Behavior, Emotion and Cognition (BEC)


BEC researchers examine basic structures and processes involved in human emotion, cognition and behaviour, taking into account the physical and social context. To this end, they use behavioural (e.g., reaction times, response accuracy, memory performance), psychophysiological (e.g., skin conductance, heart rate, pupil dilation) and neurophysiological (e.g., ERPs, fMRI, TMS) methods.

The research interests of members can be grouped in two general scientific areas: (I) Basic cognitive and emotional processes and (II) Interpersonal and Intragroup processes.


I. Basic cognitive and emotional processes

  • Brain function: mapping brain functions and studying basic cognitive processes (face perception, language processing, expectancy violation) using neuropsychological measures;
  • Emotions, their development, expression, and influences on health, as well as responses to human, animal and non-human emotional expressions;
  • Embodiment, examining the role of the body and sensorimotor simulation in knowledge representation, impression formation, and interpersonal communication;
  • Person perception, namely cognitive representation and information processing of person information and its impact on personality impressions and judgments;
  • Implicit attitudes, examining unconscious influences involved in consumer behavior, health decisions and interpersonal interactions.

II. Interpersonal and Intragroup processes.

  • Situated cognition, primarily the role of the physical and social context in cognition and behaviour: communication, decision making and collaborative memory;
  • Commitment in romantic relationships and its influence on pro-relationship strategies, individuals’ regulatory focus (promotion/prevention), sexual orientation, extra-dyadic behavior and attitudes about sex and love;
  • Group perception, specifically how group information influences perceptions of group output and its reliability and the interplay with other socio-cognitive phenomena, such as persuasion and social influence.


BEC members collaborate with private and public organizations to apply their theoretical discoveries, in different areas, including:

Health: evaluating and designing therapeutic programs for epileptic children; developing interactive software for treatment of social anxiety and phobias, reducing children’s negative emotions and stress about medical procedures; developing “empathic” robots and avatars to use in health care and education; predicting and developing treatment programs for impairments in language development.

Education: establishing early language acquisition markers to use in assessing language acquisition in children; identifying and minimizing constrains of using a second language.

Marketing: elucidating the influence of priming on behaviour; how brand impressions develop and how persuasive messages can be used in different consumer and marketing contexts.

Organizations: developing programs on communication and decision making in working teams.


BEC is committed to educating and training students and young researchers and expanding our publishing.

  • BEC members teach courses at the undergraduate, Master and PhD levels; give lectures and seminars (in ISCTE-IUL and other settings); educate students and young researchers about their research; and create opportunities to expand the group and its collaborations.
  • Group activities are designed to train new researchers through modelling and providing safe opportunities by practicing their academic skills.
  • The members of BEC strive to disseminate their discoveries through myriad national and international publications, including prestigious scientific journals and more popular outlets, as well as presenting our research at international scientific meetings and events targeting the general public.


Current Coordination Team: Diniz Lopes (Diniz.Lopes@iscte-iul.pt), Magda Saraiva, and Patrícia Alves-Oliveira

Edf. ISCTE-IUL, Sala 2w17
Av. das Forças Armadas
1649-026 Lisboa
Phone: +351 210 464 017
Fax : +351 21 046 41 74
Email: cis@iscte.pt
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