For best experience please turn on javascript and use a modern browser!
You are using a browser that is no longer supported by Microsoft. Please upgrade your browser. The site may not present itself correctly if you continue browsing.
The aim of the Psychological Forum of the Psychology Research Institute is to foster discussion, knowledge-sharing and ultimately collaboration between colleagues in the different program groups within the Department of Psychology. Therefore, the topics covered are of broad interest to colleagues at our department. These can range from methodologies to popular topics to current research priority areas. See below for an overview of previous Psychological Fora.
  • Psychology Forum #1: Running on-line studies | Bastiaan Rutjens & Jaap Murre

    Running on-line studies is one efficient way to run studies with absolute social distancing, however, not everybody knows how do this (yet). During this tutorial you will hear how to set up and run studies on-line. Bastiaan Rutjens will talk about the practicalities and pitfalls of running studies on-line, and will discuss different platforms to recruit participants and to make sure that you gather high-quality data.

    For those who want to move their experimentation online, NeuroTask Scripting is a good option to consider. Jaap Murre will give a brief demo of some of the possibilities.

    The aim is that the tutorial is accessible for people who have never done an on-line study, but also for people who can share their experience.  Besides the speakers, several experienced on-line researchers and the people from the TOP will also be available to answer questions.

    Bastiaan Rutjens (with Natalia Zarzcecna)

    “Conducting research online using US and UK data markets

    In the last 2-3 years I have almost exclusively conducted my research online. Online research works well for correlational work, simple experiments, as well as various types of longitudinal design. There are various online platforms where researchers can crowdsource participants for their research. We will talk about our experiences with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (US) and Prolific Academic (UK), focusing on participant selection, population demographics, instruction and attention checks, and data quality (e.g., compared to student samples). 

    Jaap Murre

    For those who want to move their experimentation online, NeuroTask Scripting is a good option to consider. 

    When Psychology staff or students register at using heir email, they will automatically gain full access to NeuroTask Scripting for free. This is a platform to create online experimental tasks. The NeuroTask framework is not intended for beginning casual users who want to ‘drag-and-drop’ an experiment; some programming in JavaScript is required. Having said that, simple experiments can be created in minutes or hours and quite sophisticated tasks have been made in the past five years, including reaction time experiments (e.g., IAT), memory tests, IQ tests, experiments with sound or video, game-like experiments, multi-player experiments, speech-based interaction, etc. See the demo page for runnable examples, which can be used as starting points. There is also a free online book that takes beginners step-by-stop through the process of creating experiments. Recently, a student has created a number of introductory videos.

    Psychology Forum #1: Running on-line studies | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
  • Psychology Forum #2: A Network Perspective | Sacha Epskamp

    In this Psych Forum we will have two excellent speakers that will provide a network perspective on the psychometrics and the brain.

    Sacha Epskamp | Network Modeling of Feelings Cognition and Behavior: An Introduction to Network Psychometrics

    In this talk I will introduce "network psychometrics" - an increasingly popular field of methods pioneered at the Psychological Methods program group aiming to map out the complex interplay between observed variables. I will present the theoretical foundations for network psychometrics show how such an analysis can be performed in R and discuss future directions in this area of research.

    Psychology Forum #2: A Network Perspective | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
  • Psychology Forum #3: What's your prior? | Angelika Stefan & Julia Haaf

    Many researchers are aware of the many benefits it can have to switch from classical statistics to Bayesian. And yet, almost as many are hesitant to do the switch, and all because of the priors! In Bayesian analysis, researchers must make a priori commitments, and these commitments are made transparently as part of model specification.

    During this Psychological Forum you will learn about several ways to specify these a priori commitments. In the first talk, Julia Haaf will give an introduction to prior specification and the sometimes complicated terminology used around it. We will show which priors are appropriate for Bayesian estimation or Bayesian model comparison, and explain what a sensitivity analysis is.

    In the second talk, Angelika Stefan will discuss different approaches that can be used to formulate priors based on existing pre-data knowledge. Specifically, we will show how results from the scientific literature, theoretical convictions, and domain expert knowledge can shape prior distributions. We will present several concrete examples, and discuss how the formulation of the prior distribution influences the results of Bayesian analyses. There will be lots of time for discussion and to ask questions. Share your favorite priors, or discuss analysis problems where you did not know which priors to chose.

    Psychology Forum #3: What's your prior? | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
  • Psychology Forum #4: On Social Media | Christin Scholz, Hang-Yee Chan, Tim van Timmeren
    Psychology Forum #4: On Social Media | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
    Psychology Forum #4: On Social Media | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam

    Using social media in psychological science, and the psychology of social media use

    In this forum we address the use of social media data to study psychological processes using high definition real world data, but also address the psychology  of social media use, that  is the impact of digital detox on well-being. These two talks highlight the novel ways in which social media is starting to play a role in psychological science. 

    Connecting Social Media Digital Trace Data and Neuroimaging to Understand Mechanisms of Real-World Behavior + Trace data tutorial. 

    Christin Scholz, PhD

    In modern digital societies, social media facilitates and shapes social relationships and the spread of information between individuals and through entire populations. Whenever users engage with or on social media, they leave digital traces indicating, for instance, when they were active, who or what content they interacted with. As such, social media offers opportunities for unobtrusive, rich observations of naturalistic, real-life experiences and behaviors. This talk uses examples of our recent work to explore how this observational data can be used to enrich highly controlled, laboratory investigations into the psychological mechanisms that drive human decision-making and behavior. Linking these diverse data sources can enable researchers to combine the best of multiple worlds: the naturalistic, large-scale, and dynamic properties of social media digital trace data and the internally valid, precise information provided by laboratory experiments.

