• Room 1001c, N21, University of Macau

  • (853) 8822-9524

  • (853) 8822 2456

  • mspape@um.edu.mo

Title of Docent in Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Helsinki, Finland

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, Higher Education Academy, UK

Ph.D. in Psychology, Specialization in Cognitive Psychology, Leiden University, Netherlands

MSc/BSc in Psychology, Leiden University, Netherlands

  • October 2023 – Present: Associate Professor, Centre for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, University of Macau
  • July 2018 – October 2023: Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology & Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • July 2016 – June 2018: Lecturer, Department of Psychology, Liverpool Hope University, United Kingdom
  • January 2012 – July 2016: Postdoctoral Researcher, Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Aalto University and University of Helsinki, Finland
  • April 2009 – December 2011: Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 2021 – Invited talk delivered at the Meeting on Social Touch, University of Heidelberg, Germany
  • 2019 – Talk delivered at the European Society for Cognitive Psychology, Tenerife, Spain. Chaired section Beyond this Reality (on VR) with Roberta Sellaro.
  • 2017 – Co-organiser of the Methodological advances workshop, Liverpool Hope University, UK.
  • 2017 – Invited talk delivered at the University of Oslo, Norway.
  • 2015 – Board and panel discussion member at the International Workshop on Symbiotic Interaction, Berlin.
  • 2010 – Grindley Grant, travel grant awarded by the UK Experimental Psychology Society grant for visiting CogSci 2010, IVth International Conference on Cognitive Science, Tomsk, Russia. Chaired section for learning, attention and memory.

Consciousness has been described as ‘the hard problem’, involving the feeling of what it is like to experience the world subjectively, as an individual. In my work, I investigate the possibility that, rather than understanding consciousness as an endpoint of perception, or the beginning of action, the answer must be found in the interaction between perception and action. For example, social touch is a well-known marker of intimate interaction and secure attachment, yet we scarcely understand how such high qualities arise from tactile stimuli. Instead, I have shown that it is precisely the communicative meaning of touch, its affordances, that define how it the brain processes the tactile sensations. In more recent years, I have started to use neuroimaging in interaction with computer interfaces as a model of consciousness. For example, I have shown that by detecting movement imagery using neuroimaging and using this to accelerate or decelerate within a star field, our consciousness of time can be altered. Likewise, by using EEG-based relevance detection based on a subjective task, such as ‘try to look for an attractive face’, a generative AI can be altered to imagine what exactly the individual means. Thus, in a way, the AI gains the ability to model the experience of the individual, the question of ‘what it is like to be’.

Specifically, I have four focus areas: 1) Consciousness and cognition; 2) Perception and action; 3) Emotion and social cognition; 4) Human-computer interaction. I tend to use EEG and other neuroimaging techniques, preferably alongside novel technologies such as virtual reality or artificial intelligence.

  • 2021 – Imagine Time (PI), CloudResearch.com, USA, $2,000.
  • 2020 – Brain-Source (Co-wrote, PI), Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, Finland, €22,000.
  • 2018 – Co-Adapt (Co-wrote), EU Horizon 2020, ERC, EU, €650,000 to Helsinki group.
  • 2013 – HAPCOM (Co-wrote, coordinated project), Academy of Finland, Finland, €700,000.
  • 2012 – HIIT pump priming (Co-wrote), Helsinki Institute for Information Technology, €22,000.
  • Ad hoc reviewer for Psychology journals (e.g. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, Cognition, NeuroImage, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, American Journal of Psychiatry, Advances in Medical Sciences), and Human Computer Interaction venues (e.g. Safety, International Journal of Human Computer Interaction, Computer, CHI, UIST, EIT, UBICOMP).
  • Associate editor of Frontiers in Psychology (section Cognition).
  • Member of CNS (Cognitive Neuroscience Society), PSP (Psychonomic Society), EPOS (Dutch Experimental Research School).
  • Funding application reviewer for the European Research Council, Polish Academy of Sciences, and Swedish Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Peer reviewed articles

Spapé, M. Serrien, D. & Ravaja, N. (2023). 3-2-1, Action! A combined motor control-temporal reproduction task shows intentions, motions, and consequences alter time perception. Heliyon, 9, e19728.

Spapé, M., Mäkelä, K. & Ruotsalo, T. (2023). NEMO: A Database for Emotion Analysis Using Functional Near-infrared Spectroscopy. Transactions on affective computing, In press, 1-12.

Serim, B. Spapé, M., & Jacucci, G. (2023). Revisiting embodiment for brain–computer interfaces. Human-computer interaction, in press, 1-27.

De la Torre-Ortiz[1], Spapé, M., C., Ruotsalo, T. (2022). The P3 indexes the distance between perceived and target image. Psychophysiology, in press.

Spapé, M., Harjunen, V. J. & Ravaja, N. (2022). Time to imagine moving: Simulated motor activity affects time perception. Psychonomic bulletin & Review, 29, 819-827.

Spapé, M., Davis, K. M., Kangassalo, L. K., Ravaja, N., Sovijärvi-Spapé, Z., & Ruotsalo, T. (2021). Brain-computer interface for generating personally attractive images. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, in press.

