OpenMentalizing: leveraging open neurological data for uncovering the differences in mentalizing/empathy capabilities

Project info

Title: OpenMentalizing: leveraging open neurological data for uncovering the differences in mentalizing/empathy capabilities bul_bul0000303_fig1a

Project lead: Stefan Dvoretskii Twitter: Mattermost:

Project collaborators: Giorgio Marinato

Acknowledgements: The project lead thanks Dr. Aleya Flechsenhar! for the seminar “Social cognitive dysfunction” @ LMU Munich, providing theoretical background and state-of-the-art literature about the current research on the topic.

Registered Brainhack Global 2020 Event: Brainhack Montreal, Brainhack Marseille

Project Description: Mentalizing is a higher cognitive ability that is vital for the social life of an individual. New brain imaging techniques have investigated neural circuits involved in mentalizing the most. The goal of this project is to leverage open neurological data to try and gain the scale in the mentalizing abilities confounders like disease/healthy state, cultural background of the individuals etc., utilizing the state-of-the-art knowledge of the topography of underlying circuits.

Data to use: I have thought of T1 in the first place (i.e. structural changes)

Link to project repository/sources: See header

Goals for Brainhack Global 2020:

Good first issues:

  1. Read reference papers - understand the mentalizing & neural basis concepts
  2. Look at OpenNeuro
  3. Determine where to store data (brainlife?)

Recommended reading:

  1. Schurz, Matthias, et al. “Toward a hierarchical model of social cognition: A neuroimaging meta-analysis and integrative review of empathy and theory of mind.” Psychological Bulletin (2020). - Meta-study of the brain regions involved in Empathy/Mentalizing. Also the source of the title picture.
  2. Luyten, P., Campbell, C., Allison, E., & Fonagy, P. (2020). The mentalizing approach to psychopathology: State of the art and future directions. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 16, 297-325. - Review paper on the theoretical background
  3. Moessnang, C., Baumeister, S., Tillmann, J., Goyard, D., Charman, T., Ambrosino, S., … & Meyer-Lindenberg, A. (2020). Social brain activation during mentalizing in a large autism cohort: the Longitudinal European Autism Project. Molecular autism, 11(1), 1-17. - Mentalizing in autism; study on a European cohort.
  4. - one of the possible factors influencing mentalizing capabilities.

Skills: MRI imaging, structural MRI, basic neuropsychology, mentalizing & empathy psychology

Tools/Software/Methods to Use: Your imaging analysis tool & language (suggested: Python, Julia), OpenNeuro, DataLad, [Brainlife] (

Communication channels:

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Jan 1, 0001 12:00 AM