Dr Valerie van Mulukom is an Assistant Professor at Coventry University, United Kingdom (Centre for Trust, Peace, and Social Relations), and a Research Associate at the University of Oxford (Centre for the Study of Social Cohesion). Her research spans a broad range of topics, roughly unified within cognitive and evolutionary science of imagination, memory, and belief.
Valerie completed her BA in language and culture studies (cum laude) and MPhil in linguistics (cum laude) at Utrecht University. She completed her doctorate in psychology (Dean’s List in recognition of excellence achieved with the PhD thesis) at the University of Auckland, where she conducted research in the cognitive neuroscience of episodic simulation, or how we imagine future events using our memories of previously experienced events.
After her studies, she obtained two postdoctoral appointments: at Aarhus University, investigating the role of memory in religious rituals, and at the University of Oxford, where she researched the role of memory in identity fusion, a visceral and particularly strong type of social bonding.
Currently, she does research at Coventry University, where she brings together the knowledge and skills of the various fields of research she has worked in, with a focus on the cognitive and evolutionary science of belief.
In addition to her research, Valerie is an editor of the Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion, editor of the Advances in the Cognitive Science of Religion book series, Publications Officer of the International Association for the Cognitive and Evolutionary Sciences of Religion, and review editor on Imagination for the journal Evolutionary Studies in Imaginative Culture.
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Besides working, she loves travelling, photography, cooking, and spending time with her daughter, son, and partner in Oxford.