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Centre for Music and Science



Gabriela Pavarini doctoral research explored people’s capacity to set aside self-interest, help one another, and establish strong interpersonal bonds. She completed her B.A. in Psychology at the Federal University of Sao Carlos, Brazil. During her undergraduate years, she conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Debora H. Souza, investigating how children’s emotion understanding affects empathic responding and friendship bonds. 

In 2010 she was awarded a Cambridge Santander Scholarship to pursue an MPhil in Social and Developmental Psychology at the University of Cambridge. Her M.Phil. dissertation, jointly supervised by Dr. Simone Schnall and Dr. Mary-Helen Immordino-Yang, focused on prosocial emotions. In particular, she looked at people’s ability to feel moved and inspired by others’ expressions of virtue, and how such feelings differ from those that arise from witnessing exemplary non-moral behaviour (e.g., a skilful acrobat).

Gabriela started reading for a PhD in Psychology at the Embodied Cognition and Emotion Lab, funded by the Cambridge International Scholarship Scheme before coming to the CMS to be sueprvised by Ian Cross. Her PhD thesis centres on biobehavioural synchrony – that is, the emergence of linkage between interaction partners’ physiology (e.g., heart rate) and behaviour during interpersonal contacts. She wants to understand what leads people to be ‘in sync’ with others, and how this process may support bond formation.

Research Interests

Synchrony; Social emotion; Virtue ethics; Cooperation; Prosocial behaviour; Morality


Key publications: 

Pavarini, G., & Schnall, S. (in press). Is the glass of kindness half empty or half full? Positive and negative reactions to others’ expressions of virtue. In H. Sarkissian & J. Wright (Eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. London: Bloomsbury.


Pavarini, G., Souza, D. H., & Hawk, C. K. (2012). Parental practices and theory of mind development. Journal of Child and Family Studies. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9643-8

Postdoctoral researcher, Neuroscience Ethics & Society Team, Department of Psychiatry, University of Oxford
Dr Gabriela  Pavarini
Not available for consultancy