• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

Vasily Klyucharev, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Psychology: ‘Our objective is to integrate our faculty into the European academic space’

Vasily Klyucharev is the new Dean of the HSE Faculty of Psychology.  His professional interests lie in neuroeconomics - more specifically, in the study of social influence, of the ways our decisions can be manipulated, what mechanisms are at play, and which parts of our brain are involved when someone tries to manipulate us. The new Dean talked to our news service about the faculty's upcoming research projects and academic courses.

Vasily Klyucharev (born in 1972) holds a degree in biology from St. Petersburg State University and a Ph.D. from the RAS Institute of the Human Brain; he defended his Ph.D. thesis under the academic supervision of Academician Natalia Bekhtereva. Since 2000, he has carried out research in neuroscience and neuroeconomics and has taught at research centers and universities in Finland, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.


— Over the last four years, you have been working with the Economic Psychology Group at the University of Basel (Switzerland) carrying out neurobiological research with MR resonance scanners. What prompted you to return to Russia and why did you choose the Higher School of Economics?

— During my fourteen years of living abroad, I have maintained my connections with Russia. I have been involved in numerous research and educational projects with Russian colleagues. The most recent was a multinational postgraduate course in neurobiotechnology (BioN) – a collaborative project between Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Nizhny Novgorod State University, the Southern Federal University, and other academic centers. I was attracted by the opportunity to work with the Higher School of Economics because I saw a match between my professional interest in neuroeconomics and the HSE's willingness to prioritize interdisciplinary research at the intersection of psychology, economics, management and other disciplines.

Additional funding will be made available for this purpose, in particular for setting up new labs, and international experts will be invited. Many European colleagues have expressed an interest in working with the HSE's faculties of mathematics, since mathematical models of decision-making, the brain functioning, and social interaction in groups are all at the cutting edge of research, and the HSE's mathematicians really are outstanding. Add to that our new educational courses, some of them in English to attract foreign as well as Russian students, and you have a very modern and interesting direction for the university's development. The HSE is a unique place in Russia where these goals are achievable, I believe.

— Being a faculty dean is a largely administrative function. How do you plan to combine your administrative work with research and teaching?

— I believe that the main reason I have been invited to take up this position is to for the faculty to explore new directions in research. Without a good understanding of current research, it is very easy to lose your direction; therefore I will not abandon my research, but at the same time I will try to mobilize additional administrative resources. And since I have been involved in many international educational projects, combining organizational work and teaching are nothing new to me.

Neuroeconomics is a new area of research, and I openly admit that I am still learning a lot. In fact, I would love to attend, as a student, some of the new courses that we plan to design and offer. You can count on the fingers of one hand those universities anywhere in the world that have developed their neuroeconomics research and teaching into full-fledged, sustained academic programs. If our plans succeed, HSE will be a unique university in Europe and beyond.

— What should prospective students who want to be admitted to the Faculty of Psychology this year expect?

— We will not immediately overwhelm students with new courses and disciplines; rather, their introduction will be gradual and will start in the next academic year, i.e autumn 2014. What we hope to do this year is to set up new labs and to invite a number of international researchers to lecture at HSE. So those students who are interested in neuroeconomics will soon have an opportunity to explore this area and to take part in research projects which are new to Russia. The HSE plans to purchase a transcranial magnetic stimulator (TMS), a piece of research equipment that will be exciting for both students as well as established researchers to try out.

— What changes do you expect in the faculty's organizational and staffing plan?

— The faculty has been created from scratch and has gained a good reputation, which is certainly a great achievement by the current team. We plan to add to this already strong team by setting up international labs and inviting guest researchers and lecturers. In addition, the entire university today faces the challenge of developing its publications, and the faculty of psychology should not remain on the sidelines during this process. We will work to send even more teachers and researchers overseas for internships and exchanges, and we will substantially increase the number of courses delivered in English. By doing this, we hope to facilitate our faculty's integration into the European academic space. My colleagues and I see great potential for our faculty in this respect.

Oleg Seregin, HSE News Service

See also:

Defending Personal Boundaries: How Birth Order Affects Children’s Psychological Sovereignty

HSE psychologists have studied how the presence or absence of siblings, as well as birth order, affect children’s ability to maintainpersonal boundaries. The results showed that only children and second-born children have the strongest sense of personal boundaries, while first-born children have the least. However, as children become adults, their ability to balance between their own needs and those of others becomes determined more by gender.

'Going to HSE Seemed Like a Great Way to Pursue My Interests’

September 4, 2019 was a day of firsts for the School of Psychology and the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making. Zachary Yaple, who was born in the United States and grew up in England, defended his dissertation, 'Neurophysiological Correlates of Risky Decision-Making'. His defense marked the first PhD to be prepared at the Centre for Cognition and Decision Making and the first PhD to be awarded to an international student by the Doctoral School of Psychology.

The Brain Processes Words Placed on the Right Side of a Screen More Quickly

When reading words on a screen, the human brain comprehends words placed on the right side of the screen faster. The total amount of presented information on the screen also affects the speed and accuracy of the brain’s ability to process words. These are the findings of HSE researchers Elena Gorbunova and Maria Falikman presented in an article that was published in the journal, Advances in Cognitive Psychology.

The Campaign Against Bullying

Educators do not always deal with student aggression in the most effective manner. Sometimes teachers resort to severe and unsystematic methods that only make the bullying worse. According to researchers of the HSE Laboratory for Prevention of Asocial Behavior, the problem requires a comprehensive approach: aggression prevention programmes need to be incorporated into educational policy, and, in turn, schools need to foster supportive psychological climate and trust between teachers and students.

Brain in Space: What Happens to the Human Nervous System in Weightlessness

While Roscosmos is discussing future manned flights to Mars, NASA plans to open the International Space Station for commercial tourism, and SpaceX is testing its Starship Mars prototype, scientists are seriously concerned about the impact of prolonged stay in space on the human body. While the effects of weightlessness on bones, muscles and the vestibular system are well known, how the human brain copes with microgravity has yet to be fully examined. IQ.HSE has compiled the latest research on this topic.

Work That Kills: The Danger of Nonstandard Working Schedules

More than 64% of employed Russians work evenings, nights or weekends, and this is one of the highest figures among European countries. Andrei Shevchuk and Anna Krasilnikova were the first to study the extent of nonstandard working hours in Russia and its impact on work-life balance.

HSE Scholars Propose New Method for Measuring Individual Well-being

Their initial tests were carried out with football fans, by measuring their emotional state. It turned out that, on average, uncertainty about a match result can increase the probability of unhappiness by 13.6%. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Happiness Studies.

Emotions from Touch: What Textures Bring Happiness, and What Cause Anger

Touching different types of surfaces may incur certain emotions. This was the conclusion made by psychologists in a recent empirical study. Previously, emotional perception was generally studied in relation to visual and audial modalities.

What Do Digital Traces Have to Offer for the Study of Psychological Wellbeing?

The round table on ‘Psychological Wellbeing in the Digital Age’ brought together a range of scholars and one industry professional to talk about how a user’s digital footprint—or ‘digital traces’—can be used to discern a person’s psychological state, predict their behavior, and, potentially, even improve their psychological wellbeing.

The Anxiety of Exposure: Why We Suffer from Imposter Syndrome

Researchers from the HSE Perm, in collaboration with an American colleague, confirmed the theory that impostor syndrome fully mediates the link between perfectionism and psychological distress