Jan Theeuwes Professor and Head of Experimental and Applied Psychology
My main interest is to acquire fundamental knowledge on a wide array of subjects including perception, attention, memory and emotion using a wide range of methods, including behavioral (RT measurement), eye tracking, functional MRI, psychophysiological recordings (e.g., ERP), patient work and modeling. I published papers on attentional and oculomotor capture, working memory, multimodal integration, remapping, face perception, visual search, emotion, unconscious processing, the attentional blink, reward processing as well as several applied papers involving road design and headlamp glare.
Geert J.P. Savelsbergh Professor and Head of section Motor Leaning and Performance
My research interest is the visual regulation of coordinated movements and to apply from the perception-action perspective fundamental concepts (e.g. anticipation) in the rehabilitation and sport context, especially for talent identification and development.
Lydia Krabbendam Professor and Head of Educational Neuroscience
My research focuses on social cognition. I am particularly interested in the development of typical and atypical social cognition during adolescence and young adulthood, and how the social context impacts on this development. I use behavioral paradigms, EEG and functional MRI; effects of social context are investigated using observational methods, questionnaires, mindset priming and social network analyses.
Andreas Daffertshofer Professor and Head of section Coordination Dynamics
My general interest is in the complex dynamics of motor-related neural systems and its formal and conceptual assessment in terms of nonlinear dynamics, non-equilibrium statistics, and synergetics. The groups’ research activities address movement stability and the accompanying neural activity across the cortex and along the cortico-spinal tract. We analyze M/EEG & HD-EMG recordings to pinpoint neuro-physiologically motivated, stochastic neural mass models for neural information transfer during sensorimotor performance.
Eco de Geus Professor at Biological Psychology
My research interest is genetic psychophysiology, where psychometric and neuropsychological testing is combined with central (sMRI, fMRI, MEG, EEG) and autonomic nervous system measurements to identify heritable intermediate phenotypes ("endophenotypes") of affective and cognitive functioning, particularly under stressful conditions. These endophenotypes are then applied in genetic association studies to help unravel the genetic pathways to affective and cognitive disorders, including ADHD and major depression.
Mark van Vugt Professor of Evolutionary Psychology, Work and Organizational Psychology
My main interest is to acquire knowledge on a wide range of topics in evolutionary social, and organizational psychology. I am particularly interested in how insights from evolutionary psychology can explain leadership, status, social decision-making, intergroup relations and sustainability. In my work I use a range of methods from social and organizational neuroscience such as behavioral measures (economic games, reaction times), cognitive methods (face perception), virtual reality, hormonal measures, psychophysiological recordings, and functional fMRI. In my work I am trying to build connections between the fields of evolutionary psychology and social/organizational neuroscience.
Paul van Lange Professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
Most of my basic research on human cooperation and trust is grounded in psychological, cultural, and evolutionary theorizing of prosocial processes (such as forgiveness, generosity, empathy), fairness and morality, as well as hostility, aggression, and violence. These topics are examined with economic games, new behavioral methods in cognition and social decision making, as well as various biological mechanisms (fMRI, hormonal analysis). I have also published research on societal issues, such as aggression and superstition in soccer, corruption and culture, power and obedience, sacrifice in relationships and organizations, environmental and financial decision making, and safety in society.
Chris Olivers Professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My research focuses on visual perception, attention, and multisensory processing, as well as their interactions with working memory, long term memory and cognitive control mechanisms. I use a variety of experimental paradigms and measures, from visual search to rapid serial presentation, and from eye movements to EEG. One of the most important features of human vision is that it is selective. It flexibly samples the environment on the basis of what is relevant to our current tasks – tasks such as driving, finding a product in the supermarket, or collecting a child from school. This means that the brain maintains some representation of what we are currently looking for, be it a traffic sign, a coffee brand, or a kid’s face. This “picture in your head”, or “template” as it is often referred to, remains a mystery. Current models of visual exploration assume it to be there, but without making explicit what its properties and mechanisms are. I want to understand this central concept of perceptual theory, by systematically investigating what distinguishes the template from other types of memory, how many templates can be active at a time, how we set up, change, and abandon the template with changing task demands, and how training changes the nature, dynamics and capacity of the template.
