We're looking forward to meet you in April.
|30 January 2020 -|
10 February 2020
|12 February 2020||Preliminary allocation of projects ('results')|
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See below for details on switching.
We have allocated all of you to one of your 6 choices, and 54.7% to their first choice.
|12-17 February 2020|
|Possibility to switch.|
|19 February 2020||Final allocation of projects|
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The Dutch and English programmes will be mixed and all groups and assignments will be in English.
Title: Eyewitnesses Around the Clock
Tutor: Sergii Yaremenko and Anna Sagana
Description: Our body clock, also known as the circadian rhythm, has an immense impact on all aspects of our functioning, from pure biology to performance on cognitively demanding activities. The legal arena represents a domain where optimal cognitive performance may be critical: Performance of eyewitnesses can play a crucial role in the administration of the law, with eyewitness errors potentially leading to wrongful convictions and other miscarriages of justice. Can we help eyewitnesses provide accurate statements by conducting the interview at the peak of their cognitive performance? Are some hours of the day more optimal for administering lineups than others? In this project, you will design your own experiment that sheds light on these and other questions related to sleep, circadian rhythm and eyewitness memory.
Title: In reverse: how do you act out your frustrations?
Tutor: Pauline Dibbets
Description: People bumping into you, getting a lower grade than anticipated, wrappers that do not open…..these actions can result in frustration or anger. Not everybody will act upon these emotions; some people can easily put these feelings aside while others turn to aggressive behavior. In this research group you will examine the tendency to act aggressively on unexpected changes in a virtual reversal learning paradigm.
Title: Improve your grades and reduce study time: Use retrieval practice!
Tutor: Sandra Wetzels
Description: When preparing for an exam, do you also highlight important text portions, summarise the text, or restudy it? And how does this work for you? Are your grades as high as you would like? Although these study techniques are extensively used, research has shown that they are not necessarily the most effective. Retrieval practice, in which retrieval of information from long-term memory is stimulated, might be more beneficial for long-term retention and self-regulated learning. But are your peers aware of these beneficial effects of retrieval practice on learning? And how can this study strategy be optimally used?
Title: Third time’s the charm: Do eye movements lead to false memories or not?
Tutor: Sanne Houben
Description: Side effects of psychological interventions are unknown, simply because the research on this topic is scarce. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a popular intervention to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Two studies tried to examine a side effect of EMDR: the susceptibility to false memories. False memories are memories of an event that an individual did not witness. False memories can have disastrous consequences when they enter the legal arena as they can result in false accusations of for example sexual abuse. Both studies used the same procedure, but, interestingly, these found opposite results: One study claims eye movements do lead to false memories, while the other study did not find this effect. In this practical, you will replicate the procedure to seal the deal once and for all: do eye movements lead to false memories or not? As a novel element, we will also include another therapy (Imagery Rescripting) and examine whether this intervention might lead to false memory production.
Title: Side effects of EMDR and Imagery Rescripting
Tutor: Sanne Houben
Description: Contrary to medical interventions, there is no prescription when it comes to psychological intervention. This is interesting, as 10-20% of patients do not benefit from psychological therapies. In this practical, we will examine a possible side effect of two popular treatments to treat patients with post-traumatic stress disorder: Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Imagery Rescripting. More specifically, we will examine the susceptibility to false memories: a memory of an event that an individual did not witness. False memories can have disastrous consequences when they enter the legal arena as they can result in false accusations of for example sexual abuse, and therefore contribute to miscarriages of justice. In this practical, we will mimic the therapeutic setting and see whether these two therapies might lead to false memory formation.
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: Sweet addiction
Tutor: Arjan Blokland
Description: There is still a debate whether sugar is addictive or not. However, the definition of addiction is quite broad and may entail different facets. For example, addiction can be related to ‘liking’ and ‘wanting’. But there are also other dimensions related to addiction. Is an increase in dopamine in the brain a prerequisite in order to define a (anticipated) reward as addictive? Or can be determine on basis of certain aspects of behaviour whether a (anticipated) reward could have addictive properties? In this research projects I would like to examine some behavioural measures in order to evaluate whether sweets may have some properties that could be associated with an addictive property.
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 courses, 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 (either internal or external) factors that might play a role here? In this correlational research, students will come up with possible factors related to study success.
Title: Changing minds
Tutor: Bram Duyx
Description: Have you ever wondered why and how people lose or win a debate? Some people contend that we currently live in a post-truth environment, where facts and logic reasoning are viewed as less important than personal beliefs and opinions. Consequently, one may wonder how the acceptability of a conclusion depends on the interaction between the soundness of an argumentation and other, logically irrelevant cues. Similarly, could the quality of a debate be improved by presenting your arguments differently? Students and supervisor will work together to design a study based on the students’ interests.
