October 18 – 19, 2018 “Empathy and Theory of Mind “
EPP Symposium

People with psychiatric diagnoses often present with alterations in empathy and Theory of Mind. This may contribute to interpersonal problems, a lower quality of life, and a worse prognosis. Conversely, improvement in empathy and Theory of Mind may contribute to better clinical outcomes. Therefore, it is important to study and understand empathy and Theory of Mind in the context of psychopathology.

In this symposium you will learn about various ways of studying empathy and Theory of Mind, about their biological basis, and about their interpersonal nature (day 1). The role of empathy and Theory of Mind in the onset and maintenance of psychopathology will also be discussed (day 2).

Oct 18 & 19, 2018

Kapellerput, Heeze, NL



Anne Meulders (KU), Bruno Verschuere (UvA), Marije aan het Rot (RUG),

Thursday October 18
10.30 – 11.00 Walk-in with Coffee/Tea
11.00 – 12.00 Empathy and Theory of Mind: Fundamentals – William Ickes (University of Texas)
12.00 – 13.00 Lunch
13.00 – 14.00 The empathic brain – Christian Keijsers (University of Amsterdam)
14.00 – 14.45 Measuring Empathy and Theory of Mind: Promises and Pitfalls – Marije aan het Rot (RUG)
14.45 – 15.15 Coffee
15.15 – 16.15 The importance of developmental cognitive models for understanding empathy impairments in psychopathy, autism, and alexithymia- Essi Viding (UCL)
16.15 – 17.30 ASSIGNMENT Solving key solutions in empathy research

– break-up in groups, each tackling a key challenge introduced by one of the keynotes (including coffee): designing a study that solves the challenge
– coached by keynote speakers [halfway, coaches switch]
– end with 2min pitch (max 1 slide) of study
19.00 – late Dinner

Friday October 19
09.00 – 11.00 PhD Talks:
1.In the spotlight: experimental research to improve the treatment of anxiety and trauma
Suzanne van Veen – UU
2.Power of mind: attentional focus rather than palatability dominates neural responding to visual food stimuli
Sieske Fransen – UM
3.Effectiveness of stress-reducing interventions on response to challenges to the immune system
Lemmy Schakel – LEI
4.Virtual eCoaching and Storytelling technology for post traumatic stress disorder treatment in veterans and victims of childhood sexual abuse’
Marieke van Meggelen – EUR
11.00 – 11.15         Coffee
11.15 – 12.15 Empathy and Theory of Mind: Research findings and Applications – William Ickes (University of Texas)
12.15 – 13.15 Lunch
13.15 – 14.15 The role of empathy during child-parent interactions on pain experiences – Laura Simons (Stanford)
14.15 –14.30 The role of empathy in aggression and conduct disorder – Minet de Wied (Utrecht University)
14.30 – 15.30 Closing
15.30   End