Heleen Slagter Professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My research focuses on (the neural basis of) core cognitive functions, such as attention, and the plasticity of these functions. What are the mechanisms that allow us to select and become aware of information in the environment? To what extent are these mechanisms that adaptively control information processing plastic, e.g., how does mental training as cultivated by meditation or do new experiences influence how we pay attention and perceive and act in the world around us?
I use behavioral paradigms, EEG, fMRI, pharmacological manipulations, and brain stimulation to address these outstanding questions.
Reinout de Vries Professor in Organizational Psychology
My main research interests are in the areas of personality, communication styles, and leadership. Recent work has focused on situation, trait, and outcome activation (STOA) processes relevant for the expression of personality and the contextualization of personality in communication, leadership, and sport contexts. Recent contextualized personality instruments have included a six-dimensional Communication Styles Inventory (CSI) and a five-dimensional Sport Personality Questionnaire (SPQ). Furthermore, I’m interested in constructing novel instruments to measure personality in a selection context. I’m currently investigating the effects of Three Nightmare Traits (TNT), i.e., Dishonesty, Disagreeableness, and Carelessness, in work contexts, the relations between leadership and followership styles, and the accuracy of personality assessment based on spoken text.
Berno Bucker Program Manger
My name is Berno Bucker. After receiving my PhD in Cognitive Psychology I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology. Now I am working as the iBBA program manager and founded my own company with which we bring psychological research, eye-tracking and neuroscience technologies outside of the laboratory. My goal as the program manager of iBBA is to foster the exchange and development of advanced knowledge for (neuro-imaging) methods and research amongst Cognitive Psychology, Social and Organizational Neuroscience, Educational Neuroscience, Clinical Neuropsychology, and Human Movement Science. I support the institute in its function as a research incubator where researchers and students work together to push the limits of advanced methods of research. For iBBA, amongst others, I organize symposia, workshops, colloquia and specialist meetings. If you want iBBA to co-organize a scientific event or my help in any other way, please feel free to contact me.
Joshua Tybur Associate Professor at Social and Organizational Psychology
I aim to better understand the adaptations that underlie human pathogen avoidance. In doing so, my research investigates how people detect pathogens (e.g., through visual, olfactory, and audio cues), how they learn what in their environment is pathogenic (based on both individual and social learning), and how and why people vary in their pathogen-avoidance tendencies (e.g., disgust sensitivity). I use a variety of methods to investigate these questions, including those used by cognitive psychologists, social psychologists, personality psychologists, and behavioral geneticists. This work is currently funded by a European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grant.
Nadia Dominici Associate Professor at Coordination Dynamic
My main goal is to elucidate the neuromotor aspects underlying the emergence of walking, and to implement this knowledge to identify an optimal rehabilitation strategy to promote normal walking in children with neuromotor disorders, in particular cerebral palsy. I am currently working on the interplay between brain and muscular activity underlying the development of locomotor patterns in children, as well as on the biomechanics of human locomotion.
Daniel Balliet Associate professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
I am interested in understanding human cooperation in dyads and groups. Cooperation can be defined as behavior that provides benefits to others. I am especially interested in testing theories about how people cooperate in situations when cooperation is opposed to each person’s immediate self-interest, so called Social Dilemmas.
Wendy Andrews Assistant Professor at Organizational Psychology
My research centers on different social/hierarchical relationships in groups and organizations, for example status & power relationships, leadership and in/exclusion. I study the processes and decisions that lead to these relationships, their behavioral and hormonal effects, and their consequences for wellbeing and for individual and group-level performance.
