Our team

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head of the lab

Łukasz Okruszek, PhD

Łukasz is an associate professor in the Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences and the Head of the Social Neuroscience Lab at the Institute of Psychology, PAS. He started his academic career in the field of clinical neuropsychology by investigating cognitive, affective and social cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia. Currently, his research focuses on the impact of loneliness and social isolation on social brain activity and explores how physical, psychical and social realms are intertwined and how they influence each other. He received his Ph.D (November 2016) and habilitation (October 2018) from University of Warsaw, an MA in Psychology from University of Łódź (2012), and MSc in Mathematics from Technical University of Łódź (2010). In his free time he is either playing with his son Mieszko, reading non-fiction books (or Marvel comics) or listening to some political podcasts.

e-mail: lukasz.okruszek@psych.pan.pl

photo by Leszek Zych

phd students

Aleksandra Piejka, MA

She obtained her MA in Psychology from the University of Warsaw in 2018, specializing in experimental social psychology. She acquired clinical experience at central clinical hospitals in Łódź and Warsaw, and participated in research projects in collaboration with the Center for Research on Prejudice at the University of Tilburg, and Kozminski University. She has served as a visiting researcher with Julian F. Thayer’s group at the University of California, Irvine, and with the Mind-Body-Emotion Group at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig. She holds scholarships from the President of the Polish Academy of Sciences, the Foundation for Polish Science, and the Max Planck Institute. Her current research centers on the impact of loneliness on social cognition and physiological activity, both in laboratory settings and in everyday life.

e-mail: apiejka@psych.pan.pl

Marcelina Wiśniewska, MA Lab Manager

Marcelina received her BA (July 2017) and MA (September 2019) in Cognitive Science from the University of Warsaw. Since October 2019 she has been a PhD student in the Graduate School for Social Research and since June 2023 a Lab Manager at Social Neuroscience Lab, PAS. During her undergraduate studies, she helped in conducting research on neural mechanisms of theory of mind in both children and adults. Currently, her research focuses on investigating the links between loneliness and social information processing using neuroimaging, psychophysiological, and behavioral methods in the OPUS project (2018/31/B/HS6/02848). She loves attending concerts and drag shows, and in her spare time, she enjoys exploring different arts and crafts techniques.

e-mail: mwisniewska@sd.psych.pan.pl

Marta Chrustowicz, MA^2

Marta graduated from The Maria Grzegorzewska University with a BA in Special Education (2015), MA in Psychology (2019), and from the University of Warsaw with an MA in Cognitive Science (2020). During her undergraduate studies, she completed her Erasmus+ exchange at the University of Palermo (2017/18). She is interested in using neuromodulation methods to improve social brain activity. As a part of her MA, she examined the impact of the pSTS stimulation on social perception in patients with schizophrenia. Her current research project examines the possibility of increasing the effectiveness of top-down emotion regulation strategies in lonely individuals via stimulation of the prefrontal areas. Marta is also a fan of music and handicrafts – in her spare time, she sings, decorates furniture, and meets new people.

e-mail: mchrustowicz@sd.psych.edu.pl

Szymon Mąka, MA

Szymon graduated with a BA in Sociology in 2018 and with an MA in Cognitive Science in 2020 from the University of Warsaw. Currently, he is a PhD candidate at the Graduate School for Social Research and works at Social Neuroscience Lab, where he conducts research on the relationship between social cognition and loneliness based on behavioral and neurophysiological methods. He is interested in computational neuroscience and cognitive process modeling. He is a fan of mountain trekking and statistics.

e-mail: smaka@psych.pan.pl

Małgorzata Krawczyk, MA

Małgorzata is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School for Social Research. Graduated with an MA in Psychology with specialization in clinical neuropsychology and psychotherapy (University of Warsaw) in 2016. In 2018 she started to work as a research assistant in the Institute of Psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences. She was engaged in several research projects, including a project on neural markers of social cognition in schizophrenia. In her own research she focuses on the clinical aspects of social cognitive deficits in neuropsychiatric disorders. In 2019 she started her PhD project investigating neural correlates of social cognition disorders in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (National Science Center of Poland, Preludium Grant, 2018/31/N/HS6/0375). During her free time she reads, practices yoga, listens to podcasts and wanders across Warsaw with her adopted dachshund (not necessarily at the same time).

e-mail: mkrawczyk@psych.pan.pl

Monika Malon, MA

Monika is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School for Social Research. She graduated with honors from University of Warsaw, obtaining a BA in Applied Sociology and Social Anthropology (2020) and MA in Cognitive Science (2022). She is a four-time laureate of Rector’s Scholarship for Best Students, awarded with Faculty of Psychology Dean’s distinction for significant scientific achievements and GSSR International Scholarship Award. She is a member of Social Neuroscience Lab since 2020. Her scientific interests are focused on understanding and describing the mechanisms perpetuating the link between subjective social isolation and prosocial tendencies, egoism and interpersonal trust. Meme queen. Cat mum. Running enthusiast.

e-mail: mmalon@sd.psych.pan.pl

Łucja Trzeciak, MA

Łucja is a PhD candidate in the Graduate School for Social Research. She graduated from Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń obtaining a BA (2021) and MA (2023) in Cognitive Science. During her studies, she was involved in numerous scientific and non-scientific projects, receiving a student grant award Grants4NCUStudents. Her MA thesis focused on reactivity to affective sounds through miniature eye movements (microsaccades). Her research interests focus on brain-body-environment interactions in the context of affective and social neuroscience. As part of her doctoral dissertation, she examines social information processing related to human cooperation. In her free time, she looks for every opportunity to be surrounded by nature. She likes cooking and experimenting with various arts and crafts techniques.

e-mail: ltrzeciak@sd.psych.pan.pl

students

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alumni

2024:
  • Krzystof Żaboklicki, MA
2022:
  • Marcin Lewandowski, MA (summa cum laude)
  • Joanna Wąsowicz, MA
2021:
  • Katarzyna Wójcik, MA
  • Dominika Górz, MA
  • Przemysław Marciniak, MA
  • Franciszek Mendez Varela, MA

2020:

  • Karolina Żurek, MA
  • Olena Nikolenko, MA
  • Aleksandra Aniszewska-Stańczuk, MA
  • Liwia Piaskowska, MA

2018:

  • Natalia Rutkowska, MA
  • Natalia Jakubowska, MA
  • Justyna Gula, MA
  • Karolina Żurek, MA (Lab Manager, 2019-2022)
  • Jarosław Biedrzycki (Research Assistant, 2018-2019)
  • Paula Wicher, MA (Research Assistant, 2017-2018)