Valerie has a diverse educational background, starting with a BA in Language and Culture Studies (Utrecht University, graduated cum laude) and a MPhil in Linguistics (Utrecht University, graduated cum laude) in the Netherlands, and finishing with a PhD in Psychology (University of Auckland, Dean’s List for Excellence achieve with the doctoral thesis) in New Zealand. Her doctoral work focused on the cognitive neuroscience of episodic memory and future event imagination.
After her PhD, she moved to work in the cognitive science of religion, and completed a postdoctoral project at Aarhus University, Denmark, where she investigated the intersection between religious ritual and episodic memory (see ‘Remembering religious rituals’ paper). After Aarhus, she joined the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology, University of Oxford, where she worked on religion, memory, and group processes as part of the Ritual, Community, and Conflict project. In March 2016, she joined the Brain, Belief, and Behaviour group at Coventry University as Research Associate. She is currently still involved in several projects at ICEA, primarily focused on identity fusion and its underlying cognitive mechanisms in various populations.
Valerie’s primary interests are in the cognitive science/psychology of belief, and the cognitive underpinnings episodic memory and imagination (how we mentally construct events). Her research takes place in the overlap between beliefs, imagination, memory, and creativity. An additional interest is unbelief, or so-called ‘secular’ beliefs: the ontological, epistemological, and ethical beliefs that non-religious individuals hold, and their functions.
Farias, M., van Mulukom, V., Kahane, G., Kreplin, U., Joyce, A., Soares, P., Oviedo, L., Hernu, M., Rokita, K., Savulescu, J., and Möttönen, R. (accepted). Cognition and Religion: Evidence Against the Supernatural Intuitive Belief Hypothesis. Scientific Reports.
van Mulukom, V. (2017). Remembering Religious Rituals: Autobiographical Memories of High-Arousal Religious Rituals Considered from a Narrative Processing Perspective. Religion, Brain & Behavior 7(3), 191-205.
Roberts, R.P., Wiebels, K., Sumner, R.L., van Mulukom, V., Grady, C.L., Schacter, D.L., Addis, D.R. (2016). An fMRI investigation of the relationship between future imagination and cognitive flexibility. Neuropsychologia 95, 156-172.
van Mulukom, V., Schacter, D.L., Corballis, M.C., & Addis, D.R. (2016). The degree of disparateness of event details modulates future simulation construction, plausibility, and recall. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology 69.2 (special feature on Episodic Future Thinking), 234-242. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2015.1051559