Thanks for visiting the course page of the Research Practical (IPN2027/PSY2027) 2020-2021!
This is where you will be able to find lots of important course-related information in the coming weeks and months.
The final* group allocations are now published (see below). Most students were happy with their assigned groups, although we understand the disappointment if you were among the few students that could not be assigned their one of their preferred groups. Two sets of students still requested, and received, a swap between groups, but for the rest of you the final group allocation should be identical to the preliminary group allocation that was published previously.
We are confident that, whether or not you were assigned to your preferred projects, a great experience is waiting for you all!
These group allocations cannot be changed anymore.
Final allocation result, v001 of 02-03-2021
The project numbers and descriptions are still on this page, so you can look up your assigned group number in the project overview below to see what your project will be about and who your tutor will be.
|Wed. 17 February 2021||E-mail with link will be sent out.|
|Wed. 17 February -|
Wed. 24 February 2021 23:59 hrs
|Online form available.|
|Fri. 26 February 2021||Preliminary allocation to project groups.|
Preliminary allocation result (Excel), v001 of 26-02-2021 11:56 hrs
Fri. 26 February until
|Possibility to switch groups with a fellow student.|
|1 March||Final* allocation to project groups |
Final allocation result, v001 of 02-03-2021
* The final list of eligible students for this course is not yet known. Therefore, although we intend for the group allocations to be final, we may be forced to still move some students to different groups at a late stage, to balance the numbers of students between groups. We do not anticipate this on a large scale.
Conditional course booking possible
This course has two entry requirements: a pass for Statistics I and a pass for Methods and Techniques. Another course in this period, Statistics II, also has Statistics I as an entry requirement.
Given the current circumstances, the Board of Examiners (BoE) decided to allowed conditional course bookings: while waiting for the outcome of the resit for Statistics I, you can already take part in Statistics II and/or Research Practical this academic year. Students that might benefit from this arrangement have been contacted by email.
The Dutch and English programmes will be mixed and all groups and assignments will be in English.
Title: Seeing what’s not there
Tutor: Tom de Graaf
Description: Visual illusions generally involve the perception of something that is not actually there. Such as illusory contours, in the famous Kanisza triangle. Or apparent motion, where visual stimuli flicker in place but somehow cause the perception of a motion path. With your fellow-students, look into some of these illusions and choose one to investigate further. Can attention impact the strength of such an illusion? Does apparent motion make you better at perceiving real visual stimuli along the motion path? Just examples, feel free to come up with your own question!
Title: Let’s face it: we are seeing things differently
Tutor: Mathilde Kennis
Description: How you perceive a face is determined by characteristics of the faces you have seen before. This phenomenon is called face adaptation, and there are still a lot of questions about what kind of factors modify this. Is face adaptation merely a visional phenomenon, or can it teach us something about how our identities shape our perception? What role does gender identity play? Can face adaptation maybe even teach us something about transgender experiences?
Title: Controlling intrusions
Tutor: Stephanie Ashton & Conny Quaedflieg
Description: From time to time, we all experience unwanted thoughts. Whether that be something we stress over, something we worry about, or something that makes us feel sad or embarrassed. To some extent, we have the ability to control and suppress these unwanted thoughts and let go of things we would rather forget about. However, individuals differ in their ability to exert this control. For this project, you will design an experiment that will explore which factors influence our ability to control intrusive thoughts.
Title: Avoid your fears
Tutor: Pauline Dibbets
Description: If you do not like giving a speech, chances are low that you will volunteer for the presentation at the end of this course. Even more, you might avoid all presentation opportunities during the entire course. However, some students may overcome their presentation fear and will step forward. In this group, you will examine factors that influence avoidance and generalization of avoidance to other, similar situations. Keywords: fear conditioning, avoidance learning, avoidance generalization, personal factors.
Title: Determinants of study success
Tutor: Joyce Neroni
Description: Some students make studying seem very easy and pass exams with high grades. Others struggle and barely pass their study, or even fail or drop out. Is it just a matter of difference in how many hours someone studies and how much effort is given? Or are there also internal factors that might play a role here? In this correlational research, you will focus on possible factors related to study success.
