The focus of the expertise group Experimental Psychology is on understanding, explaining and predicting human behaviour, both on the level of cognition in general - perception and attention in particular -, and on the level of neural processing, predominantly in healthy individuals. The group is led by prof dr. M.M. Lorist, and is part of the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences of the University of Groningen.




Group Interest

We process information that comes in via our senses, and transform this information into a behavioural response, taking into account knowledge stored in our memory and the goals we want to accomplish. Flexible and efficient performance, necessitates that we continuously adapt to changes in our external and internal environment.

Our group is interested in the dynamics of these adaptive changes, both at the level of cognition, and at the level of neural processing, predominantly in healthy individuals. We use a wide range of methods, ranging from behavioural research to advanced neuroimaging.

Research with an open mind

We have shown that factors such as fatigue, ageing and learning have an influence on human behaviour and dynamics in the brain.

Apart from some notable exceptions, our research program is primarily curiosity-driven. It is aimed at pressing forward our insight in and understanding of the dynamics in human performance and underlying brain mechanisms, acknowledging the uncertainties that can come with fundamental research trying to tackle new problems. This creates an optimal environment for young scholars who are being trained to engage with the challenges we encounter in our quest for knowledge with an open mind.


    In this section you can find all our professors, researchers and students.
    Names are on alphabetic order. Please select a link to refine your search:

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AKYÜREK, Dr. E.G. (ELKAN) Associate professor



Research

Elkan Akyürek is interested in human cognition and perception, and particularly in working memory, selective attention, and perceptual integration over time. All in one: How do we perceive coherent objects and events, attend to them while ignoring others, and then remember them for a while when they have disappeared again? To study the brain in action, he often uses electroencephalography (EEG), next to measuring task performance.

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ALTINOK, A. (AHMET), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

His interests include visual working memory, attention, cognitive approach, and schema theory. He is particularly interested in the effect of cocoa on working memory and cognitive process. He has been granted a scholarship to continue his doctoral studies abroad, and he is currently a Ph.D. student in the field of Experimental Psychology at Groningen University, Netherlands.

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BALTA, G. (GÜLŞEN), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

The perception system requires a period of time to perceive object, motion or events to be integrated. To illustrate; when two stimuli are presented successively within a short period of time, both stimuli are integrated into a single percept. I am investigating whether it is possible to control this time frame of the perceptual process of integration by manipulating the speed or rhythm of the stimulus.

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BERG, Dr. B. VAN DEN (BERRY) Postdoctoral researcher



Research

In daily life we attend to particular sources of information while ignoring others. Attention allows the brain to selectively enhance sensory inputs for further processing, especially those that are self-relevant. My research is focused on understanding the fundamental neural mechanisms of how the brain learns which inputs to attend to and the consequence of this learning in social situations.  

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DAMSMA, A. (ATSER), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

time plays an important role in almost everything we do in everyday life. In my research, I focus on the interaction between time perception and memory: How is time represented in memory and how do memories in turn influence our sense of time? I am also interested in how temporal regularities, for example in musical rhythms, guide our attention.

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DOESBURG, T. (TOM), MSc Mobile application developer



Research

As a software developer working on the Rugged Learning / Slim Stampen project I am responsible, together with Jasper Smit for building and designing the Rugged Learning app and website. 

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FABBRI, Dr. S. (SARA) Assistant Professor



Research

The ability to reach and grasp objects (e.g. grasping the cup of coffee to drink) is fundamental for an efficient interaction with the world. In my research, I investigate how the human brain processes information about the object location and physical properties (e.g. shape and size). My goal is to understand how these information are used by the human brain to serve actions.

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HAAN, B.E. (TINEKE) DE, MSc PhD Candidate



Research

In general aging is related to changes in cognition, brain structures and behavior. However, fascinatingly, there seem to be large individual differences in this process. As we age we also encounter multiple major life events, like retirement, that can affect our cognition and possibly even our brain structures. My research aims to study changes that occur during aging by means of group comparisons and within individual comparisons over time.

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JOLIJ, Dr. J. (JACOB) Assistant professor



Research

How do you study something so ineffable as the human mind? Can you really prove that mind is what the brain does (or not)? In my work, I look for methods to test the metaphysical assumptions many of us have about the mind-brain relationship. Apart from that, I have a strong interest in all issues surrounding data and data management in social science.