Maarten Bobbert Associate Professor at Sensorimotor Control
People can stand upright, walk, run, jump, cycle, and throw objects, to name but a few of the motor tasks that are performed seemingly without effort. In all cases, the CNS activates muscles, muscles produce forces, muscle forces together with external forces produce accelerations of body segments, and these accelerations, integrated over time, lead to the motion required to perform the task. In generating the muscle stimulation patterns, the central nervous system deals with the task constraints, the mechanical and physiological properties of the musculoskeletal system, the properties of the power supply systems, and the sensory information available in the task, with the relative importance of these factors varying with the task. The general objective of my work is to understand, for various motor tasks, why they are performed the way they are performed, and how they are controlled. This understanding is ultimately sought for humans, but some studies are also directed at animal locomotion. Although my primary objective is to gain fundamental insights, whenever possible I try to translate the results into recommendations for rehabilitation programs used in health care, and training programs and equipment used in sports. In my studies, the emphasis lies on biophysical methods of analysis, and experiments on subjects are intertwined with computer simulations using mathematical models of the control system, the action system and the power supply systems.
Knoek van Soest Assistant professor at Sensomotoric control B
My research interests focus on the biophysics and control of human motion, always combining experimental work with mathematical modeling, computer simulation and optimization. Current topics of interest include the relation between mechanical behavior and metabolic energy expenditure in isolated muscles, at a single joint, and during whole-body movements such as locomotion; maximum performance of human lower extremity muscles during arbitrary periodic motion; feedback control of quiet standing
Dinant Kistemaker Assistant Professor at Sensorimotor Control
My general research interest evolves around the control, mechanics and energetics of human movement. My approach is to combine experimental data with predictions and analyses using (neuro-)musculoskeletal models. These models are capable mimicking the important properties of the actual musculoskeletalsystem and are based on in vitro / in vivo experiments and cadaver studies on mammalian musculoskeletal systems. In order to obtain model-based predictions I use optimal control techniques (e.g. Direct Collocation and Sparse Non-linear Optimizer). Currently I am focusing on the question what underlies the control of fast goal-directed arm movements and on the relationship between mechanics and energetics of muscle fibres in the context of human locomotion (particularly in walking and cycling).
Jellie Sierksma Assistant professor at Social Psychology
My research focuses on social cognition and behavior in young children. I am particularly interested in children’s prosocial behavior and the development of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. I study these topics taking an interdisciplinary approach, combining insights from developmental, social, and educational psychology and by using experimental- and survey-methods.
Lieke Peper Associate Professor at Coordination Dynamics
My main research interests reside in the field of movement coordination. Over the years my focus has shifted from the coordination of interceptive actions to the dynamics of rhythmic interlimb coordination, focusing on the underlying control principles and changes therein during development and due to pathology. More recently, I have become interested in the attentional demands of locomotion, especially in elderly populations.
Dennis van ‘t Ent Assistant Professor at Biological Psychology
My research interest is in the genetic architecture of cognitive and psychological traits in children, adolescents and adults. For this I employ measures of brain structure as assessed with MRI (in selected twin samples), and of brain function as assessed from EEG/MEG or functional MRI. Individual differences in the longitudinal development of mental functioning are studied from a behavioural (e.g. what is the heritability? what is the genetic correlation across the lifespan?) and a molecular genetic perspective (candidate gene and whole-genome based gene finding).
Mariette Huizinga Associate professor at Educational Neuroscience
I am trained as a developmental psychologist, with a focus on experimental (neuro-)psychology. The main focus of my research is on the development of executive functions, between childhood and young-adulthood. Executive functions are brain processes allowing someone to show goal-directed behavior, by flexibly adjusting to the changing circumstances in the environment. In doing so, we are, for example, able to show up on time, suppress outbursts for little reason, plan homework, or come up with alternative solutions. Together with Dr. Diana Smidts, I developed the Dutch adaptation of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) for children between ages 5 and 18. In addition, we co-authored a book on the development of executive function for the general audience: 'Gedrag in uitvoering'. My research interestes include self- and emotion regulation, peer influence, working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibition, complex task performance, strategy application, risk-taking behavior, social development - in relation to school performance
Mieke Donk Associate professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My primary research focus is on visual perception, attention, and eye movements. I use different methods including reaction time measures and eye movements to study attentional and oculomotor selection in simple displays and real-world scenes.
