Human Connection Science Lab

understanding how to harness the power of connection to face the great challenges of mankind together
communication • integration • human understanding
the intricacies of human interaction using the latest tools in psychology and neuroscience
the way we connect as human beings
developing interventions
to empower those those who need connection most
Floris van Vugt
Principal Investigator
Chiara Basile
PhD student
Lutzi Castaño
MA exchange student
Juliette Fortier
MA student
Mia Larocque
BA Honors student
William Lachapelle
BA Honors student
Geoffrey Brown
Citizen scientist
Lindsey Zilber
Research Assistant
Serena Lecce
External collaborator
Interested to join the lab?
Student projects available.
Get in touch!

Vision statement by Floris

Now is a crucial time for humanity. We edge towards irreversible climate change. We face some of the greatest population displacements in recorded history. We encounter profoundly different visions over how we should live together and what we value.

If we want to hope to even begin to address these challenges we need to have difficult conversations about topics that matter deeply. Yet all too often such attempts at dialogue fail miserably. Sometimes we may even want to give up altogether. What gets in the way? And why? What would allow us to have these conversations constructively?

In this lab we study these profoundly important questions. We use any tool we can get our hands on. We don't shy away from brain scans nor from introspective, qualitative inquiry. We study real humans in settings that come as close to reality as we can muster. We draw from diverse literatures on psychology, dialogue, empathy and yes we even do the odd psychophysics experiment.

I suppose we are an unruly bunch of folks who simply refuse believe that this challenge is too hard. I feel humanity can and will rise to these tremendous challenges. Are you ready to believe in it too?

Selected publications

Basile C, Lecce S, van Vugt FT.
Synchrony during online encounters affects social affiliation and theory of mind but not empathy.
Frontiers in Psychology.
doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2022.886639
Rapisarda F, Vallarino M, Rosi A, Florkin A, Ceccato I, Lecce S, van Vugt FT, Briand C, Cavallini E.
Older adults’ subjective experiences of the COVID-19 outbreak and lockdown in Italy: a qualitative study.
Aging and Mental Health.
doi: 10.1080/13607863.2022.2087208
Cavallini E, Rosi A, van Vugt FT, Ceccato I, Rapisarda F, Vallarino M, Ronchi L, Vecchi T, Lecce S.
Closeness to friends explains age differences in positive emotional experience during the lockdown period of COVID-19 pandemic.
Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 33(9): 2623-2631.
doi: 10.1007/s40520-021-01927-7

Initiatives we partner with