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JONG, M. DE (MARLON), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

Marlon’s research revolves around mental fatigue @ work. She specifically focuses on how the effects of mental fatigue can be made objectively measurable in a way that it doesn’t interfere with regular office work. Besides detecting mental fatigue, she is interested in reversing its effects. In one of her research projects, for example, she is investigating how coffee and monetary reward influence course of mental fatigue.

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KANDEMIR, G. (GÜVEN), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

I investigate quick changes that occur in the brain to store and maintain information over short periods of time. I mostly record voltage changes over the scalp with EEG and use these recordings to predict which information is present in the memory at a specific time. I aim to discover how brain dynamics evolve over time and across different conditions to accommodate memory and attention.

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KARABAY, A. (AYTAҪ), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

My research is focused on how we process and integrate visual information over time, what sort of stimuli features influence our visual attention and perception. When attention is deployed one object to another in time, identification of the second object is limited. Limitations of temporal attention is main subject of my research. Furthermore, I do research about cocoa flavanols, which are found in dark chocolate and influence cognitive functions.

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KRUIJNE, Dr. W. (WOUTER) Postdoctoral researcher



Research

As a post-doc for Hedderik van Rijn, I am interested in the issue how time is represented in the brain. I try to develop computational models that explain how the brain can construct  such a representation and use it to effectively guide behavior, even in situations where we are not 'actively' keeping track of how long certain intervals take.

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LORIST, Prof. Dr. M.M. (MONICQUE) Full Professor



Research

Human behaviour is characterized by significant differences between and within individuals. Moreover, flexible and efficient performance necessitates that we continuously adapt to changes in our external and internal environment. The dynamics in our behaviour, underlying the richness of behavioural diversity, are largely undelineated. My line of research explicitly aims at enhancing our understanding of mechanisms underlying this variability in cognitive performance within and between individuals.

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MAASS, S.C. (SARAH), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

All human behaviour is expressed in, and dependent on time, yet timing behaviour is highly subjective. In my research I focus on how different factors such as arousal, contextual presentation or emotions influence timing behaviours, in both healthy and clinical populations. In a second line of research I look at long-term retention of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation in students, and how this training can be personalized. 

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MATHÔT, Dr. S. (SEBASTIAAN) Assistant professor



Research

I study vision with a particular focus on the role that pupil responses play in how we perceive the world. Why do our pupils constrict (become smaller) when we look at something bright? And how is this pupil light response related to cognitive factors such as attention, working memory, and eye movements? Why do our pupils dilate (become bigger) when we become aroused? These are questions that fascinate me. In addition to my experimental research, I'm also the developer of OpenSesame, an open-source program for the development of psychology experiments.

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MIJN, W.R. (ROBBERT) VAN DER, MSc PhD Candidate



Research

Why does it seem sometimes that time is moving fast? This is one of the questions my research addresses. I want to learn more about the cognitive and neurological mechanisms that allow us to perceive the passage of time. Through experimental studies and analysis of data from outside the lab, I try to find out how people use information about the passage of time to make decisions.

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NIEUWENSTEIN, Dr. M.R. (MARK) Assistant professor



Research

Anyone will agree that paying attention is important when we want to remember something. But what exactly does it mean to “pay attention” and how does this contribute to the formation of lasting memories? In my research, I attempt to delineate and characterize the mechanisms of information processing that unfold in the course of processing a to-be-remembered stimulus. Using behavioral experiments, I examine how systematic manipulations of stimulus types, task requirements, and dual-task conditions influence our ability to remember what we perceive. While this line of work is primarily intended to offer fundamental insight into mechanisms of attention and memory formation, it may also contribute to understanding some of the failures of human memory in everyday life, such as the difficulty in providing accurate eyewitness testimonies, or the failure to remember information under various dual-task conditions.

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NIJENKAMP, R. (ROB), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

Second chances are prevalent in daily life. I study how having a second chance to achieve a goal influences your behavior on the first chance. More specifically, I have investigated how the prospect of having the option to resit a failed exam influences how much one studies for that first exam, compared to a situation with only one chance to pass an exam.

