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The goal of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab is to contribute scientific findings to the field of neuroscience. We conduct basic research on perception, emotion regulation, empathic response, affective and cognitive perspective-taking, sensory processing (especially pain), and states of consciousness. We are interested in physiological mechanisms of the researched behaviors, including the genetic, physiological, and neurological brain organization.

Research Goals

The goal of the Behavioral Neuroscience Lab is to contribute scientific findings to the field of neuroscience. Members and collaborators of the Center focus on studying not only physiological, but also genetic mechanisms of human behavior. We also study biological mechanisms underlying not only emotional responses, but also cognitive activities. We employ the latest methods and tools of psychophysiological measurement, such as EMG, EEG, TMS, tDCS, MRI, and a recently acquired sensory stimulator TSA 2, and use advanced analysis of brain activity, including the analysis of structural and functional neuronal networks.

Currently, our main research projects focus on basic research on emotion perception, emotion regulation, emotional mimicry, empathic response, affective and cognitive perspective-taking, and sensory processing (especially pain). Furthermore, we research the supra-systemic integration of these activities at different phases of development, and we also conduct psychophysiological analysis of states of consciousness.

Scope of Research

  • Emotion regulation in non-suicidal self-injury. Research with the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS).
    The goal of the project is to evaluate the effectiveness of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in the process of emotion regulation, in a group of hospitalized adolescents diagnosed with non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI). It is assumed that the pivotal trait of NSSI is emotion dysregulation, which manifests in self-injury, as well as impulsive behavior, lack of emotional consciousness, and a high intensity of experiencing negative emotions. While comparing brain imaging that indicates functional disorders in the cortical-subcortical neuronal networks (Schreiner i in., 2017), it was assumed that tDCAS of the prefrontal cortex may reinstate the disturbed balance of the above-noted networks and positively impact the ability of emotion regulation, i.e. lower the level of impulsive reactions, lower the high level of emotional arousal, and decrease the frequency of attempted self-injury incidents.
  • The impact of affective perspective-taking on pain perception using different psychophysiological methods (EMG, EEG, fMRI), depending on: (1) high sensitivity to stimuli processing, (2) social anxiety, (3) psychological flexibility.
    The study follows the picture-based paradigm (Jackson et al, 2006), which has shown that during pain observation, in case of the “I” affective perspective taking, stronger responses are observed not only at the level of facial muscles (m. orbicularis oculi, m. corrugator supercilli), but also in brain responses (anterior circulate cortex, insular cortex), as compared with the “OTHERS” perspective, where this effect has not been observed. At the same time, according to the Batson model, taking the “I” perspective is conducive to higher emotional empathy demonstration. So far, it has not been established whether this correlation will be observed in case of different psychological factors, such as high sensitivity to stimuli processing, level of anxiety, and psychological flexibility. The goal of the project is to explore this issue.
  • The impact of affective perspective taking on the level of empathic response in narcissistic individuals, using the EMG, EEG, and fMRI measurement.
    Taking into consideration the heterogenic nature of persons with the narcissistic disorder (e.g. professional literature differentiates between grandiose and vulnerable narcissism), we examine whether a merely induced perspective-taking can influence the psychophysiological empathy indicators (muscle response - EMG method, brain response - fMRI) in the same way, in people representing the vulnerable and grandiose narcissism.
  • Mapping functional neuronal networks of pain empathy in highly sensitive persons.
    Assuming the network approach to the functional organization of the brain, in close cooperation with the team of dr hab. Piotr Bogorodzki from the Nalecz Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering (IBBE), at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN), we are mapping functional networks underlying empathic reactions to pain while inducing the own perspective (the “I” perspective), using an existing database of pain films, among persons with different sensitivity to stimuli processing.
  • Mapping characteristics of functional nerve networks during an empathic response to pain in persons suffering from chronic back pain, depending on the level of pain perception.
    In comparison to studies monitoring the level of visual and auditory perception, there are very few studies that focus on measuring sensory stimuli, such as warmth, cold, and pain that are closely monitored. Thanks to a recently purchased neurosensory system TSA-2, financed by the RID program, we have been preparing a series of studies that will monitor the threshold of pain and tolerance to pain, while observing empathic reaction in persons suffering from chronic back pain.
  • The dynamics of functional networks in persons with disorders of consciousness.
    Researching the changes in functional networks in persons with disorders of consciousness. Currently, we are developing an overview of functional networks in patients in vegetative state and with minimal consciousness. Next, we will conduct EEG studies with these patients to develop a detailed description of their functioning during the wake cycles and we will attempt to classify individual patients based on brain activity patterns.

