Glucocorticoid Receptor Genes is linked to Attachment Avoidance in young Adults” co-authored by Tsachi Ein-Dor (Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel), Willem Verbeke ( Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands), and Michal Mokry (University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands) has just been published online in Attachment & Human Development. It can be downloaded here (open access).

March 01, 2018:
A Conference Symposium I am organizing entitled “The Social Neuroscience of Human Attachment” with contributions by Madelon Hendricx-Riem (Tilburg University, The Netherlands), Anna Linda Leutritz (Clinical Affective Neuroimaging Laboratory, Magdeburg, Germany), Lars Otto White (Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Leipzig, Germany), Trinh Nguyen (Department of Psychology, University of Vienna), and myself was accepted for this year’s 4th International Conference of the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (ESCAN 2018) in Leiden, The Netherlands, from July 19-22. More information here

February 20, 2018:
Conference Symposium Contribution entitled “Face-to-face and brain-to-brain: Effects of maternal attachment, caregiving, and sensitivity on mother-child neural synchrony” by Trinh Nguyen (Department of Psychology, University of Vienna), Ezgi Kayan (MPI CBS, Leipzig, Germany), Daniel Matthes (MPI CBS, Leipzig, Germany), myself, and Stefanie Hoehl (Department of Psychology, University of Vienna) as part of the symposium entitled “Building bridges across minds and brains: Using live paradigms to elucidate interpersonal neurocognitive processes in infancy”  was accepted at this year’s International Congress of Infant Studies (ICIS) conference 2018 in Philadelphia from June 30 – July 3. 

January 29, 2018:
A new Research Project financed by the Max Planck Society on father-child-interaction can take place during the year 2018 at the MPI CBS in Leipzig, Germany. Methods will comprise fMRI, fNIRS, and ECG in 60 father-child-pairs with children aged 5 years. 

January 9, 2018:
My Open Conference Paper submission entitled “Spatio-Temporal Pattern of Appraising Social and Emotional Relevance: Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials” together with Annekathrin Schacht (University of Göttingen, Germany) was accepted for this year’s Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE) conference 2018 in Glasgow, UK, from April 4-5. More information here




My interdisciplinary research focuses on normal as well as disturbed functioning of the human social brain, with a special interest in human affiliation, compassion, caregiving, and attachment style. I use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and electro-encephalography (EEG), combined with biological methods ([epi]genetics, blood and saliva samples for immune system functioning assessment and telomere length measurement), psychological questionnaires, and behavioral assessment as main research methods. My participants are adults, adolescents, as well as children, both female and male.

For more information on my research, feel free to explore the remaining pages of my website.