ruud_hortensius Researcher_In_Social_and_Affective_Neuroscience

About me

I'm a postdoctoral researcher in the Social Brain in Action Laboratory within the School of Psychology, Bangor University, Wales. My research is advised by Professor Emily Cross and part of the Social Robots project in which we study how humans perceive and interact with robots. Specifically, I investigate social interactions with humans and artificial agents using neuroimaging,  virtual reality, brain stimulation and behavioural measures.


Prior to this I was a postdoc in the Brain and Emotion Laboratory, Maastricht University, The Netherlands and the Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health at the University of Cape Town, South Africa (2015-2016). In 2016, I defended my Ph.D.-thesis under supervision of Professor Beatrice de Gelder on the neural mechanisms of threat and distress reactivity at Tilburg University.


Before obtaining my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience (2011), I received a BSc in Psychology (2008) and Social Work (2005). During my MSc I worked with dr. Dennis Schutter (Utrecht University) on the combination of electroencephalography and non-invasive brain stimulation in the study of neurophysiological and emotional processes. In 2010, I was a visiting graduate student in the Social Emotive Neuroscience lab of Professor Eddie Harmon-Jones (Texas A&M University, USA), and used non-invasive brain stimulation to investigate the role of the frontal cortex in aggression.

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Last update: Jan 15 2018


*Join us for a workshop on “Cognitive and Social Neuroscience Methods for HRI” at the 13th Annual ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human Robot Interaction held in Chicago (USA) on March 5 2018. Call for papers is now open, check the flyer or the website for more information!


*A popularity contest in the robotic petting zoo! Together with artist-in-residency Merel Bekking, we created an interactive public art performance. In this robotic petting zoo, a small group of vacuuming robots, all with unique characters, competed in a popularity contest. So much fun! Please check this page, the website or this BBC piece for more information.


*Very proud on a forthcoming publication in Current Directions in Psychological Science. Together, with Beatrice de Gelder I propose a new theoretical perspective on bystander apathy that integrates emotional, motivational and dispositional aspects.


*An accepted article in Scientific Reports reports on a project that uses immersive virtual reality to induce a full body ownership illusion that allows offenders to become the victim of domestic abuse. More information on this amazing project I was involved in soon!


*Even more publications, read on the perception of emotions expressed by artificial agents (PsychArXiv pre-print) or humans (article in press in SCAN), or read on how we attribute socialness to artificial agents (PsychArXiv pre-print)!