Research Team

Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda

Associate Professor

Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda

Head of the Center

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Anna Grabowska

Professor

Anna Grabowska

psychologist, specializing in experimental neuropsychology
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 Associate Professor

Krystyna Rymarczyk

biologist and psychologist

Assistant Professor 

Anna Duszyk-Bogorodzka

psychologist

Collaborators

  • Wataru Sato, Profressor (Kokoro Research Center, Kyoto University; RIKEN AICS Psychological Process Team)
    Research on unconscious affective processes
  • Przemysław Bąbel, Professor (Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University)
    Pain research
  • Piotr Durka, Professor (the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Physics)
    Analysis of EEG data and statistical analysis of research results
  • Piotr Bogorodzki, Professor (the Nalecz Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering (IBBE) at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN))
    Analysis of functional neuronal networks during pain perception, depending on sensitivity to stimuli processing
  • Iwona Szatkowska, Professor, (the Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, at the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN))
    Research on correlation of cognitive and emotional processes (using fMRI)
  • Iwona Makowska, M.D., Ph.D., (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic by the Medical University of Lodz)
    Research on regulation of emotional processes (using tDCS)
  • Katarzyna Kuś, Ph.D. (the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Philosophy)
    Consciousness research
  • Marta Bogotko, M.D., Ph.D. (Jan Bogdanowicz Children’s Hospital in Warsaw)
    Research on coma and disorders of consciousness

Current Research Projects

  • Emotion regulation in non-suicidal self-injury. Research with the use of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) (2020-2021).
    Financed by Regional Initiative of Excellence program (RID)
    The laboratory project Financed by Regional Initiative of Excellence program (RID), 012/RID/2018/19
  • Characteristics of the psychophysiological mechanism determining empathic response to pain depending on sensitivity to sensory processing.
    Financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education (MNiSW)SUB/IPsy/04/2021/04

Publications

Selected Publications (2016-2020)

