Anouschka van Dijk
Following the completion of my BSc in Psychology here in Leiden in 2019, I moved to Utrecht University to obtain a research MSc in Neuroscience and Cognition in 2021. Currently, I join the CoPAN lab at the Cognitive Psychology unit as a PhD candidate. Since I began my BSc in Psychology, I have been fascinated by emotions and its influence on social interactions. Why do we tend to smile when others smile at us? What are the consequences of failing to reciprocate these emotions? What causes the inability to mimic emotions, and how does this relate to other emotional deficits? I am excited to be working on this project as a PhD candidate to find the answer to some of these questions.
In my PhD project, I will be investigating different aspects of emotional contagion in autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety disorder under supervision of Prof. dr. Mariska Kret. Emotional contagion can be defined as automatic, subconscious mimicry between individuals. Emotional contagion is a crucial skill in daily life, as these cues give others information regarding our intentions and emotions, which increases understanding and cooperation. Patients with autism spectrum disorder and social anxiety disorder show reduced mimicry and emotion recognition for full-blown facial expressions. However, less focus has been on subtle cues, such as physiological emotional cues and body language.
In this project, I will be focusing on the recognition and mimicry of bodily expressions by using a novel database of genuine emotions to reflect daily functioning. Additionally, I will be investigating distinct visual scanning patterns for non-verbal subtle cues in facial expressions.
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