Expert witnesses in the courtroom

In Society
Sunday, 02 October 2011 11:15

Movies and television series have acquainted virtually all of us with a basic understanding of the judicial process. An offence has been committed, a suspect identified and a weapon found. What is still lacking, of course, is the necessary evidence. Fortunately, the public prosecutor has a whole range of expert witnesses on hand to help fill in the blanks; to analyse the bullet, create a DNA profile and decide on the mental health of the suspect. At the end of the evening, we know exactly who committed the crime, how it happened and, last but not least, why. Case closed. If only reality were as straightforward as this. 


Drugs & Driving (video)

In Body
Thursday, 22 December 2011 14:37

Psychiatrists, patients, regulators and pharmaceutical companies want to know what the influence of drugs is on driving. The Experimental Psychopharmacology Unit has been conducting driving tests on public highways for 25 years, commissioned by pharmaceutical companies and other groups. 


As dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN), Bernadette Jansma is Maastricht University’s first and only female dean. She also recently delivered her inaugural lecture as professor of Essentials in Cognitive Neuroscience. Her specialisation: How do we speak and listen to one another, and how do we distinguish important from less important information in a discussion? In addition, she supervises the projects of young PhD and master’s students in her research group on the neurocognitive aspects of language processing. “I can live with the fact that all this shifts my own academic work to the evenings.”


Psychosis from an ecological perspective

In Mind
Tuesday, 01 March 2011 10:57

First professor of Ecological Psychiatry

If you are the first professor of Ecological Psychiatry in the Netherlands and perhaps even in the entire world, you have a lot to explain. ‘Ecological psychiatry? What’s that?’ Fifteen years ago, it wasn’t just laymen asking this but professionals were often wondering the same thing. In the year 2011, colleagues line up at international symposia wanting to learn more about this research method used by Inez Myin-Germeys and her colleagues in Maastricht. ‘This chair is above all a sign of recognition of this field of study; a field that revolves around the relationship between patients’ experiences and the context they’re in at that particular moment.’


He’s a full professor of Clinical Psychological Science at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. He conducts research into the treatment of depression. He is also the writer of the capturing, hilarious and inspiring cookbook called ‘Huibers heeft honger’. And he writes a column in the leading Dutch newspaper ‘De Volkskrant’. He is Marcus Huibers.


Smelling without a nose

In Mind
Thursday, 04 November 2010 11:28

Does not being able to smell influence eating behaviour?

If you can’t smell anything and thus have little sense of taste as well, do you also eat less? And can you enjoy eating at all? Presently, there are several hundred thousand people in the Netherlands who can’t smell well, if at all. If you smell absolutely nothing, you are said to have ‘anosmia’. This is such a rare phenomenon that it has been very sparsely researched. Professor Anita Jansen, PhD, and Remco Havermans, PhD, from Maastricht University’s Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience were intrigued.


More social due to ‘cuddle hormone’?

In Mind
Sunday, 03 October 2010 00:00

Mothers who breastfeed are very open to other people, just like certain species of ape that are also particularly sociable towards others. So what do these mothers and monkeys have in common? Oxytocin, among other things: the ‘cuddle hormone’ that has a relaxing effect, and is produced in the brain when you share a cuddle with someone. Marisol Voncken, from the Department of Clinical Psychological Science at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, will investigate whether this hormone could also help people who suffer from social anxiety disorders to build relationships. For this study, she was recently awarded a Veni grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


Good intentions, bad execution

In Body
Monday, 23 August 2010 11:35

Veni research into planning strategies for healthy behaviour

If you think motivation alone is enough to stick to good intentions, you’re sadly mistaken. Doing more exercise, eating more healthily, using sunscreen when you sunbathe: there’s a considerable gap between intending to do something and actually going through with it. The reasons that good intentions tend to fall through are so divergent and at the same time so universal that we can all come up with a few. More interesting is how we can bridge this gap. And this question lies at the core of Dr Liesbeth van Osch’s research, which she will carry out with the help of a Veni grant over the next three years.


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