    Hang-Yee Chan, PhD

    Social media digital trace data provide many opportunities to researchers, but also come with specific challenges and limitations like any source of data. This talk uses examples from our recent work to demonstrate how social media digital trace data can be linked to laboratory data in order to investigate psychological mechanisms of real-world behavior.

    ‘Digital detox’: the effect of abstinence on social media use, habits and wellbeing

    Tim van Timmeren

    Many people want to reduce their social media use and an increasingly popular intervention to regain control is a ‘digital detox’. We recruited 120 participants motivated to reduce usage and found that a simple one-week detox significantly reduces social media use, automaticity and craving up to three weeks post-detox, while improving mental wellbeing.

  • Psychology Forum #5: On polarisation | Frederic R. Hopp & Marte Otten

    This online forum addressed the topic of (political) polarisation and comprised two lectures: 

    • Morally Polarised Perception: Current Efforts to Examine Neural Patterns of Political Polarisation by Frederic R. Hopp, PhD
    • How (political) convictions can change basic cognition: A predictive processing approach by Marte Otten, PhD
    Psychology Forum #5: On polarisation | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
    Psychology Forum #5: On polarisation | Pychology Research Institute | University of Amsterdam
  • Psychology Forum #6: ERC grant presentation | Maarten Marsman & Han van der Maas

    Maarten Marsman and Han van der Maas both presented their ERC grant projects. Marsman was granted an ERC grant for his proposal A New Bayesian Foundation for Psychometric Network Modelling and Van der Maas for Beyond the tipping point: Cascading transitions in the behavioral and social sciences.

  • Psychology Forum #7: Promoting pro-environmental behaviour | Cameron Brick & Sander Thomaes

    On this edition of the Psychology Forum Cameron Brick and Sander Thomaes discuss their research on pro-environmental behaviour and sustainable engagement among teenagers.

    Cameron Brick | Developments in pro-environmental behaviour research

    An increasing range of psychologists are engaging with environmental issues, whether doing primary research or reducing the environmental impact of departments and conferences. My group studies the motivations and social processes that predict pro-environmental behaviors such as political engagement and reducing meat consumption and flying.

    My talk focused on the public opinion on climate change and how to measure and think about pro-environmental behavior. Most previous studies assumed that pro-environmental behavior is a psychological variable, but our work suggests behaviors are external, diverse, and have different causes. I also described new laboratory tasks with repeated, consequential environmental dilemmas and shared a resource of free, open psychological datasets. Last, I introduced a new non-profit journal in environmental psychology. 

    Sander Thomaes | Green Teens: Understanding and Promoting Adolescents’ Sustainable Engagement

    The world faces an unprecedented environmental crisis, and human activity is its root cause. This poses a call to action for psychology. Young people, especially adolescents, have the potential to catalyze the transformative sustainable change that the world needs now. In the Greenteens research project, we are developing a new approach to understanding and harnessing adolescents’ potential for sustainable behavior change.

    We posit that adolescents will be internally motivated to engage in sustainable behavior when they construe such behavior as a way to pursue their widely shared personal motives for autonomy and status. We also suggest that sustainability promoting policies (educational programs, campaigns) can be improved by using techniques that reshape how adolescents construe sustainable behavior—from a low-priority chore to an activity that embodies what they deeply care about. I presented our initial research to evaluate these hypotheses and identify the psychological forces that drive adolescents’ sustainable engagement.

  • Psychology Forum #8: Change-Ability for a World in Flux | Erik Rietveld

    Speaker: Erik Rietveld

    We are living in an era of accelerating social and environmental change, one that calls for greater change-ability: skilled ways of coordinating with a rapidly changing world. Yet people and the communities they form often find change hard to realize and sustain in their lives.

    My VICI Change-Ability project, aims to open up a new perspective on change-ability, starting from the insight that what people do is both enabled and constrained by the affordances of their surroundings.
    Affordances are possibilities for action provided by the living environment. Every activity from sitting in a chair to making architecture is enabled by affordances. Less recognized is the fact that affordances also constrain people’s ability to change what they do. Even when people know that excessive sitting is unhealthy, offices filled with desks and chairs make them less inclined to explore other possibilities.

    As philosophers we create a conceptual framework for understanding change-ability in affordance-based terms. We participate in and reflect on the making of artistic interventions that allow visitors to experience what it would be like to live in entirely different ways.

    This is done at RAAAF, an internationally renowned, award-winning practice for visual art and experimental architecture, which Ronald Rietveld and I founded in 2006. I will show how affordance-based interventions in the living environment can increase openness to exploring unconventional possibilities that can spark behavioural change.

  • Psychology Forum #9: Social interactions in workplace meetings | Prof. Dr. Nale Lehmann Willenbrock

    Meetings play a crucial role in shaping human experience and behavior within the work context. The rise of remote and hybrid work has led to a significant increase in the frequency of daily meetings for coordination and communication purposes, contributing to the phenomenon known as "zoom fatigue." This presentation argues that to enhance unavoidable workplace meetings, a deeper understanding of the intricate social dynamics occurring within these meetings is necessary.

    Meetings as organising process

    The talk positions meetings as central to the organising process and offers an overview of research focusing on interaction dynamics within workplace meetings. The emphasis will be on quantifying systematic behavioral patterns that impact meeting effectiveness and wellbeing outcomes.

    Furthermore, the presentation discusses recent interdisciplinary work at the intersection of organizational psychology and computer science, aiming to automatically detect group dynamics in workplace meetings.

    In conclusion, the talk provides insights into ongoing research that explores the use of virtual reality for creating more immersive meeting experiences in the Metaverse, potentially offering more rewarding interactions.