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portrait of Dr Julia Christensen

Dr Julia Christensen

Newton International Postdoctoral Research Fellow

School of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of Psychology

Contact Information

Contact

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DG10, Rhind Building

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Postal Address

City, University of London
Northampton Square
London
EC1V 0HB
United Kingdom

About

Overview

Dr. Julia F. Christensen is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the Warburg Institute, London, working with the B.I.A.S. project (Prof Manos Tsakiris). She continues her collaboration with researchers at City, University on the project 'A new framework to understand human emotion perception using expertise'.

Dr Christensen was a Newton International Research Fellow (British Academy, 2015-2017) in the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Unit (CNRU) and the Autism Research Group (ARG) at the Psychology Department (City, University of London), with Dr. Beatriz Calvo-Merino (CNRU) and Dr. Sebastian Gaigg (ARG). She is also an honorary member of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (University College London; UCL).

Her work explores the cognitive and neural underpinnings of emotional expertise. In this approach she works with dancers and other artists as participants to uncover the neurocognitive mechanisms that make these groups of people so highly emotionally sensitive. She has a strong interest in dance herself as she trained as a professional dancer before becoming a neuroscientist.

Her PhD work with Professor Camilo Cela-Conde (University of the Balearic Islands; UIB) and Dr. Marcos Nadal (University of Vienna) investigated the affective mechanisms involved in watching dance and how that affective experience is modulated by relevant expertise (e.g., in dance) (title ”Dance moves: Affective responses to expressive body movement”). Dr. Christensen has also worked in the field of Neuroscience of morality under the supervision of Professor Antoni Gomila (UIB), and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience with Professor Patrick Haggard (UCL), leading a series of studies investigating how agents’ sense of agency over their actions is modulated by the emotional context in which an action occurs. Dr. Christensen uses behavioural, psychophysiological and neuroimaging methods.

Related topics: Emotion, Movement expertise, Dance, Art, Evolution of art, Sense of agency, Legal responsibility, Neuroethics, Philosophy of Mind, Moral Psychology, Evolution of Morality, Autism.


Publications

Emotion science

· Christensen, J.F., Gaigg, S., Calvo-Merino, B. (accepted). I can feel my heartbeat! Dancers have increased interoceptive accuracy. Psychophysiology.

· Christensen, J.F., Cela-Conde, C.J., Gomila, A. (2017). Not all about sex: Neural and Biobehavioral functions of human dance. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

· Christensen, J.F. (2017). Pleasure junkies all around! Why it matters, and why 'the arts' might be the answer - a biopsychological perspective. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences

· Christensen, J., Pollick, F., Lambrechts, A., & Gomila, A. (2016). Affective responses to dance. Acta Psychologica, 168, 91-105 DOI: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.03.008

· Christensen, J.F., Gomila, A., Gaigg, S.B., Sivarajah, N., Calvo-Merino, B. (2016). Dance Expertise Modulates Behavioral and Psychophysiological Responses to Affective Body Movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. [epub ahead of print]

· Christensen, J.F., Gaigg, S.B., Gomila, A., Oke, P., & Calvo-Merino, B. (2014). Enhancing emotional experiences to dance through music: the role of valence and arousal in the cross-modal bias. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(757), 1-9. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00757.

· Christensen, J.F., Nadal, M., Cela-Conde, C.J., & Gomila, A. (2014). A norming study and library of 203 dance movements. Perception, 43(2/3), 178-206. doi: 10.1068/p7581

· Christensen, J.F., Calvo-Merino, B. (2013). Dance as a Subject for Empirical Aesthetics. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(1), 76-88. doi: 10.1037/a0031827

· Flexas, A., Rosselló, J., Christensen, J.F., Nadal, M., Olivera de la Rosa, A., Munar, E. (2013). Affective priming using facial expressions modulates liking for abstract art. PLoS ONE, 8(11): e80154. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0080154

· Pearce, M., Christensen, J.F. (2012). Conference Report: The Neurosciences and Music - IV - Learning and Memory. Psychomusicology: Music, Mind & Brain, 22(1).

Neuroscience of morality

· Christensen, J.F., Yoshie, M., Di Costa, S., Haggard, P. (accepted). Emotional valence, sense of agency and responsibility: a study using intentional binding. Consciousness and Cognition.

· Caspar, E.A., Christensen, J.F., Cleeremans, A. & Haggard, P. (2016). Coercion Changes the Sense of Agency in the Human Brain. Current Biology. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.12.067

· Christensen, J.F., Gomila, A. (2015). Exploring a new paradigm for empathy research. Estudios de Psicologia: Studies in Psychology, 36(2), 481-495. doi: 10.1080/02109395.2015.1028727

· Christensen, J.F., Flexas, A., Calabrese, M., Gut, N.K., Gomila, A. (2014). Moral judgment reloaded: a moral dilemma validation study. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(607), 1-18. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00607

· Christensen, J.F., Flexas, A., de Miguel, P., Cela-Conde, C.J., Munar, E. (2012). Roman Catholic beliefs produce characteristic neural responses to moral dilemmas. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 1-10. doi: 10.1093/scan/nss121

· Christensen, J.F., Gomila, A. (2012). Moral dilemmas in cognitive neuroscience of moral decision-making: A principled review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 36(4), 1249-1264. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.02.008

Book chapters

· Christensen, J.F., & Jola, C. (2015). Towards ecological validity in empirical aesthetics of dance. In M. Nadal, J. P. Huston, L. Agnati, F. Mora & C. J. Cela-Conde (Eds.), Art, Aesthetics, and the Brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

· Calvo-Merino, B., Christensen, J.F. (2015). Neuroaesthetics and Dance. In J. O. Lauring (Ed.), Introduction to Neuroaesthetics - The neuroscientific approach to aesthetic experience, artistic creativity and arts appreciation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; distributed for Museum Tusculanum Press.

Funding bodies

British Academy, UK (2015-2017) Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain (2010-2014)

Publications

Journal Articles (5)

  1. Christensen, J.F., Gomila, A., Gaigg, S.B., Sivarajah, N. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2016). Dance expertise modulates behavioral and psychophysiological responses to affective body movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42(8), pp. 1139–1147. doi:10.1037/xhp0000176.
  2. Christensen, J.F., Pollick, F.E., Lambrechts, A. and Gomila, A. (2016). Affective responses to dance. Acta Psychologica, 168, pp. 91–105. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2016.03.008.
  3. Christensen, J.F., Gaigg, S.B., Gomila, A., Oke, P. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2014). Enhancing emotional experiences to dance through music: The role of valence and arousal in the cross-modal bias. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8(OCT) . doi:10.3389/fnhum.2014.00757.
  4. Christensen, J.F. and Calvo-Merino, B. (2013). Dance as a subject for empirical aesthetics. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts, 7(1), pp. 76–88. doi:10.1037/a0031827.
  5. Christensen, J.F., Gaigg, S.B. and Calvo Merino, B. I can feel my heartbeat: Dancers have increased interoceptive accuracy. Psychophysiology .

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City, University of London

Northampton Square

London EC1V 0HB

United Kingdom

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