The team

Prof. Dr. Emilie A. Caspar – Lab’s leader

I am an Associate Professor at Ghent University (Belgium). After a master degree in neuropsychology and cognitive psychology and a certificate in forensic sciences and psychiatry, I realized a PhD in social and cognitive neurosciences at the Université libre de Bruxelles (Belgium) with Axel Cleeremans. I stayed at University College London (UK) during one year and a half in the lab of Patrick Haggard and I obtained a Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship to realize a 2-years postdoc at the Netherlands Institute for Neurosciences (NL) with Christian Keysers and Valeria Gazzola.

I developed my main expertise on themes related to obedience to authority: How obedience to an authority changes individual cognition? Why obeying orders impacts moral behaviors? What neuro-cognitive mechanisms play a role in preventing individuals from complying with immoral orders? When approaching those themes, I started working with NGO and non-academics institutions and I started to understand that restricting myself to the WEIRDs will not give me a global overview of the societal impact of my research. I thus started to initiate scientific projects in countries and populations that are never or barely not approached by neuroscientists, such as inmates, military or perpetrators and survivors of a genocide.

I also work as a scientific consultant to offer my expertise in behavioral neuroscience for humanitarian and societal projects (Be Brain Consultancy). I use methods from psychology and neuroscience in order to develop efficient tools to prevent blind obedience and promote peace-building.

Contact: Emilie.Caspar@Ugent.be / Twitter: @CasparEmilie

Elodie Kox, Ph.D. student

After my law studies, I worked as a lawyer at the Brussels Bar for several years. Interested in the creations of the mind and in human cognition in general, I have always been interested in understanding human behaviors and interactions better and thus, in parallel to my work, I started a new degree in psychology.

My research focuses on the influence of prison on individuals (inmates and prison guards). More specifically, the main aim of my PhD is to investigate the potential influence of restrictions in the possibilities of choice of action arising from the coercive nature of prison on two specific cognitive processes related to decision-making: The sense of agency and empathy for pain.

Contact: Elodie.Kox@Ugent.be

Guillaume Pech, Pre-doctoral student

I graduated from the master in cognitive sciences in University of Lyon Lumière 2 (France) in 2021. After travelling to Rwanda with Emilie for the project on former perpetrators of the genocide and survivors, I started a position of research assistant for a project dedicated to understand how a video game with fictional characters can help to reduce intergroup biases towards minorities. This project is conducted in collaboration with the Dutch NGO Radio La Benevolencija.

I am currently preparing a PhD thesis application on decision-making. I plan to use methods such as EEG, computational modeling and machine learning.

Contact: guillaumepech.cog@gmail.com