Universiteit Leiden

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Zuzanna Rucinska


Dr. Z.A. Rucinska
+31 71 527 2031

Fields of interest

Enactive, embodied and extended mind hypotheses. 
Phenomenology and world philosophies. 
Interface between philosophy and developmental psychology, cognitive and dialogical therapy, and sport psychology.      


My research is on the topic of pretence, make-belief and imagination understood from the embodied and enactive perspective. I develop the enactive account of pretend play, focusing on the role of affordances, sensorymotor activities and dynamic systems theory to explain basic forms of pretence without recourse to symbolic and representational capacities. My topic of research includes insight into developmental and evolutionary psychology, Narrative Practice Hypothesis, and development of cognition in children with ASD. I apply the enactive account of pretence to the field of therapy and sport psychology.


I teach Philosophy of Mind, with the focus on modern analytic approaches (cognitivism, computationalism, functionalism, extended mind hypothesis) and latest hot topics (theories of content, consciousness, understanding minds, etc.). The class makes connections to phenomenology and evolutionary psychology (especially animal minds). I also teach History of Western Philosophy at the LUC the Hague campus, with the special focus on classic and early modern philosophy. 


Dr. Zuzanna Rucinska received a BA (cum laude) in Liberal Arts and Sciences, major in psychology, at University College Utrecht (2005), and received two master degrees from Leiden University: MA (cum laude) in Philosophy of Specific Discipline: Psychology (2010) and MSc (cum laude) in Occupational Health Psychology (2010). In 2010 she interned at VSNU (Association of Universities in the Netherlands) in the department of international policy advisory. In 2011 she received a European Commission research grant becoming an Early Stage Researcher of the Marie-Curie Initial Training Network 'TESIS', working alongside Dan Hutto and Shaun Gallagher at the University of Hertfordshire, UK. She completed her PhD and joined Leiden University as a lecturer in 2015. 

Key Publications

1. Rucinska, Z. (2015). “The Many Levels of Intersubjectivity: Comment on Fuchs’ ‘Pathologies of Intersubjectivity in Autism and Schizophrenia’.” Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 2 (1-2), pp. 215-219.

2. Rucinska, Z. and Reijmers, E. (2015). “Enactive Account of Pretend Play and its Application to Therapy.” Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 175. Published online on 2 Mar 2015. Doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.00175.

3. Rucinska, Z. (2014a). “Basic Pretending as Sensorimotor Engagement? Lessons from Sensorimotor Theory for the Debate on Pretence.” In J.M. Bishop & A.O. Martin (Eds.). Contemporary Sensorimotor Theory, Studies in Applied Philosophy, Epistemology and Rational Ethics, 15, 175-187.

4. Rucinska, Z. (2014b). What guides pretence? Towards the interactive and the narrative approaches. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 13 (3).

5. Rucinska, Z. and Reijmers, E. (2014). “Between Philosophy and Therapy: Understanding Systemic Play Therapy through Embodied and Enactive Cognition (EEC).” InterAction: the journal of Solution Focus in organisations, 6(1), 37-52. 



  • Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
  • Instituut voor Wijsbegeerte

Work address

P.J. Veth
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Room number 2.04



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