Title: Be present; forget the future
Tutor: Stephanie Ashton
Description: Excessive worrying over the future is a common symptom observed in stress related psychopathology. These disorders cause suffering for the individual and high costs for society. Current treatment strategies, although effective, only show moderate effect-sizes when compared to adequate control groups. Emerging literature indicates that mindfulness can be used to treat fear and anxiety related disorders. To date, the mechanisms behind this remain unclear. For this project, you will design an innovative experiment that explores the power of mindfulness and its influence on our ability to control our future fears.
Title: Forgetting your fears
Tutor: Stephanie Ashton
Description: Our memories define who we are and help us adapt to current and future events. Thoughts of past events shape imaginations of our future. However, not all imaginations are desirable. To some extent, we have the ability to choose which future thoughts we remember and which we forget. Intentional suppression of future fears can lead to subsequent forgetting which, in turn, hinders their emotional impact. However, individuals differ in their ability to exert this control. For this project, you will design an innovative experiment that will explore whether our ability to control our fears can be improved.
Title: Zap! Brain stimulation study of attention.
Tutors: Tom de Graaf & Felix Dücker
Description: Something interesting can capture your attention. If necessary, you can also force yourself to pay attention to something less interesting. You do this many times per day. A network of brain regions underlies the seemingly simple act of attention allocation. Brain stimulation tools, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), can be used to directly induce, disrupt, or modulate brain activity in specific regions or in whole networks. Coupled with clever tasks, this can reveal the causal contribution of brain regions to a function like attention. Together, we will design and perform a brain stimulation experiment to study attention.
Title: Drugs and cognition
Tutor: Wendy Bosker
Description: Acute drug administration has measurable effects on behaviour and performance. But what are the effects of non-acute drug use? Is there a difference in performance when you smoke a joint once a week or when you use it more regularly? Are there personality characteristics that makes somebody more vulnerable to deleterious drug effects? These are some of the questions you can ask in this research. You are free to design your own experiment within the boundaries of ethics, the title and the available cognitive tests.
Title: Stress and cognition
Tutor: Wendy Bosker
Description: Why do some people cope better with life events than others? Is your memory affected by the level of stress you experience? Do you study better when you feel a little pressure? Everybody experiences stress sometimes, but some people seem to thrive on it while others crumble under the pressure. What makes the difference? In this research group you are free to design your own experiment about the relationship between stress and performance on (available) cognitive tests.
Title: Food and Mood, why do we really eat?
Tutor: Jeanine Brouwer
Description: Do we eat for reasons besides our rumbling tummies? Many beliefs exist with respect to the effect of food on our mental state. Remember when your mum told you to drink a warm glass of milk before going to bed; or when your friend told you to come over for ice-cream after a break-up; or when your partner ordered oysters hoping for a heated end of the night? Are there truths to any of these beliefs? Do certain foods really play with our mental states? You will design and conduct an experiment that sheds light on the relation between food and our mental state.
Title: Social Media and Body Image
Tutor: Jeanine Brouwer
Description: Do you like what you see when you look in the mirror? Shockingly, about half of all women and men are unhappy with their body. Often, we hear that social media has a negative influence on our body image because of the body ideal that it portrays. Is this always the case? Under what circumstances is this true? Are some people more susceptible than others? You will design and conduct an experiment that sheds light on the relation between social media and body image.
Title: The role of endogenous testosterone in emotional empathy and mentalizing
Tutor: Alex Puiu
Description: While testosterone is typically associated with aggression in men, much of its bad reputation relies on anecdotal findings. To a similar extent, men with high levels of testosterone are thought to be less empathetic than men with low bioavailable testosterone levels. The relation of testosterone on theory of mind, however, remains elusive. In this practical, you will implement a novel realistic paradigm assessing emotional empathy and theory of mind abilities in healthy men with heterogeneous endogenous testosterone levels. You will use the second-to-forth digit ratio as a proxy of endogenous testosterone which you will then enter in a mediation-moderation analysis aimed to investigate the effect of testosterone on empathy abilities.
Title: How can we make diversity in teams work?
Tutor: Gina van Rossum
Description: People can be diverse in many ways: gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, skin colour, etc. People are said to prefer working together with others that are similar to themselves. Within diverse teams it is likely conflict will arise, consequently their performance may be lower than that of homogenous teams. However, diverse team are thought to draw from more diverse skills, abilities, sources of information, and knowledge possibly increasing the performance of the team. Within your research you will try to identify how we can ensure the positive outcomes of diversity in a team.
Title: LGBT+ and society
Tutor: Gina van Rossum
Description: Within our society people belonging to the umbrella term LGBT+ still suffer from stigmatization. LGBT+ 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 the LGBT+ individuals. Within your research you will look at the effects of stigmatization on LGBT+ individuals.
Title: Do colors have impact on performance?
