ESR1 Anna Trimborn

Trinity College Dublin
Supervised by Prof. A. Bokde
I study what happens in the brain when confronted with hate – the neuronal correlates of hate in bystanders.

Project Synopsis

Project title: The neurological basis of hate and impact on bystanders.

To date, little is known about the neural correlates of hate. There are no ‘hate databases’ which would allow the experimental study of the nature and impact of hate. In our project, we will therefore develop a database of hate and other complex emotions to understand the neural underpinnings of hatred. To study the neuronal correlates of hate, we will employ neuroimaging techniques, so the brain activity of healthy volunteers will be recorded using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). As another part of the project, we will conduct an online survey to investigate people’s understanding of ‘hate’, focusing in particular on a young, adolescent population. Planned secondments at the University of Helsinki, at the Glencree Centre for Peace and Reconciliation and at Google Ireland will facilitate the database and survey development and complement the training.  


ESR 1 (Anna Trimborn) presented at the Padova Open Neuroscience Symposium (07.10.2022, University of Padova), “Grappling with Context in Neuroscientific Research: from Action Recognition to Hate.”


Anna Trimborn is a PhD candidate at Trinity College Dublin, working in the Institute of Neuroscience. During her M.Sc. in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition, and Behaviour (NL) Anna conducted her thesis research using brain imaging techniques (fMRI) and advanced machine-learning approaches to investigate how individuals understand other agents’ actions by taking available contextual information into account. Particularly those methodological skills in study-design and programming abilities prepare her well to approach the effects of hate from a neuroscientific angle in the NETHATE consortium. In her Bachelor, Anna studied Psychology with a minor in Sociology at the University of Jena (GER) and the University of Kent (UK). In her thesis she focused on the implicit learning of statistical regularities using brain stimulation, which led to her first co-authored publication. Besides her studies, Anna volunteered in a housing project for adolescents with psychological difficulties and as a scholarship ambassador, helping students from underrepresented backgrounds to get the (financial) support they need to attend university. Anna is truly excited to be part of NETHATE, because the interdisciplinary set-up with exciting secondments fosters the application of scientific results to create positive change in society, which is what she thrives for.