Sander Los Assistant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My research is focused on temporal cognition. Human beings and other animals have widespread, though largely implicit, knowledge of relevant temporal contingencies in the world (e.g., when a traffic light will turn green after we stopped our car in front of it). How do we learn these temporal contingencies and what is the nature of the memory system where these contingencies are stored? And how does our knowledge of these contingencies find expression in behavior? These are examples of questions I have examined over the past years in collaboration with Erik van der Burg, Martijn Meeter, and Wouter Kruijne. Our approach is to account for robust patterns of behavioral data (usually reaction times) by means of (formal) cognitive modeling.
Tomas Knapen Assistant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
How does the brain encode and process information for perception, decisions, and actions? My research is focused on answering this question, with a clear emphasis on creating a deeper understanding of the signals we record to gauge the brain’s representations of information. We describe the representation of information using forward/encoding models of visual processing, measuring from ultra-high field fMRI voxels as if they were neurophysiologist’s electrodes. Our goal is to describe computations not in terms of the signals we measure, but the information these signals convey.
Selected Recent Publications:
- Multistable perception and the Role of Frontoparietal Cortex in Perceptual Inference. J Brascamp*, P Sterzer*, R Blake*, T Knapen* Annual Review of Psychology, 2017
- Cognitive and ocular factors jointly determine pupil responses under equiluminance. T Knapen*, J W De Gee*, J Brascamp, S Nuiten, S Hoppenbrouwers, J Theeuwes. PLoS one, 11-5, 2016
- Oculomotor Remapping of Visual Information to Foveal Retinotopic Cortex. T Knapen, J D Swisher, F Tong, P Cavanagh. Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience 69-1 2016
- Negligible fronto-parietal BOLD activity accompanying unreportable switches in bistable perception. J Brascamp, R Blake, T Knapen. Nature Neuroscience, 18, 1672-1678 2015
Artem Belopolsky Assististant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
I have always been interested in understanding how visual attention works. I am intrigued by different forces that control the flow of information in the brain and eventually determine the contents of our consciousness and direct our actions. Why do we sometimes miss the obvious things, like the famous “invisible” gorilla? How can radiologist find a tumour on a scan within 200 ms? And what is particularly intriguing: do we possess the “free will” in directing our attention or are we just passive observers? In the last years I realized that visual attention cannot be studied in isolation from other cognitive functions. My research focused on linking visual attention to memory systems (Veni grant), emotional systems (threat and reward) and motor systems (eye movements and visual stability, ORA grant).The accumulated knowledge led to a reformulation of prominent theories of attentional control, visual memory and accounts of stability of visual world during eye movements.
Nienke van Atteveldt Assistant professor at Educational Neuroscience
I am a cognitive neuroscientist who is intrigued by the flexibility of the brain, and wants to narrow the gap between brain research and the (educational) practice. The brain has been my one big fascination ever since my biology studies at Utrecht University. Especially the interaction between how our brain evolved by selective processes, and the plasticity and experience-dependence during a lifetime. For example, our previous work has shown that the speech processing system is transformed by literacy acquisition, but how it is transformed depends on the language in which we learn to read (e.g. Dutch vs. English). Evolutionary forces seem to have enabled our brain to learn an artificial skill as literacy fairly easily, but yet, slightly differently depending on the environment. In other words, pre-shaped as well as plastic. The strong experience-dependency also emphasizes individual differences, which is very relevant for the educational practice. For example, it indicates that implications of neuro-imaging studies are rarely universal, but depend on country, culture, and the individual.
