Inbal Ben-Ami Bartal

Inbal is a neuroscientist with an interdisciplinary background in psychology, biology and philosophy. She is an expert in the field of empathy and prosocial behavior. Her work combines diverse methods, including neuroimaging techniques and the use of rodent models to understand how observing the pain of others mobilizes individuals to help, and the conditions in which empathy fails. Empathy, and the motivation to help, tend to be selectively activated for affiliated others.

Inbal’s research demonstrates that helping in rats is biased towards in-group members, just as it is in humans. Importantly, the motivation to help out-group members can be elicited by positive social experience with other rats belonging to the same out-group.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the principles governing prosocial motivation are rooted in biologically ancient processes. This realization has important implications for any attempts to inhibit aggression and induce pro-social behavior toward out-group members. Inbal hopes that her work will help in developing novel strategies for conflict resolution and peace consolidation.

Inbal received her Ph.D in Integrative Neuroscience from the University of Chicago, and is currently a Miller research fellow at UC Berkeley. Her research has been published in peer-reviewed journals and featured internationally on NPR, PBS’s NOVA, The Washington Post, Wired, Discover Magazine, National Geographic, NBC, Scientific American, The New York Times, Le Figaro, The Daily Telegraph, and others.