Professor at Leiden University

Ph.D. Workshop. Connecting minds and sharing emotions through wires and neurons in man and animal

Date: July 5th, from 10.00-18.15

Place: Leiden University, room: bestuurskamer (1st floor of the Pieter de La Court Building, Wassenaarseweg 52, Leiden)

For registration or more information:



Why do we express emotions? How does our brain process these incoming signals from others and connect them with our own feelings? Are the same processes at stake in other animals, and can we simulate them with artificial intelligence or evoke them through games? This workshop focusses on the functional, evolutionary based approaches to emotion expression as an adaptation to social living.

During this intimate workshop, up to 25 Ph.D. students from the fields of biology and psychology will discuss these and other questions with experts in the fields of primatology, psychology, robotics and social neuroscience.

During the Ph.D. trajectory, scholars tend to zoom in on one very specific topic and become expert on it, but at the same time, sometimes hide in their little niche and miss out on opportunities. The goal here is therefore to help Ph.D. students view their specific topic in the bigger picture and connect with researchers from different scientific fields who often struggle with similar questions, but take a completely different perspective.



  • Bridget Waller, University of Portsmouth, UK.

Dr Bridget Waller is a Reader in Evolutionary Psychology at the University of Portsmouth. The overarching focus of her work is the evolution of facial expression, and she uses species-specific modifications of FACS (Facial Action Coding System) to make anatomically based, systematic comparisons between species. FACS systems have been developed for use with a range of primate species, plus domestic dogs, cats and horses. Here, she will provide an overview of FACS and how it can be used to analyse facial expression in humans and other animals. In an interactive session you will then have the opportunity to practice using FACS to code and compare facial expressions between species.


  • Eglantine Julle-Daniere, University of Portsmouth, UK.

Eglantine Julle-Daniere is conducting her PhD research under the supervision of Dr. Bridget Waller. Her PhD research focuses on social cognition and non-verbal communication in humans. As a certified FACS-coder, she will assist during the interactive FACS-workshop.


  • Lola Canamero, University of Hertfordshire, UK.

Lola Canamero’s main research interests center around the study of adaptive intelligent behavior, which she explores with artificial autonomous creatures. She focuses on motivated behavior and social interactions, with particular emphasis on the role(s) that emotional phenomena play in them.


  • Simone Shamay-Tsoory, University of Haifa, Israel.

Simone Shamay-Tsoory aims to understand the neural mechanisms underlying social cognition and emotional experiences. In her research, she focuses on the cognitive and emotional consequences of brain pathologies whether psychiatric, acquired or developmental. In addition, she examines emotional and cognitive brain functions in healthy subjects using imaging and brain stimulation techniques.


  • Maarten Lamers, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Maarten Lamers works as an assistant professor at the Institute of Advanced Computer Science Unit of Leiden University. He is very active in teaching and in the Media Technology MSc program in particular. His research interests include bio-digital hybrid systems, animal-computer interaction, scientific playfulness and creativity.


  • Mariska Kret, Leiden University, the Netherlands.

Mariska Kret works as an assistant professor at the cognitive psychology unit of Leiden University and leads the lab group CoPAN, Comparative Psychology and Affective Neuroscience.

In her research, Mariska Kret aims to get insight into the psychological and neurophysiological underpinnings of social decision making in humans as well as in great apes.


10.00-11.00 Coffee in restaurant
11.00-11.30 Mariska Kret Leiden University, NL Opening and comparative perspective on social cognition
11.30-12.30 Simone Shamay-Tsoory


University of Haifa, Israel Neuroendocrine underpinnings of social cognition
12.30-13.15 Lunch    
13.15-14.00 Bridget Waller University of Portsmouth, UK Facial expressions across species. Background of FACS
14.00-14.30 Bridget Waller  & Eglantine Julle-Daniere University of Portsmouth, UK Students practice with FACS
14.30-15.00 Coffee    
15.00-16.00 Lola Canamero University of Hertfordshire, UK Emotion modelling/robotics
16.00-16.30 Maarten Lamers Leiden University, NL Games & animals
16.30-17.00 Discussion in small groups
17.00-17.30 Plenary discussion
17.30-18.15 Drinks in restaurant

This workshop is funded by EPOS Graduate Education Network and NVG, the Dutch Society for Behavioral Biology

NVG logo epos logologo_groot

Latest news
Latest blog