Ahmed, I., Harjunen, V. J., Jacucci, G., Ravaja, N., Ruotsalo, T., & Spapé, M. M. (2020). Touching virtual humans: Haptic responses reveal the emotional impact of affective agents. IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, in press.

Kangassalo, L., Spapé, M., Ruotsalo, T. (2020). Neuroadaptive modelling for generating images matching perceptual categories. Scientific reports, 10, 14719.

Spapé, M. & Dundas, K. (2020). I’ll make you an offer you can refuse: How socially sensitive is the MFN? Social neuroscience, 15, 123-127.

Spapé, M., Harjunen, V., Ahmed, I., Jacucci, G., Ravaja, N. (2019). The semiotics of the message and the messenger: How nonverbal communication affects fairness perception, Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 19, 1259-1272.

Spapé, M. M., Harjunen, V., & Ravaja, N. (2017). Effects of touch on emotional face processing: a study of event-related potentials, facial EMG and cardiac activity. Biological Psychology, 124, 1–10.

Ravaja, N., Harjunen, V., Ahmed, I., Jacucci, G., & Spapé, M. M. (2017). Feeling touched: Emotional modulation of somatosensory potentials to interpersonal touch. Scientific Reports, 7, 40504.

Spapé, M. M., & Ravaja, N. (2016). Not my problem: Vicarious conflict adaptation with human and virtual co-actors. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 606.

Eugster, M. J., Ruotsalo, T., Spapé, M. M., Barral, O., Ravaja, N., Jacucci, G., & Kaski, S. (2016). Natural brain-information interfaces: Recommending information by relevance inferred from human brain signals. Scientific Reports, 6, 38580.

Spapé, M. M., Filetti, M., Eugster, J.A., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2015). Human computer interaction meets psychophysiology: A critical perspective. Symbiotic Interaction, vol. 9359 of Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Springer, 2015, 145–158.

Spapé, M. M., Ahmed, I., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2015). The self in conflict: Actors and agency in the mediated sequential Simon Task. Frontiers in psychology, 6, 304.

Spapé, M. M., Hoggan, E., Jacucci, G. & Ravaja, N. (2015). The Meaning of the Virtual Midas Touch: An ERP Study in Economic Decision Making. Psychophysiology, 52, 378-387.

Spapé, M. M. & Hommel, B. (2014). Sequential modulations of the Simon effect depend on episodic retrieval. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 855.

Eugster, M. J. A., Ruotsalo, T., Spapé, M. M., Kosunen, I., Barral, O., Ravaja, N. Jacucci, G. & Kaski, S. (2014). Predicting Term-Relevance from Brain Signals. SIGIR 2014 Proceedings of the 37th international ACM SIGIR conference on Research & development in information retrieval, 425-434.

Spapé, M. M., Kivikangas, J. M., Järvelä, S., Kosunen, I., Jacucci, G., & Ravaja, N. (2013). Keep Your Opponents Close: Social Context Affects EEG and fEMG Linkage in a Turn-Based Computer Game. PLoS ONE, 8(11), e78795. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0078795.

Spapé, M. M., Band, G. P. H. & Hommel, B. (2011). Compatibility-sequence effects in the Simon task reflect episodic retrieval but not conflict adaptation: Evidence from LRP and N2. Biological Psychology, 88, 116-123.

Serrien, D. J. & Spapé, M. M. (2011). Motor awareness and dissociable levels of action representation. Neuroscience letters, 494, 215-219.

Spapé, M. M. & Serrien, D. J. (2010). Interregional synchrony of visuomotor tracking: perturbation effects and individual differences. Behavioural Brain Research, 213, 313-318.

Spapé, M. M. & Hommel, B. (2010). Actions travel with their objects: Evidence for dynamic event files. Psychological Research, 74, 50 – 58.

Serrien, D. J. & Spapé, M. M. (2009). Effects of task complexity and sensory conflict on goal-directed movement. Neuroscience letters, 464, 10 – 13.

Serrien, D. J. & Spapé, M. M. (2009). The Role of hand dominance and sensorimotor congruence in voluntary movement. Experimental Brain Research, 199, 195 – 200.

Spapé, M. M. & Hommel, B. (2008). He said, she said: Episodic retrieval induces conflict adaptation in an auditory Stroop task. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 15, 1117-1121.

Van Erp, J. B. F. & Spapé (2003). Distilling the Underlying Dimensions of Tactile Melodies. Proceedings of the Eurohaptics Conference, Dublin, Ireland, 111-120.


Spapé, M. M. (2022). A Psychologist’s guide to EEG: The electric study of the mind. SAGE: London, UK. 

Spapé, M. M., Verdonschot, R. & Van Steenbergen, H. (2019). The E-Primer: An introduction to creating psychological experiments in E-Prime: Second edition updated for E-Prime 3. Leiden University Press: Leiden, Netherlands.


Eugster, M., Ruotsalo, T., Spapé, M., Jacucci, G., Kaski, S., Ravaja, N., & Barral, O. (2018). U.S. Patent Application No. 15/271,437.