Francesca Righetti Assistant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My research focuses on close relationships. Specifically, I study how automatic vs. deliberative processes affect relationship dynamics, how people help each other in accomplishing goals and when partners decide to sacrifice their own interest for the relationship. In my work I use different methodologies, such as experience sampling procedures, diary studies, reaction time measures (e.g., implicit evaluation measures) and manipulations of key constructs in a laboratory setting.
Barbara Braams Assistant Professor at Department of Clinical, Neuro- and Developmental Psychology
My research focuses on adolescent neurocognitive development and decision-making. I am especially interested in (real life) risk-taking behavior and social influence on risk-taking behavior. During adolescence there is an increase in risk taking behavior, both in real life and in the lab. My research focuses on the underlying mechanisms that can explain this increase in risk taking behavior. To answer my research questions I use a variety of techniques including fMRI, computational modeling, hormone assessments and laboratory tasks.
Richard Ronay Assistant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
My primary research interest lies in understanding how our psychology, and the biological mechanisms that underlie this psychology, have evolved to determine how we respond “in the heat of the moment” to social triggers. I explore how these evolved mechanisms shape the balance between people’s cooperative versus competitive motivations. To explore these topics, I draw from various disciplines – psychology, biology, sociology, economics – and employ a range of methodologies – hormonal analyses, fMRI, heart rate, SCR, behavioral games, field and laboratory studies.
Michal Kandrik Assistant Professor at Social and Organizational Psychology
My research interests are various levels (cross-cultural, between-subject, within-subject) of systematic variation in people's face perceptions, mate preferences, and social judgments. Further, I am also interested in how do changes in people's hormonal profile relate to their social perceptions and behaviors.
Johannes Fahrenfort Assistant professor at Experimental and Applied Psychology
I am interested in exploring the relationship between cortical processing and conscious vision and to what degree the experience of seeing depends on attention. Particularly, I am interested in tying functional aspects of vision, as for example feature binding and predictive coding, to experiential aspects of vision, such as surface and shape perception in order to determine the relationship between function and experience. Contiguously, I am interested in determining to what degree conscious vision exists without selective attention as modulatory or causal force. Recently, I am expanding these questions into the domain of visual working memory.
Rob van Beers Assistant professor at section Sensorimotor Control
I am interested in many aspects of human motor control and spatial perception. As methods, I use a combination of psychophysical experiments and computational modelling. The modelling often follows a Bayesian approach, taking account of uncertainty and noise in sensory and motor signals.
Raôul Oudejans Associate Professor at section motor learning & performance
Raôul R.D. Oudejans, Ph.D., is Associate Professor at the Department of Human Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Faculty of Sports and Nutrition, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, The Netherlands. His main research and teaching areas are perceiving and moving in sports and other high-pressure contexts with emphasis on the psychological factors underlying performance. Raôul is specialized in the visual control of basketball shooting and training and performing under pressure.
John Stins Assistant professor at section Coordination Dynamics
I study how cognition, emotion, personality, and psychopathology impact the organization of movement, with an emphasis on regulating postural balance. My main theoretical interest involves the reciprocity between mental states and bodily states, as outlined by the embodied cognition thesis.
Melvyn Roerdink Assistant professor at section Sensorimotor Control
My research focuses on technology in motion for measuring, improving and stimulating human movement. I merge cutting-edge human movement science on topics like walking adaptability, sensorimotor control and coordination dynamics with evolving motion technologies (e.g., Kinect, Hololens) and academic entrepreneurship. I seek to generate knowledge and solutions for and with our students, educators and societal stakeholders, resulting in commercially available applications like the C-Mill, Interactive Walkway and Trapplaus.
