The Hot politics lab

Meet the Team

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maaike
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Directors

Bert Bakker

Co-director

I am an Associate Professor in political communication at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at the University of Amsterdam. I am interested in the psychological underpinnings of political beliefs. The role of personality and emotions receive most of my attention in answering this question. My research has appeared in journals such as Nature Human Behaviour, the Journal of Politics, European Journal of Political Research and Political Psychology. I am an Associate Editor at the Journal of Experimental Political Science. 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

Co-director

I am an Associate 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.

Postdocs

I’m a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam, department of Political Science. My research interests lie in areas related to political science, communication science and cognitive neuroscience, with a focus on psychophysiological processes that seem to govern socio-political ideologies and related behavioural phenomena. For instance, how do political beliefs determine decision-making, inference and judgement? Do individuals differ in the cognitive or emotional processing of information, based on political beliefs?
I have a background in sociology and have worked with cognitive neuroscientific methods in projects that took an interdisciplinary approach. My work has been published in academic journals such as Frontiers in Behavioral NeurosciencePlosOne, and Cognitive, Behavioural and Affective Neuroscience.  

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.

Tobias Rohrbach

PhD Candidate

I am a candidate for a joint Ph.D project at the University of Fribourg and the University of Amsterdam. I obtained both my Bachelor’s and Masters degree in communication and media research (minors: gender studies and English linguistics) at the University of Fribourg and am currently finishing up a Master of Advanced Studies in Data Science. I am interested in mechanisms of voters’ evaluations of political candidates. I am passionate about tackling gender effects in political communication from an interdisciplinary perspective and combining both qualitative and quantitative methods. I am currently working on a meta-analysis of candidate evaluations based on gender-differentiated media coverage.

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

Research Assistants and Interns

Lina Buttgereit

INTERN

I am a second-year research master’s student in political communication. In 2020, I completed my B.A. in Communication Science and International Relations at the University of Erfurt, Germany. My research interests mainly comprise the motives and effects of disinformation as well as the role of emotions in this area. I have also conducted work on polarization tendencies in multi-party systems and social cohesion. In my Master thesis, I am examining how people deal with threats portrayed in news, and how these coping strategies are related to further information seeking, news avoidance, and selective exposure to conspiratorial disinformation. 

Ruby Dunkes

INTERN

I’m a Master’s student in Applied Neuroscience in Human Development at Leiden University. During my internship at Hot Politics Lab I hope to learn how to use different techniques to measure and analyse neurocognitive and physiological data. Currently I’m working on two projects. One of them is an EEG study investigating the behavioural and electrophysiological manifestations of emotional and cognitive biases that drive political information-prosessing and decision-making. The second project I’m working on is a field study at the Oerol festival, investigating empathy and tolerance manipulation using wristbands that measure skin conductance.

Mohammad Hamdan

INTERN

I am currently a student in the research master in psychology program at the University of Amsterdam, specialising in brain and cognition and psychological methods. I am interested in social cognitive neuroscience, specifically research involving faces and emotional perception, as well as the importance of using ecologically valid stimuli in experiments. In the Hot Politics Lab I am currently working together with Maaike, and we are researching the effects of inter-group bias, expectations and emotion perception on mimicry responses using EEG.

Maartje van de Koppel

Intern

I am a second-year student in the Research Master Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, where I’m specialising in Political Science and quantitative research methods. My research interests broadly include political behaviour and participation as well as political rhetoric. For my current Master’s thesis I study politicians’ use of threat frames and the use of text as data methods to identify talk about threat. 

Dani Komáromy

Intern

Daniel Komáromy is a second-year research master’s student in Political Communication with a diverse background in social sciences. He completed his BSc in Applied Economics in Budapest, studied Business Statistics in Madrid, just finished his research master’s in Social Psychology at the Vrije University Amsterdam and has been working together with a Hungarian research group in clinical and developmental psychology for three years. His main research interest lies in the intersection of collective emotions and identities, populist communication, and social movement studies with a special focus on environmental movements.

Tom Hackenberg

Intern

I’m a Research Master’s student at the University of Amsterdam. My research interest lie broadly in the development and application of computational methods to study social phenomena using digitised information and computational statistical methods. For the Hot Politics Lab, I investigate the use of natural language processing techniques to study sentiment in political texts, specifically, how cognitive appraisal theories can be integrated with existing (automatic) classification approaches.

Bennet Hübbe

Intern

I am a research master student specializing in brain and cognition and psychological methods. I am interested in social cognitive neuroscience, with a special interest in information- processing and -appraisal and political cognition. Currently I am working with Diamantis, investigating the neural and cognitive underpinnings of ideological thinking, using EEG. During my bachelors I conducted research on the effects of virtual reality intervention on social perception in an embodied cognition framework.

Former
lab visitors

Emma Hoes

Lab Visitor

Amanda Friesen

Lab Visitor

Susann Kohout

Lab Visitor

Lennart Schürmann

Lab Visitor

Former
research assistants
and interns

Neil Fasching

Intern

Xinyao Zhang

INTERN

Karlijn Hendriks

INTERN

Christian Ramelow

INTERN

Nynke Verhaar

Intern

Babke Weenk

Intern

Nicolai Berk

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

João Areal

INTERN

Jade Vrielink

INTERN

Boris van den Berg

INTERN

Ming Boyer

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Denise van de Wetering

Research assistant

Philipp Mendoza

INTERN

Emke de Vries

Research assistant

Myrthe Willems

Research assistant

Judith Meijer

Research assistant

Daniel Hansen

Research assistant

Cas Woudstra

Research assistant

Joes de Natris

Research assistant

Sander Kunst

Research assistant