The world's leading empathy researcher accused of intimidating colleagues

Dr. Tania Singer is recognized worldwide for her research on the neuroscience of empathy, but those who have worked with her say that she intimidates and intimidates her colleagues

The world's leading empathy researcher has been accused of harassment by dozens of colleagues.

Dr. Tania Singer heads the ReSource Project of the Max Planck Institute, a massive research project aimed at showing that meditation can help people be kinder and take care of others.

But a new Science article reveals that she was anything but empathic with her younger colleagues.

The neuroscientist allegedly reduced the students to tears in her laboratory and even told one that she would have to "compensate". your maternity leave.

Dr. Tania Singer is recognized worldwide for her research on the neuroscience of empathy, but those who have worked with her say that she intimidates and intimidates her colleagues

Dr. Tania Singer is recognized worldwide for her research on the neuroscience of empathy, but those who have worked with her say that she intimidates and intimidates her colleagues

Dr. Singer heads the department of social neuroscience at the Max Planck Institute, where she studies compassion in the brain and has argued that the integration of her work could even transform the global economy.

But if empathy is able to see and identify with the perspective of another person and use it to inform actions, Dr. Singer strives to apply her own research, according to the accounts of her colleagues.

Eight people with whom he has worked or with whom he still works witnessed in mostly anonymous interviews with Kai Kupferschmidt, a journalist from Science who wrote a very positive and different account of Dr. Singer five years ago.

In what Kupferschmidt called a "piece of accompaniment" for his predecessor, the laboratory workers told that they left the tearful conversations and worked terrified with the scientist who was supposed to be their boss and mentor.

"When someone had a meeting with her, there was at least a chance that she would come out crying," the person who worked with Dr. Singer in the past told Science.

Dr. Singer allegedly hit others by getting pregnant.

"For her, having a baby was basically being irresponsible and disappointing the team," said an anonymous lab member.

A former member of the lab, Bethany Kok, stepped forward and spoke on the disc with Science, telling Kai Kupferschmidt that Dr. Singer congratulated her for the first time, and then completely changed her tone the next day.

"He started yelling at me that I did not have a charity, that I was a vagabond and that I was going to work twice as hard for the time I would leave," Kok said.

When she aborted one of the twins she was pregnant with and had to go to an urgent medical appointment, Kok states that Dr. Singer told her that he was not paying me to go to the doctor in an email and forbade him to do so. more appointments during work hours.

He started shouting at me that I did not have a charity, that I was a lazy guy and that I was going to work twice as hard for the time I would leave.

Bethany Kok, former colleague of Dr. Tania Singer

The pattern has been going on for years, and this is not the first time that Dr. Singer's behavior has been criticized.

Last year, the Max Planck Institute conducted an investigation into Dr. Singer's behavior, but says that the information it contains is confidential.

Dr. Singer blamed her volatile behavior largely for the stress of the work she did with her colleagues.

During the mediation procedures of 2017, she said that her behavior came from "problems associated with my exhaustion due to having to carry and be responsible for [a] Huge and complex study & # 39;

In an email to members of his lab, Dr. Singer said: "One problem is surely that I have clearly underestimated the challenges associated with our ReSource study … [and] the conflict between the project's need for long-term continuity and loyalty, on the one hand, and the researchers' own divergent needs to move forward with their own careers and lives. "

At the conclusion of the process, Dr. Singer announced that she would take a sabbatical year throughout 2018.

She is still out of the lab, but according to the university's "separation plan," Dr. Singer will be allowed to return in January 2019 with a "new beginning."

Some of the researchers who have worked with Dr. Singer told Science that they were disappointed that the Max Planck Institute appeared to be on the side of the famous scientist.

"I was hoping they would take the problems of their institutes seriously and act not only on behalf of their directors, but also on behalf of their employees," one told Science.

"However, every decision was always dragged, the communication was not transparent and top-down, and finally a solution was presented to the employees that is really a solution for Tania."

She may be returning to a relatively empty laboratory. The research group once has 20 members. Now, they count only five.

(function() {
var _fbq = window._fbq || (window._fbq = []);
if (!_fbq.loaded) {
var fbds = document.createElement(‘script’);
fbds.async = true;
fbds.src = “http://connect.facebook.net/en_US/fbds.js”;
var s = document.getElementsByTagName(‘script’)[0];
s.parentNode.insertBefore(fbds, s);
_fbq.loaded = true;
}
_fbq.push([‘addPixelId’, ‘1401367413466420’]);
})();
window._fbq = window._fbq || [];
window._fbq.push([“track”, “PixelInitialized”, {}]);
.