DR Pascal Molenberghs

DR Pascal Molenberghs


  • Neuroscience (Social Neuroscience)
  • Psychology (Social Neuroscience)



  • I obtained my Master of Psychology degree (specialising in social- and neuropsychology) from the University of Leuven (Belgium). During my master thesis, I investigated the influence of status and power on discrimination between groups. I also did a research internship at the University of Birmingham with Prof. Glyn Humphreys, working with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and stroke patients who suffered from spatial neglect.

    For my doctoral thesis (completed 2009), I worked with Prof. Rik Vandenberghe at the University of Leuven investigating attentional processes with fMRI and attentional problems with stroke patients. 

    After my PhD I moved to Australia to work as a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Queensland (UQ) with Prof. Jason Mattingley at the Queensland Brain Institute. Here I investigated the neural responses involved in the perception of actions and studied links between the perception and execution of actions using fMRI. 

    In 2011, I received a UQ Postdoctoral Fellowship and moved to the School of Psychology at UQ. From 2015 until the end of 2017, I was a Senior Lecturer in Social Neuroscience at Monash University where I was supported by a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (2015-2019) and Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) Fellowship (2013-2015). 

    Since 2018, I am a Senior Research Fellow in the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne supported by a Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (2015-2019). 

    My lab uses a range of techniques to examine the neural processes underlying social and organisational behaviour. Our current research is focused on three domains: 

    1. The neuroscience of ingroup bias. 

    2. Theory of Mind problems in stroke patients. 

    3. The organisational neuroscience of leadership, stress, and workplace stress management. 



Selected publications


Additional Grant Information

  • NHMRC Project Grant (2018-2020), “Neurophysiology of attention deficits after right hemisphere stroke”. Mark Bellgrove, Jason Mattingley, Redmond O’Connell, Pascal Molenberghs, Peter New, Rene Stolwyk (A$611,742). 

    Animals Australia (2017), “How do conventional and confrontational animal advocacy campaigns influence personal and political mobilization?” Emma Thomas, Winnifred Louis, Catherine Amiot, Pascal Molenberghs, Monique Crane, Jean Decety ($24,807 USD). 

    Faculty 2017 Platform Access Grant (2017), “A novel fMRI paradigm to measure empathy and theory of mind problems in stroke patients”, Pascal Molenberghs (A$9000). 

    Psychology 2015 Strategic Grant Scheme (2015), “Overcoming trauma: a real-time fMRI neurofeedback intervention using virtual reality”, Pascal Molenberghs, Laura Jobson, Valentina Lorenzetti, Murat Yucel, Chao Suo and Juan Dominguez (A$14,400). 

    2015 Young Tall Poppy Science Award. Paul Korner Innovation Award (2015-2018) for most successful Heart Foundation Future Leadership Fellowship (A$20,000). 

    Heart Foundation Future Leader Fellowship (2015-2018), “The prevalence and neural substrates of theory of mind deficits following stroke: A neuroimaging investigation” (A$520,000). 

    ARC Discovery Project (2013-2015), “The neuroscience of group membership and its effects on action perception and empathy”. Pascal Molenberghs and Jean Decety (A$275,000). 

    Discovery Early Career Researcher Award Fellowship (2013-2015), “How do we become aware of stimuli in our spatial environment?” (A$374,973). 

    UQ Major Equipment and Infrastructure (MEI) Grant, “High definition transcranial direct current stimulation system for use during functional magnetic resonance imaging”. Marcus Meinzer, David Copland, Sandy Brauer, Greig de Z   


Education and training

  • PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 2009
  • MS, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 2003

Awards and honors

  • Not in List, 2015


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • My lab uses a range of neuroimaging techniques to study our social and affective brain. Potential PhD students can always contact me by email.