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Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

IfW Gebäude



Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET)

The Institute for New Economic Thinking was created to broaden and accelerate the development of new economic thinking that can lead to solutions for the great challenges of the 21st century.

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Selected Articles and Book Chapters

Prof. Dr. Tania Singer               Prof. Dennis Snower, Ph.D.


Prof. Dr. Tania Singer


Neuroeconomics and Social Decision-Making

Bosworth, S. J., Singer, T., & Snower, D. J. (2015). Cooperation, motivation and social balance. The Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization. doi:10.1016/j.jebo.2015.12.005

Steinbeis, N., Engert, V., Linz, R., & Singer, T. (2015). The effects of stress and affiliation on social decision-making: Investigating the tend-and-befriend pattern. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 62, 138-148.

Singer, T., & Ricard, M. (Eds.). (2015). Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama. New York: St Martin's Press.

Singer, T., & Tusche, A. (2013). Understanding others: Brain mechanisms of Theory of Mind and empathy. In P. W. Glimcher (Ed.), Neuroeconomics. Decision making and the brain. London, UK: Academic Press.

Hein, G., Lamm, C., Brodbeck, C., & Singer, T. (2011). Skin conductance response to the pain of others predicts later costly helping. PLos ONE, 6(8), e22759. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.00227559

Hein, G., Silani, G., Preuschoff, K., Batson, C. D., & Singer, T. (2010). Neural responses to the suffering of ingroup- and outgroup members predict individual differences in altruistic helping. Neuron, 68(1), 149–160.

Singer, T., & Steinbeis, N. (2009). Differential roles of fairness- and compassion-based motivations for cooperation, defection, and punishment. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1167, 41–50.

Frith, C. D., & Singer, T. (2008). The role of social cognition in decision making. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 363(1511), 3875–3886.

Lubell, M. (Rapporteur), Engel, C., Glimcher, P. W., Hastie, R., Rachlinski, J. J., Rockenbach, B., Selten, R., Singer, T., & Weber, E. U. (2008). Institutional design: Capitalizing on the intuitive nature of decision making. In C. Engel & W. Singer (Eds.), Strüngmann Forum report: Better than conscious? Decision making, the human mind, and implications for institutions (pp. 413–432). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

McCabe, K., & Singer, T. (2008). Brain signatures of social decision making. In C. Engel & W. Singer (Eds.), Strüngmann Forum report: Better than conscious? Decision making, the human mind, and implications for institutions (pp. 103–122). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Singer, T. (2008). Understanding others: Brain mechanisms of theory of mind and empathy. In P. W. Glimcher, C. F. Camerer, E. Fehr, & R. A. Poldrack (Eds.), Neuroeconomics: Decision making and the brain (pp. 233–250). Amsterdam: Elsevier.

Singer, T., & Fehr, E. (2005). The neuroeconomics of mind reading and empathy. American Economic Review, 95(2), 340–345.


Social and Affective Neuroscience

Kanske, P., Böckler, A., Trautwein, F.-M., & Singer, T. (2015). Dissecting the social brain: Introducing the EmpaToM to reveal distinct neural networks and brain-behavior relations for empathy and Theory of Mind. NeuroImage, 122, 619.

Lamm, C., Silani, G., & Singer, T. (2015). Distinct neural networks underlying empathy for pleasant and unpleasant touch. Cortex, 70, 79-89.

Engert, V., Plessow, F., Miller, R., Kirschbaum, C., & Singer, T. (2014). Cortisol increase in empathic stress is modulated by social closeness and observation modality. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 45, 192-210

McCall, C., & Singer, T. (2012). The animal and human neuroendocrinology of social cognition, motivation and behavior. Nature Neuroscience. Review, 15(5), 681–688.

Przyrembel, M., Smallwood, J., Pauen, M., & Singer, T. (2012). Illuminating the dark matter of social neuroscience: Considering the problem of social interaction from philosophical, psychological, and neuroscientific perspectives. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 6(190). doi:10.3389/fnhum.2012.00190

Singer, T. (2012). The past, present and future of social Neuroscience: A European perspective. NeuroImage, 61(2), 437449.