Title: Coffee and exam performance
Tutor: Monika Toth
Description: Recent studies have reported that college students use psychostimulants, such as caffeine, to enhance concentration and study performance. Yet, it is unclear if caffeine's cognition-enhancing effects can be translated into 'real-world' advantages such as learning for an exam. In this experiment, we aim to investigate if improved cognitive performance, achieved by administering coffee, is associated with improved exam performance, whether the stimulant improves factual knowledge or insight and if it affects encoding or retrieval.
Title: What can my body do?
Tutor: Jessica Alleva
Description: Body functionality describes everything that the body is able to do, rather than how it looks. Research shows that focusing on your body functionality can lead to a more positive body image. Further, functionality appreciation—that is, appreciating and respecting your body for what it can do—has been shown to be a key facet of positive body image. Yet, research into body functionality is still in its infancy, as most body image research to date has focused on how people think and feel about their appearance. In this research practical, we will design a study together (quantitative or qualitative) to learn even more about body functionality and functionality appreciation.
Title: The ideal body
Tutor: Anita Jansen
Description: Body dissatisfaction is often associated with eating disorders, but many more people seem to be dissatisfied with their appearance. In this online study, we will try to find out how a diverse sample of young adults thinks about their bodies, whether body dissatisfaction is associated with a range of psychological problems, and how they think about, and strive for, ideal bodies. We need Dutch and English speaking students to be able to do the study in two languages.
Title:Teaching during lockdown, what should we do?
Tutor: Jolien Pieters
Description: Since the COVID-19 outbreak, studying has changed dramatically. The hybrid and fully online systems have had a major impact on students and their engagement. Student engagement refers (among other things) to the degree of curiosity, and passion that students have during their education, which influences their motivation. How could we increase student engagement during this lockdown period? Should we change our teaching; include the use of social media or use innovative icebreakers? Let's find out!
Title: Sorry, what did you say? Less effortful listening during online meetings
Tutor: Lars Hausfeld
Description: Virtual meetings in online settings have become a commonplace at universities, companies and also in private life. Understanding what others say in these meetings is crucial but potentially more effortful due to microphone settings (e.g., room reverberation or headsets) resulting in impoverished sound quality. In this practical, we will examine factors and decisions relevant for online meetings and determine their effect on speech comprehension and listening effort. Ideally, this results in best practices for online meetings.
Title: When your mind is full…
Tutor: Maitane Prinz
Description: It is everywhere: Mindfulness. Based on Buddhist psychology, the concept of living our life moment to moment and being grounded in the present is entering the West in various forms, such as yoga and many different types of meditation. In this research practical, I invite you to come up with your own ideas on how to study meditation and its effect on the human mind.
Title: A mindful student = a happy student
Tutor: Alicia Walkowiak
Description: Many studies in the field of work & organizational psychology have shown beneficial effects of mindfulness on stress, mood and fatigue among other things. We know from the literature that a short mindfulness intervention can decrease levels of fatigue of employees and can lead to better psychological detachment from work. In this research project, we will set up a short mindfulness intervention to see if mindfulness can also help students to better deal with stress and we will study related mechanisms, for example the role of mood.
Title: Not so proficient speaker, better judge?
Tutor: Maartje Schreuder
Description: Logical reasoning and emotions do not go together very well. An interesting study by Costa et al. (2014) shows that solving moral reasoning tasks in a language that is not your own improves the reasoning, by taking away the emotions. Could that also be the solution for preventing forensic experts from being biased? Should they analyse case files in a language they are just a little proficient in?
Title: Stop! Not so fast! Think slow!
Tutor: Arie van der Lugt
Description: A bat and a ball cost $1.10 in total. The bat costs $1.00 more than the ball. How much does the ball cost? _____ cents.
This is the first question in the Cognitive Reflection Task (CRT) (Frederick, 2005). The CRT is one of the most widely used tools to investigate differences between more intuitive and more rational thinking styles. In this research project, we will first review how this task has been used as a prime and as a measure for more rational vs more intuitive thinking. Inspired by this prior art, we will develop and test our own tool to trigger more rational analysis of information.
