Cognitive processes

Beliefs and no evidence

The majority of human beings are inclined to believe in things that are unfounded (without scientific evidence). Many of us believe, for example, in several gods, in the existence of supernatural powers, or in the efficiency of superstitious rituals and behaviours. Others willingly spend money on healing remedies whose effectiveness has not been scientifically verified. Lately, we became interested in the belief that we are able to detect lies, because in reality, we are not capable, we seem to guess.

Our research is interested in the links between such beliefs, personality, and cognitive biases. We are interested in the correlations, and the causality of these correlations.

Colour psychology

Colours shape our environment. Humans are rarely indifferent about them, in particular when they are salient. Popular opinion assumes that colours can even interact with our affective state, may it be in the form of mood changes or wellbeing. Given the current published scientific literature, we are very sceptical that general claims can be made regarding colour-affect relationships. So far, we miss a sufficient number of systematic investigations that adhere to common empirical standards. With our studies, we aim to enrich the scientific literature that will eventually inform on how colour can be linked to affect in a reliable and valid manner. Our different projects encompass three lines of expertise: i) experimental paradigms from cognitive psychology, ii) theoretical frameworks from emotion psychology, and iii) knowledge on colour science in everyday applications.

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In our brain, we have two hemispheres. These hemispheres do not have the same functions. In patients, we know about their specialization because of lesion studies. In healthy participants, we perform lateralized half-field studies. In our laboratory, we are investigating which functions are lateralized to which hemisphere. In particular, we developed a lateralized lexical decision task usable in different languages. We also evaluate the right hemisphere’s language and spatial abilities, assess the link between personality, creativity and hemispheric asymmetry. Recently, we also started to test the importance of right-handed gestures for language development in children.