PILZ, DR. K. S. (KARIN Associate professor



Research

Karin Pilz is interested in some of the most fundamental aspects of vision such as motion and orientation perception, person and object recognition, and attention. She uses behavioural methods, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging to further the understanding of the neural mechanisms underlying those abilities. One of the key aspects of her research is to understand how perceptual and cognitive processes change with age.

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RIJN, Prof. Dr. D.H. VAN (HEDDERIK) professor



Research

All behavior takes place in time. My general research goal is to understand how cognitive processing is influenced by temporal constraints, how temporal patterns extracted from human behavior can be used in applied settings to improve personalization of artificial systems, and how the brain keeps track of time. This general goal is instantiated in two research lines: Funded by NWO VICI and EU FP7 grants, my group studies which brain processes are involved in the timing of everyday tasks, in healthy young and aged, and clinical populations. And based on collaborations with external partners, we study how fact learning in educational settings can be optimized by personalization.

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SALET, J.M. (Josh), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

The perception of time plays a major role in our behavior. During my PhD I will focus on what makes the brain tick and how it keeps track of time. I enjoy working on the cutting edge of computation and neuropsychology. In doing so, I hope to get a grasp on how timing emerges from our brains. 

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SARAMPALIS, Dr. A. (TASSOS) Lecturer



Research

The aim of my research to understand how the ability to understand speech changes in less-than-perfect conditions, because of factors such as hearing problems, ageing, communicating in a non-native language, or external noise. A key aspect in all of the projects I work on is an interest in the interactions between cognition and perception and how hearing technologies alter these interactions.

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SENSE, Dr. F. (FLORIAN) Postdoctoral researcher



Research

I am interested in individual differences in the ability to learn and retain new information. I believe that a computational description of memory can help us to quantify such differences. And, most importantly, once such differences are quantified, I believe that we can use such formal descriptions to help people learn more material in a shorter amount of time.

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SPAN, Dr. M.M. (MARK) Technical Scientific Advisor



Research

My primary responsibility is being a technical adviser for the research support group of the faculty. As a researcher myself, I am aware of the advantages technical support can bring in doing scientific research. The research support group consists out of technicians who are (for the largest part) from a scientific background. I will try to help you with the technical aspects of research in the broadest form, from task development to data analysis. I do so by providing advice and practical help. I specialize in signal- and timeseries analysis / repeated measurements / multilevel analysis, and physiological measurements. I am also a lecturer for the experimental Psychology unit. I mainly teach skills courses.

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VELDE, M. (MAARTEN) VAN DER, MScPhD Candidate



Research

Technology is changing how we learn. Adaptive fact-learning systems offer students a digital learning environment tailored to them: by estimating how well a student has memorised particular items, these systems can optimise the learning schedule on the fly. My research evaluates the usage of such a system in secondary and tertiary education and aims to refine current memory theories to better predict retention over time.

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Wisnu Wiradhany, MSc PhD Candidate



Research

I study processes involved and associated with everyday multitasking behavior. Specifically, I look into media multitasking behaviors: consuming multiple streams of media information simultaneously. The performance costs associated with this behavior are known (i.e., you work less efficiently and make more mistakes while multitasking), yet the behavior remains ubiquitous. To better understand why media multitasking is so pervasive, I conducted large-scale experiments and meta-analysis to evaluate if habitual media multitasking behavior is associated with less efficient cognitive processing and increase self-reports of cognitive, socio-emotional, and mental health-related issues.

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ZHOU, X. (XIAOYI), MSc PhD Candidate



Research

The decline in brain functions as aging impacts our daily life in various aspects: task performance, work efficiency, driving safety, etc. In my research, I investigate how aging affects people’s visual working memory, attentional control and the interplay between working memory and attention by means of EEG and pupillometry. 

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RIEMER, DR. M. (MARTIN) GUEST POSTDOCTORAL RESEARCHER



Research

The perception of time and space are closely linked. I try to understand the origin and the nature of this interrelation. Does it arise at the perceptual level, or is it based on a common neuronal code for space and time?
In a DFG-funded research project I am currently investigating age-related deficits in time perception, and whether they can be employed as behavioral marker for cognitive decline in advanced age.

Guest Researcher

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