Tieme Janssen Assistant Professor at Clinical Neuro and Developmental Psychology
My research covers cognitive neuroscience in healthy and clinical populations (e.g. ADHD) and neuroscience-based interventions (e.g. neurofeedback). For these purposes, I utilize the latest methodological developments in EEG analysis (e.g. source-reconstruction, connectivity analysis). I am motivated to translate neuroscience to applications outside the lab. One of my main interests is to unravel the underlying neural mechanisms of treatment response in well-designed randomized controlled trials. This may benefit further development and optimization of interventions, but can also serve to untangle specific from non-specific effects. Currently, I am working in the educational neuroscience field, investigating the effects of a newly developed growth-mindset intervention for adolescents using neurofeedback. Furthermore, I study neural processes associated with attention, inhibition and error/feedback monitoring.
Ruben Laukkonen Postdoc at Experimental and Applied Psychology
I’m investigating how long-term meditation practice affects the most basic processes of the brain, and thereby shedding light on just how malleable and plastic the brain is. There is hardly a more unique population than those who sit still, in silence, for tens of thousands of hours. We already know this impacts the brain in a potent way, but we don’t yet know how deep the effects go. Using the burgeoning theories known broadly under the banner of predictive processing, I’m testing whether the brains fundamental tendency to interpret the world according to our beliefs can be influenced. Is it possible that meditation genuinely allows practitioners to perceive the world in a more direct way, beyond conceptions? During my PhD, I conducted research on insight moments and epiphanies. For more information, see https://rubenlaukkonen.com.
Katinka van der Kooij Postdoc at Sensorimotor Control
Katinka’s research blends the field of computational motor control with motivation psychology and gamification. By making predictions based on computational models of motor control and manipulating motivational experiences using game technology, she can address an important question in psychology: whether human experiences such as motivation influence “low level” automatic brain processes such as motor control. This multi-layered approach in which she assesses both informational and experiential qualities of learning environments also facilitates collaboration with developers of digital learning environments.
Dirk van Moorselaar Postdoc at Experimental and Applied Psychology
Since the start of my PhD I have been intrigued by findings that elegantly demonstrate the limited processing capacity of our visual system. Despite the subjective feeling that we have a complete representation of everything and everyone in our immediate surroundings we can easily miss what’s right in front of us. During my PhD I have largely focused on how what we are currently thinking about (i.e. what we hold in memory) shapes the perception of our visual surroundings. In my postdoc period in the lab of Heleen Slagter I have expanded this research line by also investigating how the brain learns to deal with visual distractions. I mostly use psychophysics (incl. RT measurements) and electroencephalography to study these topics, but I also use eye-tracking and functional magnetic resonance imaging.
Mieke Schulte Postdoc at Clinical Neuro and Developmental Psychology
During my PhD project, I investigated the effectiveness of treating cigarette smoking and cocaine use by means of N-acetylcysteine to target glutamate in the brain and working memory training to improve cognitive control. I applied a multidisciplinary approach in which I used questionnaires, behavioral tasks and ecological momentary assessment, but also several neuroimaging techniques such as spectroscopy and fMRI. Currently, I am a postdoc in the section clinical psychology, focusing on e-mental health interventions primarily targeting depression and alcohol use. In addition, I am a program coordinator for the Digital Society research agenda, in the Health & Well-being program line. In the future I hope to combine both worlds by combining digital mental health interventions with neuroimaging techniques.
Eli Brenner Researcher at section Sensorimotor Control
My research in recent years has mainly focussed on how we hit moving targets and how we grasp objects. These questions have led me to investigate various issues regarding strategic decisions (e.g. choosing a movement path), spatial and temporal resolution, the role of expectations and eye movements. Beside related work on visual localisation and motion perception, I also have a continued interest in colour vision and in how various sources of information are combined.
Mariët van Buuren Postdoc at Clinical Developmental Psychology
I am intrigued by social cognition and how the underlying brain mechanisms may contribute to the development of psychopathology. In my research I mainly use functional MRI, to investigate activity as well as connectivity during resting-state and during social cognitive tasks. I currently work as a postdoctoral researcher in the group of Lydia Krabbendam at the department of Clinical Developmental Psychology, where we investigate the development of social cognition and social networks in adolescents.