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.”
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.”
Yuri Michielsen is a man of many talents. A brilliant legal scholar. Graduate of Maastricht University’s (UM) European Law School, winner of the Best Speaker Award at the European Law Moot Court, and holder of a master’s degree from Harvard and a PhD cum laude from Maastricht. Now, this champion of the Limburgish language is about to receive a second PhD, this time in clinical psychology, in San Francisco.
In 1987 Diana, Princess of Wales, shakes hands with a man with HIV. Click, goes the camera, and the picture is seen all over the world. At the height of the AIDS frenzy, this gesture was a huge statement. How different things are today, with HIV now a chronic rather than a deadly disease in many parts of the world. Nonetheless, people living with HIV continue to be confronted with stigma – a prejudice all of us may be guilty of.
Imagine: you adore chocolate. White, dark, filled with caramel, whatever. You only have to see it or smell it and you’re sold. And you rarely stick to just the one bonbon – no, you eat the whole box in one go. Chances are, you’re also overweight. This irresistible urge, the overpowering desire to overeat, is much more prevalent in obese people than in thin people. The good news is that, with the help of a psychologist, you can ‘unlearn’ this uncontrollable eating behaviour. The bad news is that it’s not yet clear whether you’ll also lose weight.