November 2020 - March 2022


Weekly MATLAB course on Zoom for PhD and Master students from the Berlin School of Mind and Brain.

September 2019 - March 2022


Holding lectures on social and cognitive neuroscience, experimental design and data analysis using R and MATLAB at the Hasso Plattner Institute Potsdam.

April 2015 - September 2019


Assisting with teaching for several courses, including the Empirical Research Training at the Berlin School of Mind and Brain and the Empirical and Experimental Praxis course at the Free University Berlin.



Talk: Is motherhood a moderator of empathy for pain? An fMRI study
Neuromatch Conference

Talk: Is motherhood a moderator of empathy for pain? An fMRI study

Speaker: Irene Sophia Plank, Humboldt University of Berlin (grid.7468.d) Title: Is motherhood a moderator of empathy for pain? An fMRI study Emcee: Alberto Antonietti Backend host: Gelana Tostaeva Details: https://neuromatch.io/abstract?submission_id=recrrVSYizj5cAvsN Presented during Neuromatch Conference 3.0, Oct 26-30, 2020. Summary: Social competencies such as empathy and understanding others’ minds are vital for parents towards successful parenting. They not only allow adequate reactions to a child’s needs but since parents are important role models, they are also passed on to the children (Kluczniok et al. 2016). To date, little is known about the modulating effect of motherhood on social understanding and specifically on the understanding of a child’s mind versus an adult’s mind. In this study, we used functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) to investigate empathy for pain in mothers and women without children. Our task used both adult and children as protagonists in the stimulus material. Women were recruited that were either i) mothers of one child between 4 and 10 years old (corresponding to the age of the children in the stimulus material), or ii) had no children and also did not interact with them on a regular basis. Univariate analyses of our neuroimaging data show significant differences between the conditions empathy with a child versus empathy with an adult in the left SMG. Additionally, mothers and women without children show significantly different activation patterns with stronger activation in the bilateral anterior insula when asked to imagine people in painful scenarios while viewing pictures showing these scenarios. This hints at differences in strategies in reacting to people in painful situations with mothers recruiting more strongly those areas traditionally related to empathy. Successful classification based on both motherhood and protagonist of the stimuli strengthens these findings.