Tutor: Joyce Neroni
Description: It is well known that colors can have 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 students are challenged to design an experiment to test in what way colors are related to performance on a task.
Title: First Dates: Can we predict when people will say YES to a second date?
Tutor: Mart van Dijk
Description: Earlier studies have shown that people tend to wear red and black clothes more often when going on a first date. Does this make them more attractive? Or are there other factors that influence your success on a first date, for example subtle touching the other person? We want to analyze the candidates of the tv-show First Dates and find out what factors influence their success on a first date!
Tutor: Ewout Meijer
Description: It is tempting to think that cheating and dishonesty are widespread. Athletes cheat, for example (think Lance Armstrong). And companies cheat (think dieselgate). Even professors cheat (think Diederik Stapel). At the same time, research suggests that people are predominantly honest. So where do students fall on this continuum? Is cheating – for example on exams - a substantial problem, as some people seem to think it is? For this project you will use methods from social psychology to answer this question.
Title: Tell me why I don’t like Mondays…
Tutor: Alicia Walkowiak
Description: Employees often experience stress at work and it is therefore important that they take time to recover from work when they are at home. We know that levels of stress and recovery fluctuate over the course of the workweek and there is evidence for the so-called “Monday morning blues”: people actually feel more fatigued on Monday than on other working days, but why is this the case? In this study, we will focus on the student population to see if there is evidence for the Monday morning blues among students, and, if so, what could be the mechanism causing these Monday blues.
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: Reaction time in different environments
Tutor: Daphne ter Huurne
Description: When studying or working in the library, at home or in a public place different sounds and surroundings are present. Other students are talking, colleagues are getting coffee, a friend is asking you a question while you are working on your paper; are we still able to concentrate? Do we get distracted by the paintings on the wall? How do the different kind of environments influence the ability to do your work? Does it help when studying with friends? In this research group you will design and conduct an experiment that will examine how different environments with different stimuli affect someone’s work or studying.
Title: The role of attention malleability in the context of pain
Tutor: Dimitri Ryckeghem
Description: Chronic pain of is one of the largest health problems in western society, resulting in reduced quality of life and tremendous societal and economic costs. Several theories hypothesize that biased attention for pain information is key in explaining poor pain outcomes (Crombez et al., 2016). Recently it has been suggested that in particular reduced levels of attention malleability, i.e. the extent to which attention biases are flexible - dependent upon goal pursuit and context -, may explain poor pain outcomes (Van Ryckeghem et al., 2019). In current study, we will investigate this hypothesis using an attention for pain malleability paradigm in the context of experimental pain.
Title: Can we detect tactile ‘short-sightedness’ in the brain?
Tutor: Till Steinbach and Amanda Kaas
Description: Arm-hand Immobilization after e.g. a fracture is associated with changes in tactile perception and position sense, and induces changes in the somatosensory cortex. It is however not clear whether and how the somatotopic finger representation is affected. You will design an experiment to test how arm-hand immobilization in healthy participants affects tactile perception and position sense. You will use both psychophysics and functional magnetic resonance imaging. The results will provide an important basis for the development of more sensitive tests for tactile and position sense deficits in stroke patients, which can have profound impact on motor performance and motor learning.
Title: I just can stop loving ….. myself
Tutor: Rob Markus
Description: Narcissistic persons commonly express feelings of superiority, entitlement and self-importance and show a severe lack of empathic understanding. Despite these expressions of grandiosity, research suggests that narcissistic persons do show emotional vulnerabilities such as fluctuating self-esteem, emotional conflicts and greater stress vulnerabilities. Perhaps the tendency to exhibit high-self-esteem and interpersonal dominance is just an act of self-protection (trying to keep a positive view about one’s self). In this research group we will together design and conduct a laboratory experiment to explore whether stress exposure particularly in participants with high narcissism scores may increase negative experiences and subsequently reduce the capacity for empathic understanding.
Title: Will that hurt? Maladaptive learning of pain threat beliefs
Tutor: Rena Gatzounis
Description: For daily life, it is important to be able to learn that certain cues predict the presence (or absence) of certain events (“contingency learning”). This way we also form pain threat beliefs, for instance beliefs that a certain body posture or movement will be painful or not painful. Such beliefs usually lead to fear and avoidance. However, pain threat beliefs may spread to safe cues (e.g., non-harmful body postures) by means of maladaptive learning (e.g., overgeneralization, impaired safety learning). In this group, you will design and execute a novel experiment investigating maladaptive learning of pain threat beliefs.
Title: Shaping memories: how short-term use influences long-term storage
Tutor: Joel Reithler
Description: Our surroundings are constantly in flux and we are continuously confronted with new visual stimuli. Given our limited capacity for long-term storage, we therefore have to somehow select which pieces of information to retain while others are permanently discarded. In this project, we will design and run an experiment delving deeper into the mechanisms that govern the interactions between short- and long-term memory storage based on recently proposed principles in the neurobiological literature.
