Dr. Philipp Berger

Mail: philipp.berger ~at med.uni-marburg.de

In November 2018, I completed my PhD in the field of social neuroscience, working for the Translational Neuroimaging Marburg (TNM) Lab under the direction of Prof. Dr. Benjamin Straube (EKFS project).  Besides my scientific career, I have also built up my expertise in the field of Systemic Therapy and Family Therapy (DGSF), and currently work in Child and Youth Services.

My research addresses the neural mechanisms of social-cognitive and communicative abilities in patients with psychiatric disorders. Particularly, in my dissertation, I focus on the modulatory influence of personality and psychopathology on the neural signature of humor processing, pointing at specific alterations in functional connectivity patterns related to clinically-relevant impairments in the affective responsivity to positive emotions in patients with schizophrenia. However, my work also includes the investigation of neural mechanisms underlying other important social-cognitive abilities, such as Theory of Mind processing, and how these processes are altered by the symptomatology of schizophrenia disorders. Finally, my research focuses on the modifiability and enhancement of social-cognitive and communicative processes  throughout long-term intervention for patients with psychiatric disorders.

Research interests:

  • neural mechanisms of  social cognition and humor
  • social cognition in patients with schizophrenia
  • neural plasticity


Bitsch, F., Berger, P., Nagels, A., Falkenberg, I., & Straube, B. (2018). Impaired right temporo-parietal junction – hippocampus connectivity in schizophrenia and its relevance for representing other minds. Schizophrenia Bulletin. https://doi.org/10.1093/schbul/sby132

Berger, P., Bitsch, F., Nagels, A., Straube, B., & Falkenberg, I. (2018). Frontal hypoactivation and alterations in the reward-system during humor processing in patients with schizophrenia spectrum disorders. Schizophrenia Research. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.schres.2018.06.053.

Buttelmann, D. & Berger, P. (2018). Inventing a new measurement for inhibitory control in preschoolers. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. https://doi.org/10.1111/bjdp.12242

Bitsch, F., Berger, P., Nagels, A., Falkenberg, I., Straube, B. (2018). The role of the right temporo-parietal junction in social decision-making. Human Brain Mapping. https://doi.org/10.1002/hbm.24061.

Berger, P., Bitsch, F., Nagels, A., Straube, B., & Falkenberg, I. (2017). Personality modulates amygdala and insula connectivity during humor appreciation: an event-related fMRI study. Social Neuroscience. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17470919.2017.1403375.

Berger, P., Bitsch, F., Bröhl, H., & Falkenberg, I. (2017). Play and playfulness in psychiatry: a selective review. International Journal of Play, 1-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/21594937.2017.1383341.