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.
24th – 27th of March 2022
Next ReConnect in Society Masterclass
This ReConnect in Society Masterclass provides concrete possibilities to how each of us can train inner qualities like mindfulness, empathy, and compassion with simple meditation-based mental practices for one self and for others as well as a healthier way to deal with insecurities, stress, and difficult emotions. It reconnects us with ourselves and others and creates a new social network.
The effectiveness of the mental training practices was scientifically researched over many years by Tania Singer in her 25-year scientific career. To make the results practical and open to the public, she is now offering the ReConnect Masterclasses.
The next Masterclass will take place from 24th -27th of March 2022 in the beautiful Neuhardenberg Castle near Berlin. It will start with 3.5 days of silent retreat in which Tania Singer and Günter Hudasch, together with an experienced team of meditation teachers, will hold short talks to introduce the practice from neurobiological and psychological perspectives as well as many concrete mental exercises that will be done alone and with others. These days together in nature and in the beautiful castle will be followed by 8 weeks of daily dyads, approx. 12-minutes of partner exercises over the phone and weekly online coaching with the whole group to bring the practice into daily life and deepen it. The goal is to reach deep inner transformation with training that is sustained and integrated into a social network.
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 >
Hair analysis shows: Meditation training reduces long-term stress
07 October 2021 – Mental training that promotes skills such as mindfulness, gratitude or compassion reduces the concentration of the stress hormone cortisol in hair. This is what scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig and the Social Neuroscience Research Group of the Max Planck Society in Berlin have found out.
Report in LaVie
September 30, 2021 – An article in LaVie reports on the research of Tania Singer, in which Matthieu Ricard participated. It was shown that empathy, the ability to feel the emotions of others, can also be painful. They explain how to prevent this. (French)
Recent Talks & PodcastsSee all >
Lecture for How to Academy
October 20, 2021 – In this livestream talk, Tania Singer shares accessible, evidence-based tools to reduce stress and improve your mental health.
Talk Boston International Trauma Conference
May 28, 2021 – Tania Singer gives a keynote lecture at the Boston International Trauma Conference and talks about the results of the ReSource project.
Latest Scientific PublicationsSee all >
Godara, M., Silveira, S., Matthäus, H., Heim, C., Voelkle, M., Hecht, M., Binder, E. & Singer, T.
Investigating differential effects of socio-emotional and mindfulness-based online interventions on mental health, resilience and social capacities during the COVID-19 pandemic: The study protocol. PLOS One. (accepted)
Böckler, A. & Singer T.
Longitudinal Evidence for Differential Plasticity of Cognitive Functions: Mindfulness-based mental training enhances working memory, but not perceptual discrimination, response inhibition and metacognition. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General (accepted)
Mayer, Preckel, Ihle, Piecha, Junghanns, Reiche, Rademacher, Müller-Pinzler; Stolz, Kamp-Becker, Stroth, Roepke, Küpper, Engert, Singer, Kanske, Paulus, Krach
Assessment of reward-related brain function after a single-dose of oxytocin in autism: a randomized controlled trial. Biological Psychiatry: Global Open Science (accepted)