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  • 41 Citations
  • 3 h-Index
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Personal profile


Valerie completed her doctoral studies at the School of Psychology, the University of Auckland, New Zealand in 2014. There, she did work on the cognitive neuroscience of episodic memory and future event imagination. After her PhD, she completed a postdoctoral project at Aarhus University, Denmark, where she investigated the intersection between religious ritual and episodic memory. She then 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. Valerie joined the Brain, Belief, and Behaviour group at CABS, Coventry University, as Research Associate at the beginning of 2016 - a position later renamed as 'Research Fellow' (per 01/01/2019). 

Research Interests

Belief; Cognitive science of religion; Imagination; Episodic memory; Creativity; Unbelief

Vision Statement

My primary interests are in the cognitive underpinnings of imagination and the psychology of belief, which I examine using methods from experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. My research takes place in the overlap between beliefs, imagination, memory, and creativity. My other interest is in unbelief, or so-called ‘secular’ beliefs: the beliefs that non-religious individuals hold, and their functions. 


  • BF Psychology
  • imagination
  • memory
  • belief
  • creativity
  • unbelief
  • religion

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Research Output 2013 2018

  • 41 Citations
  • 3 h-Index
  • 5 Article
  • 2 Poster
  • 1 Editorial

Autobiographical Memory Pathway from Shared Dysphoria to Identity Fusion

van Mulukom, V., Jul 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Individual Differences in Imaginative Ability

van Mulukom, V., Jul 2018.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Introduction to the special issue: What are religious beliefs?

Coleman, T. J., Jong, J. & Van Mulukom, V., 2018, In : Contemporary Pragmatism . 15, 3, p. 279-283 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial

Open Access
10 Citations (Scopus)

An fMRI investigation of the relationship between future imagination and cognitive flexibility

Roberts, R. P., Wiebels, K., Sumner, R. L., van Mulukom, V., Grady, C. L., Schacter, D. L. & Addis, D. R., 27 Jan 2017, In : Neuropsychologia. 95, p. 156-172 17 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Least-Squares Analysis
3 Citations (Scopus)
Ceremonial Behavior
Episodic Memory
Sense of Coherence

Activities 2017 2019

  • 7 Oral presentation

Belief in Psychic Ability is predicted by high levels of Intuitive Thinking & low levels of Cognitive Inhibition

Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
9 Mar 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Secular versus Religious Worldviews: Do they fulfil the same psychological functions?

Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
6 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Associations between analytical/intuitive thinking and religious beliefs

Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
13 May 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

How Religious Rituals Become Emotional Symbols: Neurochemical and cognitive mechanisms of memory and emotion

Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
19 Sep 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Exploring the Belief Replacement Hypothesis: What secular beliefs do non-believers have, and what psychological functions do they serve

Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
4 Jul 2018

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Press / Media

Intuition (Anthill podcast)

Valerie van Mulukom


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research

The secret to creativity – according to science

Valerie van Mulukom


1 media contribution

Press/Media: Research