Smallwood, J., Ruby, F. J. M., & Singer, T. (2012). Letting go of the present: Task unrelated thought is associated with reduced delay discounting. Consciousness and Cognition, 22 (1), 1–7.

Lamm, C., Decety, J., & Singer, T. (2011). Meta-analytic evidence for common and distinct neural networks associated with directly experienced pain and empathy for pain. NeuroImage, 54(3), 2492–2502.

Singer, T., Critchley, H. D., & Preuschoff, K. (2009). A common role of insula in feelings, empathy and uncertainty. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 13(8), 334–340.

Singer, T., & Lamm, C. (2009). The social neuroscience of empathy. The Year in Cognitive Neuroscience 2009: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1156, 81–96.

Singer, T.,& Leiberg, S. (2009). Sharing the emotions of others: The neural bases of empathy. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The cognitive neurosciences IV (pp. 971–984). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Hein, G., & Singer, T. (2008). I feel how you feel but not always: The empathic brain and its modulation. Current Opinion in Neurobiology, 18(2), 153–158.

Singer, T., Snozzi, R., Bird, G., Petrovic, P., Silani, G., Heinrichs, M., & Dolan, R. J. (2008). Effects of oxytocin and prosocial behavior on brain responses to direct and vicariously experienced pain. Emotion, 8(6), 781–791.

de Vignemont, F., & Singer, T. (2006). The empathic brain: How, when and why? Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 10(10), 435–441.

Harrison, N. A., Singer, T., Rotshtein, P., Dolan, R. J., & Critchley, H. D. (2006). Pupillary contagion: Central mechanisms engaged in sadness processing. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1(1), 5–17.

Singer, T. (2006). The neuronal basis and ontogeny of empathy and mind reading: Review of literature and implications for future research. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 30(6), 855–863.

Singer, T., Seymour, B., O’Doherty, J. P., Stephan, K. E., Dolan, R. J., & Frith, C. D. (2006). Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature, 439(7075), 466–469.

Singer, T., Kiebel, S. J., Winston, J. S., Dolan, R. J., & Frith, C. D. (2004). Brain responses to the acquired moral status of faces. Neuron, 41(4), 653–662.

Singer, T., Seymour, B., O’Doherty, J., Kaube, H., Dolan, R. J., & Frith, C. D. (2004). Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science, 303(5661), 1157–1162.


Effects of Mental Training and Plasticity Research

Klimecki, O. M., & Singer, T. (2015). Compassion. In A. W. Toga (Ed.), Brain mapping: An encyclopedic reference (1st Edition). Oxford: Elsevier.

Engen, H. G., & Singer, T. (2015). Compassion-based emotion regulation up-regulates experienced positive affect and associated neural networks. Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 10(9), 1291-1301.

Singer, T., & Klimecki, O. (2014). Empathy and Compassion. Current Biology, 24(18), R875-R878.

Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Ricard, M., & Singer, T. (2014). Differential pattern of functional brain plasticity after compassion and empathy training. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience. Advance online publication. doi:10.1093/scan/nst060

McCall, C., Steinbeis, N., Ricard, M., & Singer, T. (2014). Compassion meditators show less anger, less punishment, and more compensation of victims in response to fairness violations. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 8, 424. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2014.00424.

Klimecki, O. M., Leiberg, S., Lamm, C., & Singer, T. (2013). Functional neural plasticity and associated changes in positive affect after compassion training. Cerebral Cortex, 23(7), 15521561.

Klimecki, O., & Singer, T. (2012). Empathic distress fatigue rather than compassion fatigue? Integrating findings from empathy research in psychology and social neuroscience. In B. Oakley, A. Knafo, G. Madhavan, & D. S. Wilson (Eds.), Pathological altruism (pp. 368–383). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

Leiberg, S., Klimecki, O., & Singer, T. (2011). Short-term compassion training increases prosocial behavior in a newly developed prosocial game. PLoS ONE, 6(3), e17798. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0017798

Singer, T., Lindenberger, U., & Baltes, P. B. (2003). Plasticity of memory for new learning in very old age: A story of major loss? Psychology and Aging, 18(2), 306–317.


Child Development of Social Cognition and Decision-Making

Steinbeis, N., Haushofer, J., Fehr, E., & Singer, T. (2016). Development of behavioural control and associated vmPFC-DLPFC connectivity explains children’s increased resistance to temptation in intertemporal choice. Cerebral Cortex, 26(1), 32-42.

