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  • 63 Citations
  • 4 h-Index

Research output per year

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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 Lab at the Centre for Advances in Behavioural Science, Coventry University, as Research Associate at the beginning of 2016. In 2019, she joined Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations (Coventry University) as Research Fellow, together with others of the BBB Lab. She currently continues to research the cognitive science of imagination, memory, and belief. 

Research Interests

Belief; Cognitive science of religion; Imagination; Episodic memory; Creativity; Unbelief; Secular beliefs; Worldviews; Intuition; Social bonding

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, memory, and imagination. My other interest is in unbelief, or so-called ‘secular’ beliefs: the beliefs which non-religious individuals hold, and their functions. 


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

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Research Output

  • 63 Citations
  • 4 h-Index
  • 12 Article
  • 3 Chapter
  • 2 Poster
  • 1 Editorial

Blocking mu-opioid receptors inhibits social bonding in rituals

Charles, S. J., Farias, M., van Mulukom, V., Saraswati, A., Watts, F., Dein, S. & Dunbar, R., 2020, (Submitted) In : Psychological Science.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Broadening Your Mind to Include Others: Links between serotonergic psychedelic experiences and maladaptive narcissism

van Mulukom, V., Patterson, R. & van Elk, M., 29 May 2020, In : Psychopharmacology. (In-press), p. (In-press)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Individual differences in meditation outcomes

    Buric, I., Brazil, I. A. & van Mulukom, V., 2020, (Accepted/In press) The Oxford Handbook of Meditation. Oxford University Press, Vol. (In-press). p. (In-press)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

  • Relational processing demands and the role of spatial context in the construction of episodic simulations

    Wiebels, K., Addis, D. R., Moreau, D., van Mulukom, V., Onderdijk, K. & Roberts, R., Aug 2020, In : Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition. 46, 8, p. 1424-1441 18 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Open Access
  • 1 Citation (Scopus)
    2 Downloads (Pure)

    Religious Rituals Increase Social Bonding and Pain Threshold

    Charles, S. J., van Mulukom, V., Farias, M., Brown, J., Delmonte, R., Maraldi, E., Turner, L., Watts, F., Watts, J. & Dunbar, R., 2020, (Submitted) In : Scientific Reports.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    Data-set for "Religious Rituals Increase Social Bonding and Pain Threshold"

    Dunbar, R. (Creator), Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, 15 Jan 2020



    • 9 Oral presentation
    • 1 Editorial activity

    Journal for the Cognitive Science of Religion (Journal)

    Valerie van Mulukom (Associate Editor)
    2019 → …

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity

    The Cognitive Science of Creativity and Imagination

    Valerie van Mulukom (Speaker)
    20 May 2019

    Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

    Press / Media

    Go with your gut

    Valerie van Mulukom


    1 Media contribution

    Press/Media: Expert Comment

    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