The Hot politics lab

Meet the Team

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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.

Honorata Mazepus

Co-director

I am an Assistant Professor in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. I completed my PhD at Leiden University, where I studied the perceived legitimacy of political authorities across democratic and non-democratic political systems. In my current research I try to explain democratic backsliding by focusing on the trade-offs between democratic values, partisanship, and policy preferences. In my projects I also investigate the role of political intuitions in empowering and constraining political leaders. My work has been published in journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Journal of European Public Policy, Journal of Experimental Political Science, and Plos One.

Postdocs

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.

Dani Komáromy

PHD CANDIDATE

Daniel Komáromy is a PhD candidate in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam. He completed a  research master in Political Communication at the University of Amsterdam and a research master’s in Social Psychology at the Vrije University Amsterdam. Before he did a BSc in Applied Economics in Budapest and studied Business Statistics in Madrid. 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.

Xinyao Zhang

PhD Candidate

I’m a Ph.D. student in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. My research will employ methodologies including experiments, surveys, and neuroimaging to study the neuropsychological mechanisms underlying polarization. I’m mainly interested in how cognitive and emotional processes interplay in individual-level information processing, giving rise to higher-level, complex social phenomena. Previously, I did my Bachelor’s focusing on (psycho)linguistics and philosophy of cognitive sciences, and my research Master’s in Brain and Cognitive Sciences. 

Linda Bomm

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD candidate in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. After a BSc in Psychology at Freie Universität Berlin and a Research Master in Social and Economic Psychology at Leiden University, I joined the Hot Politics Lab and the Amsterdam School of Communication Research at UvA. Here, I investigate how people perceive and regulate threats, and how they adopt political attitudes and behaviors to counter these threats. I get excited by societally impactful research, interdisciplinary projects, and applying psychophysiological, behavioural, and qualitative research methods to complex issues. 

Delaney Peterson

PhD Candidate

I am a PhD candidate with the University of Amsterdam’s Communication Science department. I received my bachelor’s in politics from The New School in New York City. I then obtained a master’s in psychology and a master’s in social science research, affording me a solid foundation in quantitative methodology. My current research interests lie at the intersection of my past thematic disciplines, as I take a political psychological approach to the threat-politics relationship. Specifically, I am interested in what physiological and emotional processes can teach us about political behavior amidst a backdrop of an increasingly threatening socio-political climate. 

Nikki Dekker

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Sciences at the University of Amsterdam. I obtained both my Bachelor’s degree and Research Master’s degree in Communication Science at the University of Amsterdam. During my Research Master’s I specialized in political polarization and misinformation. My Master’s thesis focused on the engaging effects of political disinformation in the form of “cheapfakes”. After successfully obtaining my Master’s degree I transitioned to the field of Educational Sciences. The interdisciplinary nature of my Ph.D. project allows me to combine my curiosity for the adolescence period with my passion for unraveling the process of polarization. In my Ph.D. project, I focus on polarization among Dutch youth by integrating knowledge from Communication Science, Educational Sciences, and Psychology.

 

Gustavo Jesus

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and a Master’s degree in Neurobiology at the University of Porto. For my Master’s Thesis, I delved into Social and Affective Neuroscience, and my research formed the intersection between Personal space, Psychopathy traits, and Threat-processing. My current interests rely on the applications of Neuroscience methods, such as Electroencephalography and Electrodermal Activity, towards solving problems of the Social Sciences, such as how biological differences in cognitive and emotional processing may ultimately shape ideological attitudes and social behavior. 

Céline Laffineur

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of Amsterdam and part of the Doctoral Network “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Adolescence & Democracy”. I was born in Luxembourg and recently graduated with a Master’s degree in Political Science and Political Behaviour from Sciences Po University’s Research School in Paris (France). My Master’s thesis focused on whether compulsory voting increases interest in politics. My main research interests are political psychology, and more specifically the development of political interest and its underlying emotions. I am a big advocate of interdisciplinarity and want to better understand how research can be applied and translated into real-world (policy) actions. This is why I have worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) on Social Policy in the five months before joining the University of Amsterdam. 

Jakob Kasper

PhD Candidate

I am a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Amsterdam affiliated with the doctoral network “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on the Politics of Adolescence and Democracy”. I obtained both my Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Psychology and the University of Heidelberg (Germany) and spent a year as an exchange graduate student at Cornell University (USA). My research focuses on the intersection of social/cognitive psychology and politics. I am particularly interested in examining how people -and adolescents in particular- respond to pressing global challenges such as the climate crisis and growing societal inequality. Relatedly, I would like to explore ways to enhance political engagement, bridge affective and fact-based divides within our society, and promote collaboration towards common societal goals. 

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 Associate 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.

Diamantis Petropoulos-Petalas

Lab fellow

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.  

Isabella Rebasso

Lab fellow

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

lab fellow

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

lab fellow

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

lab fellow

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 Visitors

Research Assistants and Interns

Ruby Dunkes

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

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.

Carmen van Alebeek

INTERN

Nayantara Ranganatha

Lab Affiliate

Former Lab Visitors

Daniel Thiele

Lab Visitor

Emma Hoes

Lab Visitor

Amanda Friesen

Lab Visitor

Susann Kohout

Lab Visitor

Former Research Assistants
and Interns

Babke Weenk

Intern

Bennet Hübbe

INTERN

Boris van den Berg

INTERN

Christian Ramelow

INTERN

Jade Vrielink

Intern

João Areal

Intern

Karlijn Hendriks

INTERN

Lina Buttgereit

INTERN

Maartje van de Koppel

Intern

Mohammad Hamdan

INTERN

Neil Fasching

INTERN

Nynke Verhaar

INTERN

Philipp Mendoza

Intern

Tom Hackenberg

Intern

Xinyao Zhang

INTERN

Cas Woudstra

Research Assistant

Daniel Hansen

research assistant

Denise van de Wetering

research assistant

Emke de Vries

research assistant

Joes de Natris

research assistant

Judith Meijer

Research Assistant

Ming Boyer

research assistant

Myrthe Willems

research assistant

Nicolai Berk

research assistant

Sander Kunst

research assistant