PhD student

Lara Engelbert

PhD student

Room: MF-C-581


Before starting my PhD project, I graduated from the Research Master Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. During my studies, I developed a strong interest in neurophysiological techniques with a focus on functional MRI. I want to contribute to an interdisciplinary approach that combines the fields of cognitive neuroscience and social / organizational psychology to gain innovative perspectives on human behavior and cognition.

Research interests

I am mainly interested in how individuals, who are considered to be charismatic leaders, can influence and motivate other individuals to set aside their own personal interests in order to cooperate with each other to achieve a common goal. In addition, I am interested in what the neurocognitive and behavioral effects of the perception and exposure to charismatic leadership are and how these vary across different settings, e.g. religion, politics, economics, sports or military.

PhD project

As of September 2018, I started my PhD project on charismatic leadership under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Mark van Vugt, Prof. Dr. Jan Theeuwes and Assistant Prof. Dr. Michal Kandrik , in collaboration with Dr. Michiel van Elk (University of Amsterdam).

The project is aimed at investigating neurocognitive and behavioral effects of exposure to charismatic leadership. Neurocognitive mechanisms are strikingly understudied in current research on charismatic leadership. However, these new insights can eventually clarify our understanding and definition of charismatic leadership as well as its influence on followers.

The project will be highly interdisciplinary as it combines the perspectives and methods of cognitive neuroscience, behavioral economics and social psychology.