Bert Timmermans


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    While we can easily think about people, who they are, why they do what they do, etc., most of the time we don't need to engage in such thoughts or inferences before we are able to interact with someone. In fact, if you start thinking about exactly what you both are doing and why, social interaction will soon break down. I'm interested in what social interaction brings to the table, how embodiment and being a two-agent system creates new dynamics that determine how the interaction will develop, and which individual cognitive processes are changed by this interaction. In particular, does the experience of others' reactions modify our behaviour in the long run via reward processing, does it change the way we feel about our own actions and our sense of agency? In parallel, I've been studying how subjective ratings of visual awareness reflect conscious content, and am specifically interested in the difference between conscious and unconscious processes, in particular as the latter play a more central role in social interaction.

    Apply for a BBSRC EastBio PhD project "Sense of agency in interactions with AI versus humans" (deadline 27/11/2023, for a 1/10/2024 start)

    Current SInC lab members:
    L. Aldrich (PhD student, visual perspective taking / imagery)
    C.A. Silver (PhD student, sense of agency in social interaction)
    M. Kasprzyk (PhD student, behavioural effects of social interaction-related reward)
    L. Weinreich (PhD student external supervisor, cyber-bullying & learning disorders)

    Former SInC lab members:
    A. Chaliou (PhD student, psychopathic traits and social facial expressions, 2023)
    C.J. Luke (Postdoc, Dual Interactive eye tracking w Virtual Avatars, 2016-17)
    I. Barišić (RA, Dual Interactive eye tracking w Virtual Avatars, 2010-13, Cologne)
    S. Schwarzkopf (RA, perspective taking in autism, 2010-12, Cologne)


    • 2019– Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor), University of Aberdeen
    • 2013–2019 Lecturer (Assistant Professor), University of Aberdeen
    • 2012 Volkswagen Foundation Fellow, Social Cognition Group, UH Cologne
    • 2010–2011 Marie Curie Fellow, Social Cognition Group, UH Cologne
    • 2007–2009 Research Fellow, CO3 Group, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    • 2000–2006 R&T Assistant, Social Psychology Lab, Vrije Universiteit Brussel


    • 2006 PhD in Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
    • 1999 Master in Cognitive Sciences, Université Libre de Bruxelles
    • 1998 MSc in Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Brussel

    Grants & Awards

    • 2019–2023 Carnegie Trust Research Incentive Grant
    • 2015–2019 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (EU FP7)
    • 2014 Principal's Interdisciplinary Fund / Principal's Excellence Fund
    • 2010–2013 Volkswagen Foundation Grant (European Platform for Mind Sciences, Life Sciences, and Humanities), with Leonhard Schilbach, Tobias Schlicht & Nikolaus Steinbeis
    • 2009–2011 Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (EU FP7)


    • 2019–2024 EU COST action CA18106 “The neural architecture of consciousness” (PI Kristian Sandberg, Aarhus University)

    Teaching Responsibilities:


    Level 1–3 – Psychology Methodology curriculum coordinator
    Level 3 – PS3015 Methodology A [+course coordinator]
    Level 3 – PS3522 Methodology B [+course coordinator]
    Level 3–4 – SX3504 Consciousness [+course coordinator]
    Level 4 – PS4019 / PS4038 Psychology Thesis [supervision]


    MRes – PS5302 / PS5801 Basic & Advanced Research Methods for Postgraduates 
    MRes – PS5017 Research Project for PG Students in Psychology [supervision]
    MSc Psychological Studies – PS5903 Research Project [supervision]

    External positions

    PhD co-supervisor to L. Weinreich, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

    Sept 2020 → …


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    Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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    • Lior Weinreich

      Bert Timmermans (Host)

      4 Mar 20245 Apr 2024

      Activity: Hosting a visitorHosting an academic visitor

    • External examiner to PhD Nicolas Coucke

      Bert Timmermans (External Examiner), Giovanni Reina (External Examiner), Mary Katherine Heinrich (Examiner), Adelaïde De Heering (Examiner), Olivier Klein (Examiner), Marco Dorigo (Supervisor) & Axel Cleeremans (Supervisor)

      9 Jan 2024

      Activity: Examination, Marking, Reviewing, Supervision, Teaching, or TutoringExamination

    • Micah Allen

      Bert Timmermans (Host)

      14 Nov 202317 Nov 2023

      Activity: Hosting a visitorHosting an academic visitor

    • Francesca Fardo

      Bert Timmermans (Host)

      14 Nov 202317 Nov 2023

      Activity: Hosting a visitorHosting an academic visitor

    • External examiner to PhD Marine Pagliari

      Emilie Caspar (External Examiner), Bert Timmermans (External Examiner), Elisabeth Pacherie (External Examiner), Lionel Brunel (External Examiner), Sophie Bouton (External Examiner), Bruno Berberian (Supervisor) & Valérian Chambon (Supervisor)

      12 Dec 2023

      Activity: Examination, Marking, Reviewing, Supervision, Teaching, or TutoringExamination