  • Sato, W., Rymarczyk, K., Minemoto, K., & Hyniewska, S. (2020). Cultural differences in food detection. Scientific Reports, 10(1), 1-7.
  • Cyrkot, T., Szczepanowski, R., Jankowiak-Siuda, K. et al. (2021). Mindreading and metacognition patterns in patients with borderline personality disorder: experimental study. Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci 271, 1159–1168. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00406-020-01227-7
  • Grabowska A. (2020). Sex Differences on the Brain: A Networking Perspective. In: The Cambridge Handbook of the International Psychology of Women. F. M. Cheung and D. F. Halpern (Eds.). chapter 5a, pp. 52-62. Cambridge University Press.
  • Jankowiak-Siuda K., Duszyk A., Bujwid K., Dopierała A., Rymarczyk K., Grabowska A. (2019). Empathic responses for pain in facial muscles are modulated by actor’s attractiveness and gender, and perspective taken by observer, in: Frontiers in Psychology, vol. 10, nr 624, ss. 1-11. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00624.
  • Rymarczyk, K., Żurawski, Ł., Jankowiak-Siuda, K., & Szatkowska, I. (2019). Empathy in facial mimicry of fear and disgust: simultaneous EMG-fMRI recordings during observation of static and dynamic facial expressions. Frontiers in Psychology, 10(701), 1–20. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00701
  • Sato, W., Rymarczyk, K., Minemoto, K., Wojciechowski, J., Hyniewska, S. (2019). Cultural moderation of unconscious hedonic responses to food. Nutrients. http://doi.org/10.3390/nu11112832.
  • Jankowiak-Siuda, K., Krakowska, N., Gaździcka, K, Kundziołka, J. Topczewski, J (2019). Genetyczne podstawy empatii (Genetic basis of empathy). Neuropsychiatria i Neuropsychologia 14, 73-83. https://doi.org/10.5114/nan.2019.89790.
  • Dębska, A., Chyl, K., Gabriela, D., Agnieszka, K., Magdalena, Ł., Joanna, P., … Grabowska, A. (2019). Reading and spelling skills are differentially related to phonological processing: Behavioral and fMRI study. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 39, 1–8. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.dcn.2019.100683
  • Duszyk, A., Dovgialo, M., Pietrzak, M., Zieleniewska, M., i Durka, P. (2019). Event-related potentials in the odd-ball paradigm and behavioral scales for the assessment of children and adolescents with disorders of consciousness: a proof of concept study. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, pp. 1–19, Jan 2019. IF=1,8
  • Dovgialo, M, Chabuda, A., Duszyk, A., Zieleniewska, M., Pietrzak, M., Różański, P., i Durka., P. (2019). Assessment of statistically significant command following in pediatric patients with disorders of consciousness, based upon visual, auditory and tactile event- related potentials. International Journal of Neural Systems, 29(3):1850048, Oct 2018, IF=6,33
  • Zieleniewska, M., Duszyk, A., Różański, P., Pietrzak, M., Bogotko, M., Durka, P. (2019). Parametric Description of EEG Profiles for Assessment of Sleep Architecture in Disorders of Consciousness. International Journal of Neural Systems, 29(3): 1850049
  • Wierzba, M., Riegel, M., Wypych, M., Jednoróg, K., Grabowska, A., & Marchewka, A. (2018). Cognitive control over memory - individual differences in memory performance for emotional and neutral material. Scientific Reports, (8:3808), 1–18.http://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-21857-1
  • Rymarczyk, K., Żurawski, Ł., Jankowiak-Siuda, K., & Szatkowska, I. (2018). Neural correlates of facial mimicry: simultaneous measurements of EMG and BOLD responses during perception of dynamic compared to static facial expressions. Frontiers in Psychology, 9(52), 1–17. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.00052
  • Żurowska, N., Kałwa, A., Rymarczyk K., Habrat B. (2018). Recognition of emotional facial expressions in benzodiazepine dependence and detoxification. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, 1-14.
  • Jankowiak-Siuda, K., Kantor-Martynuska, J., Siwy-Hudowska, A., Śmieja, M., Dobrołowicz-Konkol, M., Zaraś-Wieczorek, I., & Siedler, A. (2017). Psychometric properties of the Polish adaptation of short form of the Empathy Quotient (EQ-Short). Psychiatria Polska, 51(4), 719–734. http://doi.org/10.12740/PP/64270
  • Jankowiak-Siuda, K., Dopierała, A., & Boski, P. (2017). Empathy gap – what do we know about empathizing with others′ pain? Polish Psychological Bulletin, 48(1), 111–117. http://doi.org/10.1515/ppb-2017-0014.
  • Grabowska, A. (2017). Sex on the brain: Are gender-dependent structural and functional differences associated with behavior? Journal of Neuroscience Research, 95(1–2), 200–212. http://doi.org/10.1002/jnr.23953
  • Bierzyńska, M., Bielecki, M., Marchewka, A., Dębowska, W., Duszyk, A., Zajkowski, W., … Kossut, M. (2016). Effect of frustration on brain activation pattern in subjects with different temperament. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(1989). http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01989
  • Jankowiak-Siuda, K., Baron-Cohen, S., Białaszek, W., Dopierała, A., Kozłowska, A., Rymarczyk, K. (2016). Psychometric evaluation of the “Reading the mind in the eyes” test with samples of different ages from a Polish population. Studia Psychologica, 58(1), 18-31.
  • Rymarczyk, K., Żurawski, Ł., Jankowiak-Siuda, K., & Szatkowska, I. (2016a). Do dynamic compared to static facial expressions of happiness and anger reveal enhanced facial mimicry? Plos One, 11(7), 1–15. http://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0158534
  • Rymarczyk, K., Żurawski, Ł., Jankowiak-Siuda, K., & Szatkowska, I. (2016b). Emotional empathy and facial mimicry for static and dynamic facial expressions of fear and disgust. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1–11. http://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01853
  • Riegel, M., Wierzba, M., Grabowska, A., Jednoróg, K., & Marchewka, A. (2016). Effect of emotion on memory for words and their context. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 8(524), 1636–1645. http://doi.org/10.1002/cne.23928
  • Jankowiak-Siuda, K., Rymarczyk, K., Zurawski, L., Jednoróg, K., & Marchewka, A. (2015). Physical attractiveness and sex as modulatory factors of empathic brain responses to pain. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 9(236).
    http://doi.org/10.3389/fnbeh.2015.00236

Location

Behavioral Neuroscience Lab
Institute of Psychology
SWPS University
Chodakowska 19/31
03-815 Warsaw, Poland

Contact

Head of the Center: Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda
e-mail: kjankowiak-siuda@swps.edu.pl