A memory that does not seem to coincide with reality is innocent enough in everyday life. Indeed, we all experience blind spots in our memory every day that we fill in with what probably happened. But in court, it is important to get the facts straight. That is why Dr Henry Otgaar of Maastricht University examines how memories are formed, influenced and can even be completely made up.
Fraud, scamming, false witnesses. Sophie van der Zee, who does cutting-edge research on dishonest behaviour and automatic lie detection, has been affiliated with several UK universities as well as the TNO Knowledge Institute. But it was Maastricht University’s Master in Psychology and Law that laid the foundation for her multifaceted career. “My love of academia was born here.”
Before you start reading this article, take a short pause and have a look around the room. What do you see? Whether it’s a table, chairs, trees outside the window, or the traffic rushing by - your ability to perceive the outside world seems utterly self-evident. Yet have you ever wondered how our sense of sight, one of the most important senses we have, actually works? The PhD research of Thomas Emmerling brings us one step closer to unraveling the mysteries of visual perception and visual mental imagery.
Remarkable: the risk of psychosis among young Dutch-Moroccan men is five times higher than that of Dutch-Moroccan women. Psychologist Els van der Ven looked to behaviour and the social environment to find an explanation, and she found that the cause is social exclusion. Her recommendations: more validating interventions to prevent people from becoming lonely. “Key figures within the community need to learn to recognise feelings of failure and alienation.”
Given the opportunity to trade in Tilburg for Maastricht University (UM), she said ‘yes’ in a heartbeat. “Think on it? What does that mean? Taking a walk in the woods to do some soul-searching? That’s not my style. I make decisions quickly and rarely regret them afterwards. We all like to pretend we make rational, conscious decisions, but we should have faith in our subconscious.”
Parents have far more influence on the drinking behaviour of their adolescents than they realise. Setting clear boundaries and communicating well with your child can ensure that he or she does not succumb to excessive drinking behaviour. This is the conclusion reached by psychologist Astrid Jander in her thesis entitled Alcohol Alert with which she gained her doctorate on Thursday, 21 January 2016 at Maastricht University. “The majority of adolescents who took part in my research stated that outside of their homes they also took into account the agreements made with the parents.”
He’s soft, he’s cute and he wants to get your attention. Cuddle him and he’ll respond by turning his head towards you, making eye contact and producing adorable little noises. He’s irresistible – and yet, he’s not alive. Meet Paro, a socially assistive robot in the form of a baby harp seal. He and robots like him represent the future of elderly care.
The clinical potential of non-invasive brain stimulation seems to be almost unlimited. But with few applications having been thoroughly tested, the expectations are too high. Research is now set to begin on the effects of brain stimulation on cognitive rehabilitation after a stroke. The study is a unique collaboration between Teresa Schuhmann of Maastricht University (UM) and Sascha Rasquin from the Adalante-Zorggroep rehabilitation centre. “The interaction between fundamental research and clinical treatment is a win-win situation.”