Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience


Social Neuroscience

Social Neuroscience group investigates the mechanisms of social interaction. The group is led by Dr Antonia Hamilton.

Antonia Hamilton

Group Leader



+44 20 7679 4640

Antonia Hamilton

Social Neuroscience Research

The Social Neuroscience group studies the underlying mechanisms of social interaction, and whether these develop differently in individuals with autism spectrum condition.
Our research spans many domains and questions:

  • Social - how do people interact with other people, in particular nonverbal interaction and hand actions?
  • Cognitive - what are the information processing mechanisms involved in social interaction?
  • Developmental -how does social cognition develop over childhood and why does this development sometimes go wrong?
  • Motor - how do we move in response to others, interacting as well as perceiving?
  • Neuroscience - what brain systems and connections are involved in social interaction?

To answer these questions, we use behavioural, cognitive, virtual reality and brain scanning methods to study healthy children and adults as well as those with autism spectrum condition.

Group Members


Roser Cañigueral

Roser Photo

My research is focused on the neurocognitive mechanisms that modulate pro-social behaviour in ecologically valid settings, and how they differ between typical and autistic individuals. I am particularly interested in the ‘belief of being watched’ as a trigger of self-reference, and the relationship between self-other distinction, mimicry and the desire to interact with other people. In my research I use behavioural tasks, eye-tracking and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

Patrick Falk

Patrick Falk

My research interest involves sensorimotor perception and the demarcation between self and other, with a strong emphasis on the technological prospects within the field. As part of my PhD I explore real-time dyadic social interactions using high-resolution motion capture and virtual reality in order to test current theories in social neuroscience.

Harry Farmer

Harry Farmer

My main research interest is the role of embodiment in cognition and conscious experience. I am particularly interested in how our perceptions of our own body and the bodies of others is involved in structuring social cognition and social interaction. In investigating these questions I have employed a variety of methods from behavioural psychology and cognitive neuroscience including psychophysics, economic games, physiological measures, functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Paul Forbes

Paul Forbes

I am interested in the cognitive and neural mechanisms which underpin human social interactions. Specifically, I research how and when people copy other people's behaviour and how this may differ in autistic people. I use motion tracking, virtual reality and fMRI

Alexandra Georgescu

Alexandra Georgescu

My research interests lie in the investigation of social cognition and its neural correlates in typical development and autism spectrum disorder. In particular, I am interested in the mechanisms underlying the processing of dynamic nonverbal cues, like eye gaze and kinesics, as well as in the contextual factors that modulate such processing. To complement my research on the perception of behaviour, I am also interested in the production side of nonverbal behaviour, in particular in the timing of interpersonal coordination.

Sujatha Krishnan-Barman

Sujatha Photo

My research is centred on exploring the cognitive and neural mechanisms underpinning mimicry and overimitation. As part of my PhD I explore how these mechanisms are modulated by top-down social processes, and how they differ between healthy adults and those with autism spectrum condition. In my research I utilise a variety of techniques including behavioural studies, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).

Stefan Lüttke

Steven Luttke

My research focuses on social cognition in children and adolescents with depression. I also investigate how wearables and smartphones can be used to predict depressive episodes. In my studies I use eye tracking, psychophysiological measures and virtual realities.

Davide Paoletti

Davide Paletti

My research interests include different subfield of Neuroscience, from Brain Computer Interfaces (BCI), Vision and Perception to Social Neuroscience. I am particularly interested in methods and during the last few years I focused on combining Magnetoencephalography (MEG) and Eye-tracking.

Jamie A Ward

Jamie A Ward

I have a research background in wearable and ubiquitous computing, with more recent interests in social interaction and theatre. My research in computing spans topics including human activity recognition, body-worn sensing, performance methods, and social activity recognition. My work on social interaction is concentrated on the study of non-verbal interactions -- using sensing and machine learning methods to try and uncover the physical signals we use when engaging others. 

Sarah White

Sarah White

Sarah White is an independent research fellow, interested in mentalising, central coherence and executive function in autism & Asperger Syndrome. Cognitive subtypes and individual differences in the autism spectrum and their relationship to behaviour. Understanding of social stereotypes in autism. Sensorimotor impairments in dyslexia and other developmental disorders.