The Hot politics lab

Meet the Team



Bert Bakker


I am an Assistant 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


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.

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

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.

research assistants
and interns

Jade Vrielink


Boris van den Berg


Ming Boyer


Denise van de Wetering

Research assistant

Sander Kunst

Research assistant

Joes de Natris

Research assistant

Daniel Hansen

Research assistant

Judith Meijer

Research assistant

Emke de Vries

Research assistant

Myrthe Willems

Research assistant

Cas Woudstra

Research assistant