The Hot politics lab

Meet the Team



Bert Bakker


I am an Assistant Professor in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. I am interested in the psychological underpinnings of political attitudes and behaviors. The role of personality and emotions receive most of my attention in answering this question. My research has appeared in journals such as the Journal of Politics, European Journal of Political Research, Political Psychology, and European Union Politics. Check my personal website for more details.

I am an Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I study the causes and consequences of the rise of populist radical left and right parties. Who votes for these parties and why? To what extent do the messages expressed by these parties affect other actors in the electoral process and public opinion? My work has been published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, European Journal of Political Research and Party Politics. Check my personal website for more details.

Gijs Schumacher


I am an Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I am interested in political rhetoric and the effect it has on citizens. For this purpose, I have published  on topics such as party politics, populism, party organization, emotions  and personality. My work has appeared in journals such as the American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Analysis and Plos One. Check my personal website for more details.

PhD Candidates

Erik De Vries

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D candidate in Political Science at the University of Stavanger, Norway. I obtained both my Bachelor’s degree and Research Master’s degree in Political Communication at the University of Amsterdam. Besides a strong interest in automated text analysis methods, I am very interested in the impact of news concerning the European Union. After previously publishing in Political Analysis on the use of Google Translate in automated text analysis, I am currently investigating the influence of news about EU issues on political party support, through the concept of issue ownership.

Isabella Rebasso

PhD candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree at the University of Vienna and completed the Research Master’s Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. During my studies, I specialised in Political Psychology, electoral behaviour, and quantitative methods. My main research interests are the role of emotions and personality in shaping political attitudes and behaviour. My Master’s thesis  focused on how personality (more specifically Neuroticism), together with economic and cultural anxieties influence sympathy for the far-right in the Netherlands.

Maaike Homan

PHD candidate

I am a Ph.D. student in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I recently graduated from the research master Social Psychology at Vrije Universiteit . My master thesis focused on social identity and leadership processes with help from professor Alex Haslam. I am interested in interdisciplinary research, resulting in a broad range of interests such as communication science, neuroscience, and politics. I am especially interested in combining psychological processes (such as identification and emotional reactions) with physiological responses (e.g. brain activation, face muscle activity) in political contexts.

Christian Pipal

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D candidate in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I graduated with  a Master’s degree in European Union and Russian Studies from the University of Tartu, and obtained a Bachelor’s degree in International Development Studies at the University of Vienna. Before joining the University of Amsterdam I worked for the liberal politics thinktank Neos Lab and taught statistics at the University of Vienna. I am interested in developing and applying text as data methods, and currently study the use of emotional appeals by politicial elites for my PhD project.

Lab Associates

Martijn Schoonvelde

Lab fellow

I am an Assistant Professor in Political Science at University College Dublin. Before that, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow in Political Science at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, working on the Horizon2020 project EUENGAGE. In this project, we look at speeches of European political elites. We analyze, among other things, the topics they address, the sentiment they use and also the complexity of their rhetoric.

Kevin Arceneaux

Lab fellow

Kevin Arceneaux is Thomas J. Freaney, Jr. Professor of Political and Director of the Behavioral Foundations Lab at Temple University. He studies how people make political decisions, paying particular attention to the effects of psychological biases. He has published articles on the influence of partisan campaigns on voting behavior, the effects of predispositions on attitude formation, the role of human biology in explaining individual variation in predispositions, and experimental methodology. His most recent book, Taming Intuition, takes a closer look at why people vary in their ability to get beyond their biases and explores the implications for citizens’ ability to live up to the demands of democracy.

Mariken van der Velden

Lab fellow

Mariken A.C.G. van der Velden is Assistant Professor of Political Communication at the Department of Communication Science at the Free University Amsterdam. Until July 2019, she will also be a senior researcher (Oberassistentin) at the Department of Political Science of the University of Zurich. She has been a visiting researcher at Department of Politics and International Relations of the University of Oxford and at the Department of Political Science of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Her research interest centers on electoral behavior of voters and parties in Europe. For instance, she is studying how political parties navigate the tension to govern together, but compete for votes alone – the so-called coalition dilemma.