Title: Students’ (mental) health and Covid-19
Tutor: Lizette Krist
Description: Leaving one phase of life and moving into another is never easy, and the Corona pandemic has complicated the already difficult transfer. The study period is one such example. With it comes the challenge to know when to ask for help, and where to get it. In this project we want to investigate how students navigate their (mental) health needs during Covid-19. In this research group you will design an assessment of the effects of Covid-19 on (mental) health care for students.
Title: Primum non nocere (First, do no harm): Negative Effects of Psychotherapy
Tutor: Sanne Houben
Description: Unlike medical treatments, there are no prescriptions for mental health interventions such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, EMDR, or exposure therapy. Although the goal of these interventions is to alleviate the patients’ symptoms, some patients experience negative effects. For (future) clinicians it is important to recognize and classify such unwanted effects. The Unwanted Events – Adverse Treatment Reaction (UE-ATR) checklist should help mental health professionals in this process. In this study, you will examine whether this checklist is actually beneficial or not. The tutorial will be in English, but Dutch students are needed as well as the material is in Dutch.
Title: Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention!
Tutor: Felix Duecker
Description: Attention shapes how we perceive the world around us by selecting incoming sensory information that is relevant to us. Many factors can influence the allocation of attention, often causing subtle perceptual changes but sometimes also leading to dramatic effects (e.g. not perceiving a giant gorilla). We will conduct an online experiment to learn more about this attention thing :-)
Title: Studying narrative memory using non-invasive brain stimulation
Tutor: Vincent van de Ven
Description: We mentally segment our experiences in sequences of events, much like a movie or story narrative is segmented into discrete scenes. Event segmentation strongly interacts with perception and memory. However, much of the neural correlates of event segmentation and the processing of narratives remain unknown. In this group, we will use non-invasive brain stimulation (NIBS) to modulate brain activity related to memory encoding while participants watch a movie or listen to audio narratives and then test their associative memory of those narratives. We will develop adequate control conditions and tasks to further interpret the NIBS findings. NIBS will be conducted in line with Covid-19 regulations. Should NIBS research not be possible for the Research Practical this year, in relation to COVID-19, we will resort to online behavioural studies (using the narrative stimuli). The study requires a strong interest in the neuroscience of memory, as well as an interest to explore new but very demanding fields of research.
Title: The end is only the beginning: changing episodic memories after the fact
Tutor: Joel Reithler
Description: Storing information about relevant experiences is crucial to support future adaptive behaviour. Interestingly, recent neuroscientific findings suggest that different elements of an experienced episode are briefly ‘replayed’ through neural reactivations occurring after the episode itself has ended. In this project, we will design and run a behavioural experiment to test whether memory storage can be influenced by events which occur after an episodic memory has been initially encoded
Title: Studying the brain’s “film editor”
Tutor: Vincent van de Ven
Description: We mentally segment our experiences in sequences of events, much like a movie or story narrative is segmented into discrete scenes. In event segmentation, (perceived) context changes (i.e., changes in space, time, social or semantic context) play a crucial role: Experiences that share the same context will become more strongly associated in memory than experiences from different contexts. Context changes that are salient, surprising or perceived as important will lead to different event segmentations than context changes that are not noticeable or that are not considered relevant. In this group, we will investigate the role of cognitive and individual difference factors in processing context changes and how they affect event segmentation in memory. The study will be conducted as an online behavioural paradigm.
Title: Is my music ‘personal’?
Tutor: Anke Sambeth
Description: The most popular genre of music in 2020 was hip-hop. Maybe you are a fan of that music too, but it could also be that you like the favorite 90’s music styles such as dance-pop and reggae much better. I know that at least I do, but that might be a generational thing. However, it is likely that other aspects play a larger role in music taste than your age. In this research, we will together examine the influence different personality traits have on music taste and musicality.
Title: That food looks yuck!
Tutor: Sjaan Nederkoorn
Description: Some people are picky in eating and especially do not like to eat unfamiliar food. This is also called food neophobia. In other phobia, interpretation biases can play a role: people who are more afraid tend to interpret ambiguous situations as more dangerous. Is this also the case for food neophobia?
Title: Social Psychology
Tutor: Fleurie Nievelstein
Description: Why do people do the things they do? Why is it that people seem to act differently in a group? How much influence do others have on our own behaviour? Social psychology is the scientific study of the ways in which people’s behaviour, thoughts, and feelings are influenced by the actual or imagined presence of others. People influence others and are influenced by others. Other people don’t even have to say or do anything to influence us. In this study the focus will be on the concept of social influence. Students and supervisor will work together on defining concrete learning objectives based on students’ interest.
