From basic science to real world
In her PhD, Hagar used brain imaging to explore the human brain mechanisms of emotion perception in a social context. She established novel experimental paradigms which allowed for new exciting discoveries of brain function: she found first neural evidence for the long-held hypothesis associating emotion with preparation for action, underlying social qualities such as compassion, and altruism. She discovered specific brain mechanisms of emotion perception from body kinematics, which reflects more the subjective perception rather than the objective reality. She also demonstrated that the human brain is extremely sensitive to authentic social cues, and can easily distinguish between human-made and very similar randomly made abstract shapes.
Her postdoctoral research is focused on developing novel tools to measure children's empathy in natural settings and ways to translate neuroscience to applied educational practices.