Eliska Prochazkova, PhD

Postdoctoral researcher

Eliska graduated from Heriot-Watt University, Faculty of Life Sciences, with a First-Class Honours degree in Applied Psychology in 2013. She finished her Master’s degree in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Amsterdam in 2015. In the final year of her MSc degree, she has been awarded the NWO talent grant which offers talented and ambitious young researchers a platform to pursue a scientific career and carry out their Ph.D. research.

Eliska started her Ph.D. position at Leiden University (CoPAN Lab) in October 2015. In her Ph.D. project, Eliska explored the role of synchronization in social interaction while employing the neuroscientific tools available to study these processes (e.g. pupillometry, skin conductance reactivity, and fMRI). Her research demonstrates that people synchronize their pupil sizes with each other, which promotes activation in the social brain regions and trust evaluations. Apart from fMRI, in her field research, she measured couples’ physical synchrony during real-life dating interactions, outside of traditional laboratory settings (on Festivals and cultural events). In this research, she found that synchrony in heart rate and skin conductance boosts attraction between newly met people. She also explored the function of mimicry with the use of optical illusion and brain stimulation. Together her research merges cognitive neuroscience and social science in an effort to understand the neurobehavioral pathways through which emotions influence (pro)social behaviors. Eliska finished her Ph.D. with Cum laude in April 2021.

Importantly, the overarching aim of Eliska’s research is to provide implications for further applied research. This is why in August 2020, Eliska started her 3-year post-doc position at Leiden University (Faculty of Social Sciences) in which she will develop virtual reality training to better prepare police officers for mentally challenging work situations. This research will take place in two countries: the Czech Republic and the Netherlands.

Her research is supported by the NWO Research Talent Programme 2015 and TACR grant agency 2020.

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Professor at Leiden University