Title: Colors and performance
Tutor: Joyce Neroni
Description: It is well known that colors can have an effect on our mood and emotions. That is why advertisers make use of certain colors all the time. But could it be that colors have an impact on performance as well? Some people claim that the color green increases concentration, while others say that the color yellow is linked to better performance on a test. Which color is the best for your test results? Within this research, you are challenged to design an experiment to test in what way colors are related to performance on a task.
Title: Tossing and Turning
Tutor: Bo Aben
Description:Toss, .. Sigh,... Turn, ... Sigh,... Waking up the next day after a bad night of sleep never makes anything easy peasy lemon squeezy. But what caused it? Is it the big test awaiting tomorrow? Was it the flight you just had? Are you sleeping somewhere foreign? Or have you just always been a bad sleeper, in need of more sleep overall to function well throughout the day? In this research practical we will delve into the realms of non-chronic sleep problems and figure out how and what aspects of good sleep we can influence to keep you from the tossing and turning at night.
Title: Move mindfully
Tutor: Maitane Prinz
Description: It is everywhere: Mindfulness. Based on Buddhist psychology, the concept of living our life moment to moment and being grounded in the present is entering the West in various forms, such as yoga and many different types of meditation. In this research practical, you will focus on yoga and its effect on the human mind by coming up with your own research idea.
Title: It’s a self-centred world
Tutor: Vanessa Freund
Description: There is a vast array of different personalities out there, but have you ever noticed that there is a pattern in which some individuals’ worlds only seem to revolve around them? This doesn’t necessarily mean that they perceive themselves only positively. In this project we are looking at self-centred narcissistic traits which can either be highly self-confident or hypersensitive and see how these influence a concept/behaviour of your choice.
Title: Diversity and course materials
Tutor: Gina van Rossum
Description: People can be diverse in many ways: gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, skin colour, etc. Staff and students of UM have expressed that diversity is rarely in the forefront of course materials. Changing these materials will show our students and teaching staff that Maastricht University not only values diversity, but strives to make it a central aspect of the teaching and learning process. Within your research you will try to identify the current state of diversity within the current course material and you will think about the changes that need to be made to these materials.
Title: Manage your emotions, manage your time!
Tutor: Deni Kurban
Description: Do you find yourself pulling all-nighters to complete assignments or learn for an exam? Filled with guilt, do you keep promising yourself that you will start earlier next time and manage your time better but nevertheless find yourself at the last minute rushing again? Does binge watching Netflix sound like a much better idea than sitting in front of that textbook and learning? The prevalence of procrastination is extremely high in certain populations such as students and academics! But why is this and how can we better understand our procrastination?
Title: Brain overload! Information leakage during multitasking
Tutor: Judith Peters
Description: We are much worse at multitasking than we like to believe. Why can’t you follow a lecture and scroll attentively through your phone messages simultaneously? Some tasks are more difficult to combine than others, especially when information is interfering between tasks. In this project, we will design and run an experiment to understand what happens when tasks clash and how this is related to the organization of working memory in the brain.
Title: Not seeing what’s there
Tutor: Tom de Graaf
Description: Visual suppression involves not perceiving something that is actually there. You’re walking down the street, and someone says your name. Wow… apparently you walked right past a good friend of yours, but didn’t notice them at all. Were you distracted by that weird-looking dog perhaps? Or did your visual system just turn off for a little bit? Let’s find out together! We will test the limits of your favorite visual suppression paradigm, in an online setting.
Title: COVID-19 and the tired hippocampus
Tutor: Pim Heckman
Description: Current time has been unprecedented due to the COVID-19 outbreak affecting large parts of the world and resulting in a global pandemic. Even when treated and fully recovered from COVID, former patients have residuals complaints. These residual complaints include cognitive dysfunction. In addition, an increased prevalence of sleep disorders has been observed in 2020. We have shown on multiple occasions that loss of sleep can negatively affect cognitive functioning. Therefore, in the current project, we want to investigate the effect of COVID-19 on cognitive function in former COVID patients with and without sleep complaints. Our aim is to map the triangular relationship between COVID-19, loss of sleep, and impaired cognitive function.
