The 7th MindBrainBody Symposium was organised by the Berlin MindBrainBody Institute on March 15-16. Each year this conference takes place during the International Brain Awareness Week. I was honoured to have the wonderful opportunity to present my research here for the second year in a row. The organisation was fantastic, with a great venue and an exciting line-up of keynote talks!
I presented a poster detailing my research conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (read more about my research stay in Leipzig here and here). In this project, I used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to
a) Explore the effects of social exclusion on collective narcissists, and to
b) Test a mindfulness meditation intervention in alleviating the negative consequences of social exclusion.
I am honoured to say that my poster got a lot of attention, leading to some very inspiring discussions about this research along some valuable feedback on my work.
Besides presenting my own work, I had the great privilege to introduce and chair the keynote talk of Dr. Gianna Cocchini (Goldsmiths, University of London). Dr. Cocchini presented her fascinating findings on the neuropsychology of anosognosia and neglect, drawing not only on laboratory-based research, but also presenting her clinical cases. As a former student of Dr. Cocchini, chairing her session was truly a remarkable experience. The talk sparked a wonderful discussion among Dr. Cocchini and the audience!
Though all speakers were wonderful, coming from a number of exciting areas, one topic in particular stood out for me: Olfaction. This is a research area that was, for me personally, completely novel. Professor Noam Sobel introduced his lab’s research on how our brain uses olfaction constantly, beyond our conscious awareness. For example, in one study they found that smelling fresh tears decreases the testosterone level of participants! Yes, fresh tears – apparently this effect is no longer present when the tears have been sitting in a jar for a longer time period! Professor Sobel’s talk opened the door to an entirely new way of thinking about interpersonal relationships for me from a research perspective, and I am very grateful for him for doing so!