NWO Veni grant for dr. Mariska Kret

Kurt Lewin Instituut
Heidelberglaan 1
Room Number H1.42
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30 - 253 3027

NWO Veni grant for dr. Mariska Kret

July 18, 2014 - Dr. Mariska Kret (University of Amsterdam) was awarded a Veni grant by NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) for her research project "Role of Pupil-synchronization in Trust".

Many daily decisions are made through quick evaluations of another's trustworthiness, especially when the decision involves strangers. In this process, individuals rely on a partner's tractable characteristics, such as group membership, facial expression and eye gaze. Intriguingly, my own recent research suggests that individuals also respond to their partner's pupil-size (Kret, Tomonaga & Matsuzawa, in press). Pupil-size is an interesting social signal, because it cannot be controlled or faked, in contrast to features such as eye gaze and expression. I showed that seeing someone's pupils dilate promotes trust. In addition, I showed that people synchronize their pupil-size with an observed person. These unprecedented findings suggest a link between autonomic pupil-synchronization and trust. Here I propose to study this relationship at the behavioural and neural level, and examine a targeted set of possible contextual moderators. Objective 1 is to test whether pupil-synchronization with dilating pupils provides feedback that the interaction partner is trustworthy. Objective 2 is to test the neuro-hormonal mechanisms. I predict that pupil-synchronization and subsequent development of trust shows neural overlap with empathy and is strengthened by oxytocin, a hypothalamic neuropeptide involved in social bond-formation and pro-social behavior. Objective 3 is to examine possible moderators by manipulating in/out-group characteristics of the observed. Objective 1 and 3 involve behavioural experiments that manipulate observed or, innovatively, participant's pupil-size and measures, through eye-tracking technology, the putative link between pupil-synchronization and trust. Objective 2 involves an extensive fMRI/eye-tracking study in which oxytocin (vs. placebo) is manipulated, enabling to uncover the neuro-hormonal mechanisms that engage when people synchronize with another's pupil-size. The project primarily intends to build and test new theory, but also has applied relevance for patient care.

Link: http://www.nwo.nl/en/funding/our-funding-instruments/nwo/innovational-research-incentives-scheme/veni/magw/innovational-research-incentives-scheme-veni-magw.html

« back


KLI Conference 2016

KLI Best Paper Award 2016 for Anne Marthe van der Bles, MSc.

News archive...

Planned defences

September 12, 2017
Yujie Cheng


October 6, 2017
Lotte Veenstra
Aula, VU University Amsterdam

All planned defences...

Recent PhD titles

June 19, 2017
Jolien van Breen
University of Groningen

June 6, 2017
Pum Kommattam
Universiteit van Amsterdam

All PhD titles...