Universiteit Leiden

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Chris Riddell

PhD candidate

C.D. Riddell
+31 71 527 2727

Short CV

I received my Bachelor's degree with Honours in 2016, from the University of Melbourne, Australia. Shortly after, I moved to the Netherlands to study at the University of Amsterdam. Here, I developed a passion for affective neuroscience, and specifically developed a keen interest in the study of emotion processing. In 2019, I received my Master’s in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, graduating cum laude. In 2020, I begun my PhD trajectory in the CoPAN lab at the Cognitive Psychology Unit at Leiden University.
Faces, and specifically the processing of facial emotion, have motivated much of my prior research. How can we decode emotions from facial expressions? And what kinds of facial information do we draw upon to make social decisions? My PhD project touches on these questions, with specific reference to behavioural and physiological mimicry.


Although a number of studies have found that mimicry is present even from early infancy, how (or whether) this develops over the lifespan is largely unknown. Crucially, both the mimicry of behaviours, and synchrony of physiological signals, have been linked to emotional contagion, which may act as the “glue” facilitating prosocial decision-making. My research aims to examine the developmental trajectory of this mimicry process. To this end, I will compare children to adults with respect to how they: express emotions, mimic emotional expressions, and base social decisions on whether such mimicry occurs.
To do this, I take an integrative approach: Combining physiological data (EDA, EMG, heart-rate, thermography, and pupillometry) with machine learning models and behavioural economic paradigms. Ultimately, I aim to elucidate how children’s socioemotional abilities develop across the lifespan, and examine whether this is linked to any developmental changes in mimicry.


Dr. Mariska Kret
Dr. Milica Nikolic

PhD candidate

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Cognitieve Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2B19



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