Behavior, Emotion and Cognition (BEC)


BEC researchers examine basic structures and processes involved in emotion, cognition and behaviour, taking into account the physical and social context. To this end, they combine behavioural methods (e.g., reaction times, response accuracy, memory performance) with psychophysiological (e.g., skin conductance, heart rate, pupil dilation) and brain activity measures (e.g., event-related potential - ERPs, functional magnetic resonance imaging - fMRI, transcranial magnetic stimulation - TMS).

The research fits into two main areas: (I) Cognitive and emotional processes and (II) Interpersonal and Intragroup processes.


I. Cognitive and emotional processes

  • Neurocognition: brain and cognitive mechanisms involved in face perception, voice and language processing, music, and expectancy violation
  • Emotions: development, expression, influence on health, responses to human and non-human emotional expressions, consumer involvement
  • Embodiment: the role of the body and sensorimotor simulation in knowledge representation, impression formation, and interpersonal communication
  • Person perception: sensation, stages of perception, cognitive representation and information processing of person information and its impact on personality impressions and judgments
  • Learning and memory: behavioral and cognitive learning; gamification; information storage, retrieval, and recall; in consumers
  • Implicit attitudes: formation and change, 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, social and cultural context in cognition and behaviour: communication, decision making and collaborative memory
  • Commitment in romantic relationships and its influence in activating pro-relationship strategies, individuals’ regulatory focus (promotion/prevention), sociosexual orientation, extra-dyadic behavior and attitudes about sex and love
  • Group perception: how group information influences perceptions of group output, group information reliability, the interplay with other socio-cognitive phenomena, such as persuasion, social power and influence


BEC members collaborate with private and public organizations to apply their findings in different areas:

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; developing and validating neuropsychological assessment tools.

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 and personality develop and how persuasive messages can be used in different consumer and marketing contexts.

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


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

  • Through teaching courses at the undergraduate, Master and PhD levels and giving lectures and seminars (in ISCTE-IUL and other settings) members 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 for practicing their academic skills.
  • Members of BEC disseminate their findings through national and international publications, including prestigious scientific journals and more popular outlets, as well as presenting research at international scientific meetings and events targeting the general public.
  • By valuing the communication of science and involvement in events with a broad audience, BEC members ensure that their research has the greatest possible impact (events such as the European Night of Researchers).


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
CIS-IUL © 2021. All rights reserved.
Powered by: webXperience