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Giorgia Silani @ Hot Politics Lab in Vienna

November 24, 2023 @ 3:00 pm 4:00 pm

University of Vienna Seminar Room 11

Kolingasse 14-16
Vienna, 1090

In this session of Hot Politics Lab, Giorgia Silani (University of Vienna) will give a talk titled “Disrupted social homeostasis? Effects of acute social isolation on energy and fatigue: evidence from the lad and the field”. Social contact is a fundamental need of social mammals, and long-term social isolation predicts aversive health outcomes. However, human adaptive responses to short-term social isolation are less understood. Giorgia will present findings pertaining to the effects of experimentally induced acute social isolation on psychological and physiological measures in humans, and compare them to the effects of a better-known deprived state such as fasting. Furthermore, in order to test their ecological validity, a subsample of individuals, participating in a large-scale EMA study during the first COVID-19 lockdown and undergoing days of social isolation, was examined on the same self-report measures collected in the lab. Experimental induction of social isolation resulted in higher need for social contact, lower energetic arousal, and higher fatigue, as well as higher desire to avoid the situation, to a similar extent to an increased desire for food, fatigue and low energy during food deprivation. Notably, the change in energy after social isolation observed in the lab was replicated in the field study. Here, Giorgia proposes that lowered energy could be part of a ‘social homeostatic’ response to isolation, which may share similarities with other homeostatic systems, such as the regulation of food intake.

Giorgia Silani is Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, at the University of Vienna and Head of the Clinical Social Neuroscience (CSN) Unit. She graduated with a diploma in clinical psychology from the University of Turin in 1998 and obtained her Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from the University of Milano in 2006. From 2004 to 2006, she worked at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, London, under the supervision of Prof. Uta Frith. In 2007, she was appointed at the Center for Social Neuroscience and Neuroeconomics, University of Zurich, by Prof. Tania Singer. In 2010, she moved to Italy to lead the ‘Collective Emotions and Social Cognitive Neuroscience Lab’, at SISSA, Trieste. Since 2014, she has been working at University of Vienna. Her research focuses on the neurobiological and neuropharmacological basis of social cognition, emotions, and behaviors. She also investigates the effects of atypical development on social interactions and cognition.