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Mariska Kret receives new science prize for groundbreaking research

Professor Mariska Kret has received the Mercator Sapiens Stimulus, a new science prize from the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). The prize consists of a sum of 1m euros.

The prize is for a talented young scientist who conducts innovative, groundbreaking research. Kret conducts research into emotions from a comparative and evolutionary perspective. She researches emotions in not only humans but also animal species that are closely related to humans, such as chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans. This involves working with various zoos and using new methods.

‘How Kret and her researchers use computer tasks is unique in the Netherlands. It allows her to look a level deeper than facial expressions and body language, which can be observed with the naked eye, and to reveal the mechanism behind that observable behaviour’, KHMW writes.

Kret received an Ig Nobel Prize for finding that physiological synchrony plays an important role in blind dates. To reach this conclusion, she conducted research on visitors to the Lowlands music festival, among others. Her popular science book Tussen glimlach en grimas (2022), monthly science column in NRC Handelsblad, public lectures and media appearances allow her to reach a wide audience.

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