mw. dr. M.E. (Mariska) Kret MSc

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Work and Organizational Psychology
  • Weesperplein  4
    1018 XA  Amsterdam
    Kamernummer: 3.21
    T:  0205256633

Brief summary of research over the last five years  

My PhD focused on the perception of emotional body language and innovated the field of affective neuroscience that was characterized by an almost exclusive focus on facial expressions. I showed that the brain processes body movements similarly as facial expressions but initiate clearer action patterns. I argued that body language is evolutionary seen older than facial expressions and inspired by Darwins work on emotions and by contemporary primatologists, I experimentally tested this statement in a group of chimpanzees at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute. With use of the emotional dot probe paradigm presented on a touch-screen, I showed that chimpanzees process chimpanzee body language similarly as humans do and I recently extended that line of research with the bonobos in 'de Apenheul'. Thanks to the interactions with these beautiful apes, I developed an interest in the use of eye-signals. Humans are the only species on earth with much visible eye-white that evolved for communicative purposes. Despite this difference with the chimpanzee, I have shown that humans, as well as chimpanzees synchronize their pupil-size with their own species.  In my VENI project (which started in January 2015) I investigate emotion processing, pupil-mimicry, their neurophysiological underpinnings and implications for social decision making in humans as well as in great apes.      

Areas of Expertise    Comparative studies, evolutionary psychology, emotion perception, mimicry and synchronization, social anxiety and depression, fMRI, psychophysiology, oxytocin, multi-level modeling

Read the full article here or here or here


  • M.E. Kret, A.H. Fischer & C.K.W. de Dreu (in press). Pupil-Mimicry Correlates with Trust in In-Group Partners with Dilating Pupils. Psychological Science.
  • M.E. Kret (in press). Emotional expressions beyond facial muscle actions. A call for studying autonomic signals and their impact on social perception. Frontiers in Psychology.
  • C.K.W. de Dreu & M.E. Kret (2015). Oxytocin Conditions Intergroup Relations Through Up-Regulated In Group Empathy, Cooperation, Conformity, and Defense. Biological Psychiatry.
  • M.E. Kret & A. Ploeger (in press). Emotion processing deficits: A liability spectrum providing insights into comorbidity of mental disorders. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews.








  • M.E. Kret (2014). The perception of emotional body language in the bonobo. Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen Dr. J.L. Dobberke Stichting. € 3.630,-. Recognition.
  • M.E. Kret (2014). NWO VENI grant. Role of Pupil-synchronization in Trust. Recognition.
  • M.E. Kret (2012). Funding for project "Emotion perception in humans and chimpanzees". Recognition.
  • M.E. Kret (2012). Visiting researcher at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute. Recognition.
  • M.E. Kret (2011). Post-doctoral position for six months at the Kyoto University Primate Research Institute. Recognition.


  • M.E. Kret & L. Colzato (2015). Symposium at the International Convention of Psychological Science.
  • M.E. Kret (2015). Organizing Committee Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie- winter conference in Egmond aan Zee.
  • M.E. Kret & A. Ploeger (2014). Evolutionary Psychology & Primatology.
  • M.E. Kret & L. Colzato (2014). NVP symposium on "hot cognition".
  • M.E. Kret (2013). Wintercongres Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie.
  • M.E. Kret (2013). Organizing Committee Nederlandse Vereniging voor Psychonomie- winter conference in Egmond aan Zee.
  • M.E. Kret (2012). Mini-symposium about oxytocin and testosterone.
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