Dr. Eliska Prochazkova works as a postdoctoral researcher at the Cognitive Psychology Unit of Leiden University and at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). In her work, Dr. Prochazkova uses neuroscientific methods to understand the biological systems that underlie human’s (pro)social behavior (love, trust collaboration), with the aim to bring these findings towards application(s) in society.
Eliska Prochazkova graduated from Heriot-Watt University, Faculty of Life Sciences, with a First-Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology in 2013. After MSc degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences from the University of Amsterdam in 2015, Prochazkova was awarded the NWO talent grant, which offers talented and ambitious young researchers a platform to carry out their Ph.D. research. In her Ph.D. Prochazkova employed many neuroscientific tools (e.g., pupillometry and fMRI) to understand the neurobehavioral pathways through which emotions influence (pro)social behaviors. For example, in one of her multidisciplinary studies, she tackled the topic of romantic love. In this research, she measured people's nonverbal behavior (eye gaze, facial expression) and physiology (skin conductance and heart rate) during couples’ first dates. This project revealed that overt signals such as smiles, laughter, eye gaze, or the mimicry of those signals were not significantly associated with attraction. Instead, attraction was predicted by synchrony in heart rate and skin conductance between partners, which are covert, unconscious and difficult to regulate. These findings suggest that interpersonal attraction is reflected in subconscious physiological alignment, which opens a completely new avenue for studying human relationships. Prochazkova finished her Ph.D. with Cum laude at CoPAN Lab in 2021.
In August 2020, Prochazkova started her 3-year post-doc position at Leiden University (Faculty of Social Sciences) and National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in which she is developing virtual reality training to better prepare police officers for mentally and emotionally challenging work situations. This research is taking place in two countries: the Czech Republic and the Netherlands and is expected to expand to many more countries in the following years.
Areas of expertise
Emotion perception, mimicry and physiological synchrony, romantic attraction, psychophysiology, Virtual Reality.
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