Lab Visitors

Emma Hoes

Lab VisitoR

Emma Hoes – PhD candidate at the EUI and former Pol. Comm. Master student – is visiting ASCoR till February 7, 2020. Emma Hoes is a PhD candidate in Political and Social Sciences at the European University Institute in Florence. In her PhD project, she focuses on the effects of various kinds of political messaging on voting behaviour during campaign periods, such as media exposure, unexpected events, and misinformation more specifically. The project relies on panel and cross-sectional data analysis techniques as well as experiments. Emma is especially interested in the potential harmfulness of misinformation, asking whether misinformation behaves differently from ‘regular’ information. During her stay at ASCoR, she will work on an experimental design to find answers to this and related questions.

Amanda Friesen

Lab VisitoR

Amanda Friesen is Associate Professor of Political Science and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies at IUPUI. She is a Visiting Scholar at the Amsterdam Centre for Gender & Sexuality and Challenges to Democratic Representation Research group for 2019-20. Her research centers on the intersection of gender, religion and personality with political engagement, using psychological and biological methods and theory to explore these domains. She has published more than 20 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and serves on the Politics & Religion journal editorial board and the Assocication for Politics and the Life Sciences Governing Council. Her work has appeared in Political Behavrio, the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, Social Science Quarterly, Politics & Gender, and Politics & Religion.

Susann Kohout

Lab Visitor

Since April 2019 I am a visiting Ph.D. candidate at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, supported by scholarships of the German Academic Exchange Service and FAZIT Foundation. Before, I was a research assistant / Ph.D. candidate at Technical University of Braunschweig and I graduated at Ilmenau University of Technology. In my thesis I examine the impact of emotional user comments on readers, ore more exactly, on selective attention and emotional response. Since 2017, I am a junior speaker of the Division Digitial Communication in the German Society for Journalism and Communication Studies. Last but not least, I strongly support open science movements and I am interested in science communication with the public.

Research Assistants and Interns

Nicolai Berk

Research Assistant

I am a Master Student in the Research Master Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, focusing on political science and quantitative methods. My special interest lies in voting behavior and political competition. Among my responsibilities for the Hot Politics Lab are the data collection in the POLEMIC project and the maintenance of this website.

Philipp Mendoza


I am a student of the Social Science Research Master’s program at the University of Amsterdam. I currently apply my background in Political Science and Sociology in combination with computational methods to the study of elite hostility, affective polarization and populism. In the frame of the Hot Politics Lab I support Matthijs Rooduijn on the proejct and work with Gijs Schumacher, Joao Areal and Nicolai Berk on a measure of elite hostility based on speeches in parliament.

João Areal


I’m a Research Master student at the University of Amsterdam. My main interests lie within comperative political behavior, with a particular focus on Brazil. I’m currently studying the roots and consequences of affective polarisation at the mass- and elite-levels. I’m also collarborating with Nicolai Berk and Philipp Mendoza in applying computational methods to measure inter-elite hostility.


Jade Vrielink


I am a Bachelor Student in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I am combining my study with a minor in history as I am interested in the history of political thought. I would like to specialize in democratization. I am assisting at Hot Politics Lab to broaden my knowledge on research methods. My responsibilities consist of data collection for various projects.

Boris van den Berg


I am a second-year Social Sciences Research Master student at the University of Amsterdam, specialised in comparative politics and quantitative methods. I obtained my bachelor degree in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. My main research interests include voting behaviour, political representation and political ideology. My master thesis focuses on the underrepresentation of left-conservative voters in Western-Europe and the implications for their levels of democracy satisfaction.

Ming Boyer

Research assistant

Ming is now doing a Ph.D. in Communication Science at the University of Vienna following his Research Master in the same subject. He is an aspiring researcher in the field of political psychology.

Denise van de Wetering

Research assistant

She is a former Research Master student in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. Her interests include the influence of language populist politicians use to persuade voters.

Sander Kunst

Research assistant

Sander is now doing a Ph.D. in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam following a Research Master in the same subject. His main research interests are populism, party politics and political communication.

Joes de Natris

Research assistant

Joes now works for COELO, a research institute at the University of Groningen. Formerly, he was a Research Master’s Social Science student. He is interested in the topics of democratization and political economy. Check out his blog.

Daniel Hansen

Research assistant

I am a student at the Research Master of Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. My research interests include emotions in politics, the (re)rise of populism, and the (potential) effect of political micro targeting on electoral behaviour. If you find overlap between your interests and mine, or just curious, please feel welcome to reach out here.

Judith Meijer

Research assistant

Emke de Vries

Research assistant

Myrthe Willems

Research assistant

Cas Woudstra

Research assistant