At the EmEmLab, the overarching research interest is the embodiment of emotions.
In particular, our research explores the idea that when we process emotions in others, we activate areas of the brain that are also active when we experience the same emotions ourselves. This is what is referred to as "embodiment". For example, when observing someone else's emotional facial expression, we "simulate" it (areas of the brain that are active when we express an emotion are also active when we perceive it expressed by someone else, and this is also reflected in facial mimicry: our own face muscles activate as if we were producing that expression). We investigate the role of mimicry in emotion processing and recognition.
However, embodiment also occurs when the emotional stimulus is not present, and is only imagined or talked about. We are also interested in investigating the role of sensory-motor simulation in processing of emotional language.
Our research comprises behavioural, TMS, EEG, psychophysiological and eye-tracking experiments with unimpaired adults (mono- or bilinguals), patients with neurological impairments, typically developing children as well as children with SLI and ASD.