Title: Do you dare to eat it?
Tutor: Sjaan Nederkoorn
Description If you are offered a novel food, it might taste delicious or nasty. Do you dare to try it? For this decision, you need to weigh the values and probabilities of both outcomes. Does sensitivity to reward and punishment influence the decision to try a novel food?
Title: LGBTQ+ in the workplace
Tutor: Gina van Rossum
Description: Within our society people belonging to the umbrella term LGBTQ+ still suffer from stigmatization. LGBTQ+ individuals can face problems at work, at school, or with any other social interaction they might have. For instance, transgender employees are more likely to report accounts of personal aggression, which include sexual harassment, verbal abuse, and threats of physical harm. These kinds of instances will likely affect the well-being of LGBTQ+ individuals. Within your research you will look at the effects of stigmatization on LGBTQ+ individuals in the workplace.
Title: The Eyes Have It!
Tutor: Carolien Martijn
Description: Interpreting the eye gaze of other people is a behavior that is present virtually from birth. The direction of eye gaze informs us about another person's attention, interest and what (s)he prefers and likes. Even very young children understand that when someone looks toward an object, one tends to prefer this over an object that one looks away from. In this project we will study if this transfers to social preferences for people: Do we also prefer people who are looked at by other people? There will be much room in this project for students to develop exciting novel research questions. For example: are people who looked at more positively evaluated in all kinds of aspects or only on specific dimensions (e.g. higher status)?
Title: The HIV cure debate – valuable or pointless.
Tutor: Tamika Marcos
Description: There is no cure for HIV and there won't be for a long time, but we still conduct 'HIV cure' research. Should we be allowed to call it that? What are better options? What does the public think of this? Why is it even a discussion? In this research you will explore and compare differences in perceptions and opinions in the HIV Cure debate.
Title: A cure for HIV – do we really need it?.
Tutor: Tamika Marcos
Description: Ever since the start of the HIV epidemic in the 80s of the previous millennium, scientists have been working hard on improving the lives of those living with HIV. In more recent years, the focus of said scientists has shifted from treating people living with HIV (PLHIV) to curing PLHIV, but is a cure really necessary. This research explores perceptions and ideas surrounding HIV cure and its necessity in the modern world. What do different groups think and how do their opinions compare or differ?
Title: Everyone can recognize voices, right?
Tutor: Maartje Schreuder
Description: In a highly debated case in the US, the recording of the voice of someone in severe agony was recognized by a mother as her son’s, while another mother also recognized it as her own son’s. However, their sons differed in age, race, size, etc. How is this possible? Would not every mother recognize her son’s voice? And it is not that difficult to recognize a voice, isn’t it? In this study, we will find out how easy or difficult it is to recognize voices, how it relates to recognizing faces, but most importantly, how easy or difficult people think it is to recognize voices and how that relates to reality.
Title: Learning from reward vs. punishment
Tutor: Laurens Kemp, Sjaan Nederkoorn
Description: We have many habits that we have formed as the result of influences from our environment: we are attracted by things we enjoy, such as browsing Instagram, and we are averse to things we dislike, such as reading difficult papers. How do these influences contrast with each other, and how does understanding them let us function better? Are people more motivated by the promise of reward, or by the absence of punishment?
Title: Updating beliefs – how much data do you need to see?
Tutor: Johannes Franz
Description: We are living in an ever changing environment. Nevertheless, we learn that many things work in a typical manner. For example, a car that drives into a tunnel will come out at the other end. But how quickly do you learn to expect a new typical behaviour (for example, cars that change color when they drive through a tunnel)? In other words: How much new data do we need to observe before updating our idea of the typical behavior of things? Generating predictions and comparing them to new experiences might be fundamental to the way in which the brain processes information. It might help the brain to focus its energy on processing situations where things do not behave as they normally do. We will design and program a behavioral task to test this online.
Title: Predicting everything – how ubiquitous are our expectations?