Hoffmann, F., Singer, T., & Steinbeis, N. (2015). Children’s increased emotional egocentricity compared to adults is mediated by their difficulties in conflict processing. Child Development, 86(3), 765-780.

Steinbeis, N., & Singer, T. (2013). The effects of social comparison on social emotions and -behaviour during childhood: The ontogeny of envy and Schadenfreude predicts developmental changes in equity-related decisions. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 115 (1), 198–209.

Steinbeis, N., Bernhardt, B. C., & Singer, T. (2012). Impulse control and underlying functions of the left DLPFC mediate age-related and age-independent individual differences in strategic social behavior. Neuron, 73(5), 1040–1051.


Psychopathology (e.g. Autism, Narcissism, Borderline)

Hoffmann, F., Köhne, S., Steinbeis, N., Dziobek, I., & Singer, T. (2015). Preserved self-other distinction during empathy in autism is linked to network integrity of right supramarginal gyrus. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. doi:10.1007/s10803-015-2609-0

Bernhardt, B. C., Valk, S. L., Silani, G., Bird, G., Frith, U., & Singer, T. (2014). Selective disruption of socio-cognitive structural brain networks in autism and alexithymia. Cerebral Cortex, 24(12), 3258-3267. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht182.

Bird, G., Silani, G., Brindley, R., White, S., Frith, U., & Singer, T. (2010). Empathic brain responses in insula are modulated by levels of alexithymia but not autism. Brain, 133(5), 1515–1525.

Silani, G., Bird, G., Brindley, R., Singer, T., Frith, C., & Frith, U. (2008). Levels of emotional awareness and autism: An fMRI study. Social Neuroscience, 3(2), 97–112.



Prof. Dennis Snower, Ph.D.


Caring Economics

“Identity-driven cooperation versus competition”, with Steven Bosworth, American Economic Review: Papers and Proceedings, 2016, 106(5), in press.



“Hyperbolic Discounting with Positive Optimal Inflation,” with Liam Graham, Macroeconomic Dynamics, April 2013, 17(3), 591-620.

“Envy, Guilt, and the Philips Curve,” with Steffen Ahrens, Kiel Working Paper, 2012, 1754, Kiel Institute for the World Economy.

"Phillips Curve and Unemployment Dynamics: A Critique and a Holistic Perspective", with Marika Karanassou and Hector Sala, Journal of Economic Surveys, 2010, 24(1), 1-51.

"Monetary Persistence, Imperfect Competition and Staggering Complementarities," with Christian Merkl, Macroeconomic Dynamics, 2009, 13(1), 81-106.

“Hyperbolic Discounting and the Phillips Curve,” with Liam Graham, Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Vol. 40, No. 2–3, March–April 2008, pp. 427 - 448.

“Price Dynamics and Production Lags,” (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, May, 1999, 89(2), 81-88.

“Causes of Changing Earnings Inequality,” in Income Inequality: Issues and Policy Options, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 1999.

"How are Product Demand Changes Transmitted to the Labor Market?" (with Assar Lindbeck), Economic Journal, 1994, 104 (423), 386-398;


Public Policy

“Institutions and Training Inequality,” with Wolfgang Lechthaler, European Journal of Political Economy, March 2012, 28(1), 88-104.

“Globalization and the Welfare State,” with Alessio Brown and Christian Merkl, 2009, Journal of Economic Literature, 47:1, 136-158.

“Banking Benefit: Welfare Accounts for the Individual,” with Alession Brown, Politeia Policy Series, 2009, 62.

“Minimum Wages and Training,” with Wolfgang Lechthaler, Labour Economics, 2008, 15(6), 1223-1237.

“How Should Disability Benefits Be Structured?” in Transforming Disability Welfare Policies, ed. by Bernd Marin, Christopher Prinz, and Monika Queisser, Ashgate, 2004, 247-253.

“Designing Employment Subsidies,” with J. Michael Orszag, Labour Economics, 2003, 10(5), October, 557-572.

“Health Accounts and Other Welfare Accounts,” with Stefan Folster, Robert Gidehag, and J. Michael Orszag, Journal for Institutional Comparisons, 2003, 1(3), 9-14.

