Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Life Sciences - Department of Psychology

Dr. Garret O'Connell

Dr. Garret O'Connell
research assistant
g.oconnell (at)

Lebenswissenschaftliche Fakultät → Institut für Psychologie → Klinische Psychologie Sozialer Interaktion
Function / Working Area
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Visiting address
Luisenstraße 56 (Haus 1) , Room 419
Phone number
(030) 2093-6185
(030) 2093-1802
Mailing address
Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin



2004-2007 BSc Psychology, National University of Ireland, Galway

2008-2009 MSc Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Edinburgh

2010-2014 PhD Psychology, University of Reading



Research interests


My research looks at the interplay between non-social and social forms of cognition. For instance, when choosing between immediate and future rewards, we predict how much we will enjoy future rewards by empathizing with the feelings of our future selves, and this is done in the same way as we empathize with the feelings of others. I am also interested in identifying the subcomponents of empathy (e.g. imitation, egocentric bias suppression), how they interact, and how they relate to nonsocial capacities (e.g. inhibitory control, reward value processing). I use a range of methods to address these questions, including economic games, psychophysiology, eyetracking, and neuroimaging.


I am currently doing a Postdoc with Isabel Dziobek looking at the above topics, and also examining how interventions to improve empathy affect neural responses in people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Conditions.





O’Connell G, Malinowska L, Chakrabarti B (submitted) Core components of empathy are inversely related across individuals.



O’Connell G, Christakou A, Chakrabarti B (2015) The role of simulation in intertemporal choices. Frontiers in Neuroscience.


Haffey AT, Press C, O’Connell G, Chakrabarti B (2013) Autistic traits modulate the mimicry of social but not non-social rewards. Autism Research


O’Connell G, Christakou A, Haffey AT, Chakrabarti B (2013) The role of empathy in choosing rewards from the perspective of others. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7: 174


O’Connell G, Whalley HC, Mukherjee P, Stanfield AC, Montag C, Hall J et al. (2012) Association of genetic variation in the promoter region of OXTR with differences in social affective neural processing. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2, 60-66


Whalley HC, O’Connell G, Sussmann JE, Peel A, Stanfield AC et al. Genetic variation in CNTNAP2 alters brain function during linguistic processing in healthy individuals. American Journal of Medical Genetics: B, 156B, 941-8


O’Connell G, De Wilde J, Haley J, Schafer B, Sandercock P et al. (2011) The brain, the science, and the media. EMBO Reports, 12, 630–6


O’Connell G (2011) Tracking the impact of neuroethics. Cortex, 47, 1259-60


Wardlaw JM, O'Connell G, Shuler K, DeWilde J, Haley J, et al. (2011) "Can it read my mind?" - What do the public and experts think of the current (mis)uses of neuroimaging? PLoS One, 6(10): e25829


O’Connell G, Lawrie SM, McIntosh AM, Hall J (2011) Schizophrenia risk genes: implications for future drug development and discovery. Biochemical Pharmacology, 81, 1367-73