Title: Personality and academic performance
Tutor: Iva Branska
Description: Which personality traits help and hinder academic performance? A lot of research focuses on IQ and GPA, but another very important factor is personality. Does conscientiousness help students be more organized and persistent when studying? Does neuroticism contribute to procrastination or stress before the exam? Does openness help students to be more motivated and interested during their studies? In this research project students will have the chance to explore these and many other possible topics related to personality and academic performance.
Title: Speaking, Listening and Doing
Tutor: Mark Roberts
Description: When two tasks simultaneously use overlapping neuronal networks, performance is impaired. A classic demonstration of this is interference between speaking, which engages the left hemisphere, and motor tasks using the right hand. The motor theory of speech perception proposes that listening to speech engages the same neural circuits as used during speech production. In this research group you will design and conduct a novel experiment to test whether listening, as well as speaking, interferes with right-handed motor tasks.
Title: Does chocolate improve our mood?
Tutor: Frenk Peeters
Description: Many people love chocolate not only because it tastes great but also because many claims are made that chocolate is good for our health. One of these claims pertains to supposed beneficials effects on our mood; chocolate may have mood improving effects. Is this true? And if it is true, how can we explain this? Are there certain components in chocolate that are associated with this effect, is it the heavenly taste, or just only white chocolate? In this research group, you will design a study to examine the association between chocolate and mood.
Title: See, I already knew that food tastes bad!
Tutor: Sjaan Nederkoorn
Description: People tend to look for information that confirms believes they already have, also called a confirmation bias. This bias can be maladaptive: if you are scared for spiders and you tend to look for confirming information that spiders are dangerous, you can become even more scared. Indeed, previous studies found that a confirmation bias can play a role in the maintenance of anxiety disorders. Children can be reluctant to try novel foods, also called food neophobia. Can a confirmation bias also play a role here? In this group, you will try to find out.
Title: Recognizing a voice that you heard only dimly
Tutor: Maartje Schreuder
Description: Two robbers of a supermarket forced the manager to open the safe. A cashier hears the robbers’ voices through the wall. The police ask whether she will be able to recognize the robbers’ voices. Earwitness studies show that recognizing voices is not easy. So what would the effect of hearing a voice through a wall be on the witness’ recognition performance later on? Would it still be worth the investment for the police? In this practical, you will learn the intricacies of designing a good earwitness study, and your findings may be informative for police practice.
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: What happened? The role of alcohol intoxication on memory
Tutor: Eliza de Sousa Fernandes
Description: Alcohol consumption is highly prevalent among young adults and is associated with several negative consequences. It has been previously shown that exposure to alcohol can negatively interfere with several cognitive processes, including executive functioning. Particularly, alcohol consumption can affect memory-related processes in a dose-dependent manner, which might lead to poor memory formation of a given event. Retrieval of experiences to make accurate memory judgement is an important ability in daily life. However, previous research on the acute effects of alcohol on memory have shown mixed results. A better understanding of the role of alcohol on memory-related processes could shed light on the discrepancies found in previous studies.
Title: Seeing the forest through the sleaze
Tutor: Peter Römgens
Description: Deception is a common phenomenon in human interaction, but studies have shown that we’re not exactly amazing at spotting them. Furthermore, it seems to be very hard to study this in lab settings, which might be due to the seeming lack of consequences if the participants get caught. In this study, the group will try to create a research design that makes the conditions as realistic as possible, even though it is more of a lab setting. Furthermore, the Reality Interview method will be used to analyze the given statements from honest versus dishonest participants, in several conditions. This group will have quite some freedom in the set-up of the design, even though there are pre-existing ideas.
Title: Remember the time
Tutor: Vincent van de Ven
Description: Time is a fundamental feature of human memory: We use temporal information to memorize narratives (stories, movies, life events), chunk events in temporal order, or use temporal structure from previous experiences in memory to predict what will happen in the near future. Further, our sense of time can change under different circumstances, such as emotional arousal or attention, which in turn can affect our memories. Recent studies in humans and animals have shown that memory-related brain structures, such as the hippocampus, also play a role in time perception and temporal cognition. In this practical, we will further investigate the associations between time and memory. We will rely on literature about time perception and memory that are heavily based on cognitive neuroscience approaches, as well as strong experimental designs in the fields of time perception and memory.
Title: Audio-visual integration and learning
Tutor: Francesco Gentile
Description: Audiovisual decoding of phonological/verbal codes is one of the basic skills of fluent reading. Previous brain imaging studies have indicated deficient and sluggish letter-speech sound association in both dyslexic adults and children. However how these audiovisual associations are built and which factors influence the learning process remains unknown. During this practical, you will design and conduct a novel experiment that will investigate behavioural and brain (EEG) correlates of audiovisual learning process in typical and dyslexic readers.