Tutor: Johannes Franz
Description: The brain might use learned statistical regularities as predictions for how situations unfold. This might offer an energy efficient way of processing information by focusing the resources on things that are not behaving as we expect them to. But do we generate predictions and compare them to our experience for everything that reaches our senses? Or do we expect ‘typical’ behavior only from things that we attend to? For example, when watching the Tour de France – Dos our brain hold expectations for when the equipment-cars re-appear from a tunnel even when we are only interested in the bikers? We will design and program a behavioral task to test this online..
Title: Are we all programmed to speak?
Tutor: Francesco Gentile
Description: Programming skills are becoming increasingly important for successful achievement in our digital society. They may share cognitive schema with numeracy and literacy skills as they all require the integration of culturally defined visual symbols to pre-existing sensory representations or concepts. The present project aims to investigate whether the numerical and letter-sound representational systems share similarities with programming languages and to what extent they differ.
Title: Bot or not?
Tutor: Salil Bhat
Description: In recent years Artificial Intelligence has advanced so much that it is becoming harder for humans to tell if something is generated by an AI or by a human. AI is really good at faking images, art, music, conversations (chats), poetry and even faces! Link1 randomly generates an image of a fake person. In Link2 you can play a game to guess which human face is real. How can we be fooled by AI? Can we get some psychological insights on this? Is the ability to recognize a human from an AI different in individual human beings or is it linked to certain personality traits? Can we humans be trained to not be fooled by an AI?
Title: When attention goes wrong
Tutor: Mark Roberts
Description: Did you ever see something that wasn’t there? Our brain often takes shortcuts and we see what is most likely based on what the context, not what is really there. When we pay attention, we ignore the context and see things accurately. But what would happen when the context is important for perceiving the stimulus? The mechanism that excludes context would make perception worse not better! In this project we will use online psychophysics to test whether sometimes it is better not to pay too much attention.
Title: Hold your horses
Tutor: Inge Leunissen
Description: Inhibitory control, or the ability to suppress unwanted thoughts or behaviour, is essential in everyday life, yet often underappreciated. The critical importance of inhibition becomes clear when the process fails, as in ADHD and Tourette’s syndrome where there is too little inhibition, or as in Parkinson’s disease where there is too much, resulting in slowness of movement (bradykinesia) and rigidity. We know that we are able to modulate inhibitory control by means of non-invasive brain stimulation. Would we also be able to do this with sounds or light flashes in an online setting? Alternatively, you could focus on factors that influence inhibitory control. We can decide on the exact research question based on your interests.
Title: Interfering with episodic memory
Tutor: Mark Roberts
Description: Although time is continuous, we experience life as a series of discrete events. Why? Neuronal recordings from the hippocampus show that the end of each event is marked by a burst of activity, however what this activity represents and what its function might be is unknown. One idea is that the brain replays what just happened to store the event in memory. In this project we will use an online 3D game environment to test this idea.
Title: Stress relief and improvement of mental well-being
Tutor: Joyce Neroni
Description: The COVID-19 pandemic is already going on for a year now, and it is not surprising that it is causing a lot of stress and has a negative influence on our mental well-being. Also within the student population, many feel isolated and have trouble focusing on their studies. In this research practical, I want to encourage students to come up with ideas on how to contribute to lower the stress and heighten the mental well-being. The direction of this research and the corresponding research question depends on the interests of the students.
Title: Does attention to pain contribute to racial disparities in pain care?
Tutor: Dimitri Van Ryckeghem
Description:Emerging evidence suggests that racial disparities and inequity in pain treatment pose a significant health problem. Why caregivers engage in discriminatory behaviors toward certain racial groups remains however unclear. Within current project, we aim to investigate how caregivers’ attention towards sufferer’s pain contribute to racial disparities in pain care. In particular, we will investigate this using a visual search paradigm adapted to investigate racial disparities in children expressing pain.
Title: Sleeping beauty
Tutor: Bo Aben
We have all probably had our fair share of bad nights of sleep. Fortunately, however, these bad nights are for many of us not everlasting, but unfortunately, they are for others. Sleep disorders occur in various shapes and sizes and can be triggered by a diverse range of situations, whether external (e.g. shift work) or internal (brain damage, mental disorders). What causes these conditions to lead to sleep disorders and once present, how do they affect us? In this research practical we will look into these questions and try to figure out how to help those affected to become sleeping beauties once again.