“Assessing Welfare Accounts,” with Stefan Folster, Robert Gidehag, and J. Michael Orszag, Alternatives for Welfare Policy: Coping with Internationalisation and Demographic Change, ed. by Torben Andersen and Per Molander, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, p. 255-275.

“Incapacity Benefits and Employment Policy,” with J. Michael Orszag, Labour Economics, 2002, 9(5), 631-641.

"Causes of Changing Earnings Inequality," in Income Inequality: Issues and Policy Options, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 1999.

“Anatomy of Policy Complementarities” (with Mike Orszag), Swedish Economic Policy Review, 1998, 5(2), 303-345.

“Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform” (with David T. Coe), IMF Staff Papers, 1997, 44(1), March, 1-35.

“Expanding the Welfare System” (with Mike Orszag), European Economy, 1997, 4, 101-118.

"Does the Free Market Produce Enough Skills?" (with Alison. Booth), in Acquiring Skills, (ed. with Alison Booth), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 1-16.

"The Low-Skill, Bad-Job Trap," in Acquiring Skills (ed. with Alison Booth), Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996, 109-124.

"Converting Unemployment Benefits into Employment Subsidies," American Economic Review, 1994, 84(2), 65-70.

"The Future of the Welfare State," Economic Journal, 1993, 103, May, 700-717.


The Insider-Outsider Theory

 “Can Insider Power Affect Employment?” with Pilar Diaz-Vazquez, German Economic Review, 2003, 4(2), 139-150.

“Insiders versus Outsiders,” with Assar Lindbeck, Journal of Economic Perspectives, 2001, 15(1), Winter, 165-188.

"Interactions between the Efficiency Wage and Insider-Outsider Theory," (with Assar Lindbeck), Economics Letters, 1991, 37(2), Oct., 193-6.

"Do Cooperation and Harassment Explain Involuntary Unemployment?" (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1990, 80(3), June, 167-188.

"Macroeconomic Policy and Insider Power" (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1989, 79(2), 370-376.

"Job Security, Work Incentives and Unemployment (with Assar Lindbeck), Scandinavian Journal of Economics, 1988, 90(4), 454-474;

"Long-term Unemployment Equilibrium and Aggregate Demand", (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1988, 78(2), 38-43.

"Cooperation, Harassment and Involuntary Unemployment" (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1988, 78(1), March , 167-188;

"Union Activity, Unemployment Persistence and Wage-Employment Ratchets" (with Assar Lindbeck), European Economic Review, 1987, 31, Feb, 157-67;

"Wage Setting, Unemployment and Insider-Outsider Relations" (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1986, 76(2), 235-9.

"Wage Rigidity, Union Activity and Unemployment” (with Assar Lindbeck), in Wage Rigidity and Unemployment, ed. by W Beckerman, Duckworth and Johns Hopkins Press, 1986.


The Organization of Work

"Centralized Bargaining and Reorganized Work: Are They Compatible? " (with A. Lindbeck), European Economic Review, 2001, 45(10), 1851-1875;

“Multi-task Learning and the Reorganization of Work” (with Assar Lindbeck), Journal of Labor Economics, 2000, 18(3), 353-376.

“The Organizational Revolution and Its Implications for Job Creation,” in Job Creation: The Role of Labour Market Institutions, ed. by Jordi Gual, London: Edward Elgar, 1998, 49-70.

"Reorganization of Firms and Labor Market Inequality" (with Assar Lindbeck), American Economic Review, 1996, 86(2), 315-321.


Employment and Unemployment

“Comparing the Effectiveness of Employment Subsidies”, with Alessio Brown and Christian Merkl, 2007, Labour Economics, 2011, 18(2), 168-179.

“The Caring Hand that Cripples: The East German Labor Market after Reunification,” American Economic Review, May 2006, 375-382.

“On-the-Job Learning and the Effects of Insider Power,” with Pilar Diaz-Vazquez, Labour Economics, 2006, 13, 317-341.

“How Labor Market Flexibility Affects Unemployment: Long-Term Implications of the Chain Reaction Theory” (with Marika Karanassou), Economic Journal, 1998, 108, May, 832-849.