Researcher, Author, Speaker
Prof. Dr. Tania Singer is a social neuroscientist and psychologist and world expert on empathy and compassion. She has a passion for creating bridges between fields that typically never interact such as linking neuroscience with economics, science with arts or science with spirituality.
“A lack of compassion is arguably the cause of humankind’s biggest failures.”
Learning from contemplative traditions from the East, she has initiated and headed one of the largest meditation-based secular mental training studies on compassion, the ReSource project. Linking such findings to the field of economics, she developed a “caring economics” approach, developing new models of economy based on care and social cohesion.
Throughout her life she has explored how inner change can bring about societal change putting science in the service of societal transformation.
Building bridges between fields
Fields of Expertise
In her scientific exploration, Tania has always been passionate about creating bridges between fields that typically rarely interact, such as linking social psychology with neuroscience, neuroscience with economics, science with arts, or science with contemplative wisdom traditions from the East.
The CovSocial Project
The COVID-19 pandemic has had far-reaching
effects on the mental health and the daily social lives of many people throughout the globe.
The CovSocial project aims, in a first phase, to shed light on these crucial pandemic-related changes in assessing longitudinally many markers of mental health, resilience and social cohesion in a large sample of Berliners throughout the many lock-downs in the yeas of 2020/21. In a second phase, we investigated whether we could reduce the increased loneliness and psychological vulnerability observed in Berliners by simple 10-weeks mindfulness-based or dyadic socio-affective online mental trainings.
First descriptive findings on selected measures focusing on mental vulnerability, psychological resilience and social cohesion from phase1 can be downloaded here.
For more information see the CovSocial Project Website.
ReConnect in Society Masterclasses
To translate scientific knowledge into society, Tania Singer teaches ReConnect in Society Masterclasses. Those are special formats adapted to the needs of different institutional environments such as healthcare, education or business/ leadership.
They start with 3- to 4-days retreats and are followed by 8-week daily partner-based Dyadic practices at home supported by weekly zoom coachings allowing to deepen the practice.
Such Masterclasses include a good balance between more theoretical teachings in psycho-biological topics and applied practice sessions.
If you are interested in participating in the next German ReConnect Masterclass (February 15-18 2024) please use the contact sheet here.
Tania has a rich, colourful and international biography characterised by many moves within Germany and Europe. Below are some keywords of her most important academic positions.
- Studies of Psychology and Media Counselling at the University of Marburg and Technical University of Berlin.
- PhD in Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin.
- Postdoctoral years at the Wellcome Centre for Human Neuroimaging & Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at University College, London.
- Assistant and full Professorships in Social Neuroscience & Inaugural Chair in Neuroeconomics & Co-Director of the Laboratory for Social and Neural System Research at the University of Zürich.
- Directorship, Department of Social Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig.
- Scientific Head, Social Neuroscience Lab, Max Planck Society, Berlin.
Tania is now head of the Social Neuroscience Lab of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. She investigates Human Social Behaviour as well as social emotions such as empathy and compassion and their trainability.
She is founder and Principal Investigator of the ReSource project a large-scale longitudinal study with more than 300 participants and 90 different measures on the effects of meditation-based mental training on brain plasticity, mental and physical health, and pro-social behaviour. The ReSource project has taken more than 10 years to be developed and conducted, generating more than 40 peer-reviewed scientific papers to date (see here for the ReSource webpage).
She further holds a cooperation with the macroeconomist Prof. Dennis Snower on the topic of Caring Economics. Together they explore how biology and psychology can inform new economic models and decision-making.
Currently, Tania is heading the CovSocial Project, a study that investigates on the changes of vulnerability, social cohesion and resilience during the SARS-COV-19 pandemic in Berlin.
In the context of her longtime board membership of the Mind and Life Institute, she helped organise together with Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard two large-scale conferences with the Dalai Lama, in 2010 in Zürich and in 2016 in Brussels. These conferences were published in two books, “Caring Economics” and “Power and Care”.
Tania has further published her findings in more than 150 high-impact peer-reviewed journals and book chapters, and has given several hundred keynote lectures on the stages of many prestigious institutions such as the World Economic Forum, MIT, Harvard, Oxford, Stanford, ETH and at many global companies.
Throughout her career, Tania has further engaged in art and science cooperation. Among others, she cooperates with the artist Olafur Eliasson, and together with him she has produced a movie and a freely downloadable eBook on compassion.
Latest News & Upcoming EventsSee all >
Suffering and Flourishing during the Covid-19 Pandemic
This international Symposium took place in the Social Neuroscience Lab in Berlin from 1st to 2nd December 2022. The main focus was on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health, resilience and aspects of social cohesion as well as on interventions implemented to reduce the negative impact this global crisis had on psychological vulnerability worldwide.
March 22, 2022 – In this interview featured by the BBC, Tania Singer talks about the difference between empathy and compassion.
Recent Talks & PodcastsSee all >
Global Joy Summit with His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Tania Singer together with Richard Davidson took part in the Special Session Discussion on Altruism as a Source of Inner Strength as part of the Global Joy Summit, Nov. 13 – 16.
Talk at CCARE Lab in Stanford
May 25, 2022 – As part of the Meng-Wu Lecture Series Tania Singer talks about the Neuroscience of Motivation, Care and Compassion.
Latest Scientific PublicationsSee all >
Godara, M., Silveira, S., Matthäus, H. & Singer T.
The Wither or Thrive Model of Resilience: An integrative framework of dynamic vulnerability and resilience in the face of repeated stressors during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Adversity and Resilience Science (2022)
Silveira S., Hecht, M., Matthäus, H., Adli, M., Voelkle, M. & Singer, T.
Coping with the COVID-19 Pandemic: Perceived Changes in Psychological Vulnerability, Resilience and Social Cohesion before, during and after Lockdown. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2022)
Silveira, S., Hecht, M., Adli, M., Voelkle, M. & Singer, T.
Exploring the Structure and Interrelations of Time-Stable Psychological Resilience, Psychological Vulnerability, and Social Cohesion. Frontiers in Psychiatry. (2022)