ruud_hortensius Researcher_In_Social_and_Affective_Neuroscience

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Threat Reactivity

Detection and recognition are two parallel processes that drive the variety of responses to threatening situations. From freezing, to flight or fight. In a series of experiments, we investigated the independence of detection and recognition and the relation with awareness as reflected in measures of physiology, phenomenology, and behavior. Two separate but interrelated pathways allow for both detection-mediated automatic reactions independent of awareness and recognition-mediated deliberate reactions to threat.

Selected Publications

Hortensius R., de Gelder B & Schutter D.J.L.G. (2016). When anger dominates the mind – increased motor corticospinal excitability in the face of threat, Psychophysiology, 53:1307-1316. [pdf]


Hortensius R., van Honk J., de Gelder B. & Terburg, D. (2014). Trait dominance promotes reflexive staring at masked angry body postures. PLoS ONE, 9: e116232. [pdf] [data]


Zhan M., Hortensius R., & de Gelder B. (2015). The body as a tool for anger awareness - Differential effects of angry facial and bodily expressions on suppression from awareness. PLoS ONE, 10: e0139768. [pdf] [data]

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Last update: September 12 2018 (publications)


---News---

*A popularity contest in the robotic petting zoo will be part of the British Science Festival on September 14! Together with artist-in-residency Merel Bekking, we created an interactive public art performance. In this robotic petting zoo, a small group of vacuuming robots, all with unique characters, competed in a popularity contest. So much fun! Please check this page, the website or this BBC piece for more information.


*Our review paper on the attribution of socialness to artificial agents has been published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences as part of the Year in Cognitive Neuroscience issue. In this review we discuss how the cognitive reconstruction within the human observer shapes human-robot interaction at the brain and behavioural level. Read the the article here.


*A review on the perception of emotion in artificial agents is in press in IEEE Transactions on Cognitive and Developmental Systems. In the review we integrate recent findings from social robotics, virtual reality, psychology, and neuroscience to examine how people recognize and respond to emotions displayed by robotic and virtual agents, and provide guiding principles for future development and research. Read the PsychArXiv pre-print here, the accepted version here or see the poster for the CERE conference here.


*Why do we fail to help during an emergency in the presence of other people? Together, with Beatrice de Gelder I propose a new theoretical perspective on bystander apathy that integrates emotional, motivational and dispositional aspects. Out now in Current Directions in Psychological Science.


---Coming soon---

*A preprint entitled: “Socialising with a robot and the flexibility of empathy”.