Together We Search

Conference 2019

Keynote: Dr. Maarten van der Smagt

“Social Sciences, imaging the past and imagining the future”

Maarten van der Smagt studied Biology at Utrecht University and completed an PhD project psychophysics of motion vision in 1999. He continued his research at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, CA, USA, after which he returned to Utrecht. Since 2002 he is appointed at the Experimental Psychology division, first as assistant and subsequently associate professor. Currently he is director of Psychology Education at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Senior Fellow, Centre for Academic Teaching at Utrecht University.

Starting out as biologist, I have always been intrigued by what makes us tick. Therefore, from the start my research has been very closely related to psychology. In my area of expertise, the border between the natural, life and social sciences ranges from very thin to non-existent, yet the social sciences do seem to have an image problem, certainly in the Netherlands. Recent developments (such as fraud and plagiarism that have been documented extensively in the media) have only made this worse. In this talk I will try to put my finger on how this, in my view distorted, image came about, while at the same time point to what I perceive as the future direction for the social sciences in the Netherlands.


Dr. Linda van Ooijen-van der Linden
Prediction of study success – Creation of magic zones

After graduating in 2005 with a ‘vrije specialisatie’ in the pre-BaMa system, Linda started working as a teacher in the Psychology Bachelor at Utrecht University. She also worked on fear conditioning and on emotion regulation in people with fibromyalgia. Linda co-designed and coordinated the Psychology matching. In December 2018, she successfully defended her dissertation ‘Prediction of study success – Creation of magic zones’. Now, Linda works as a policy advisor on Research in Education at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences.

In my research I used signal detection theory to predict study success based on prior academic achievement, matching grades and a psychosocial score. This approach allowed me to calculate the accuracy of the three predictors in discerning successful students from unsuccessful students and to investigate individual differences in which predictor actually predicts study success. I combined this data-driven approach with a qualitative approach of study success. What is study success and what facilitates and interferes with its realisation? In this workshop we will explore data-informed decisions on university admission from different perspectives and we will discuss how to optimize the realisation of study success.

Laurien Meijer & Prof. dr. Denise de Ridder
Interdisciplinarity: “Different Lectures” (Het andere college)

Laurien Meijer: I graduated from the UU research master ‘Development and Socialisation in Childhood and Adolescence’ in 2018, and have been working at the university since. My research focuses on development after adverse and/or potentially traumatic experiences, such as domestic violence and war trauma. I currently work as a junior researcher in the department of Developmental Psychology, on a research project about character growth after adversity in Syrian young adults who have recently resettled in the Netherlands.

Denise de Ridder: I am professor of psychology at the Department of Social Health & Organizational psychology and director of the SelfRegulationLab ( My research focuses on self-regulation problems in many areas of life: how do people set goals and how do they determine strategies for achieving  these goals. I am also interested in choice and decision making. As many people experience problems with behaving in line what they want to do, a significant part of the research in my lab is centered around the concept of nudging, gentle ways to steer behavior by public policy arrangements. In doing so, I am collaborating with public policy scientists, lawyers, philosophers, and communication scientists.

Different Lectures (Het Andere College):

Laurien and Denise – together with social scientists Stella Donker, Reine van der Wal and John de Wit – are coordinating Het Andere College, a series of ‘different lectures’ by social scientists who are working in or outside academia on exciting topics of broad societal interest, demonstrating the potential of social sciences. These lecturers are instructed to give short lectures so that there is ample time for students to ask questions. In fact, the art of asking good questions stands central in ‘Het Andere College’. We believe that expanding your view with perspectives from different disciplines benefits both your personal and your academic development. In the course ‘Het Andere College’, students get to experience this learning process by engaging in discussion with guest speakers from all kinds of different disciplines in the social sciences. A range of topics – from LGBT acceptance to happiness and from persuasive technology to burn-out – is featured this semester. Our workshop will give you the opportunity to get a taste of this course, and help us make it even more interesting.

Dr. Rebecca M. Kuiper
The world beyond null hypothesis testing: Evaluation of informative hypotheses

Rebecca Kuiper completed in 2007 the Research Master ‘Human Behaviour in Social Contexts’ with a major in ‘Psychometrics and Statistics’ at University of Groningen. In 2012, she successfully defended her dissertation titled ‘Model selection criteria: how to evaluate order restrictions’, within the Department of Methods & Statistics at Utrecht University. She continued to work there and is as of 2013 assistant professor.

When I finished my master, I was mainly trained in testing null hypotheses (e.g., H0: μ1 = μ2 = μ3) and doing post hoc test (looking at pairs of means). I had heard of the AIC and of Bayes theorem, but I had no clue that there was more than meets the student’s eye. When I started my PhD, I learned about informative hypotheses which address the expectations researchers have (e.g., μ1 > μ2 > μ3). More importantly, I learned how to evaluate these informative hypotheses directly. At the end of my PhD, I also developed a model selection criterion (like the AIC, called the GORIC) that can evaluate a broad range of informative hypotheses.

In this workshop, I will give you a view into the world of informative hypotheses evaluation in the context of ANOVA models. I will compare these methods to more familiar ones like null hypothesis testing and the AIC. There will also be a hands-on part in which we will evaluate informative hypotheses on an example data set. This will be done with stand-alone software (‘Comparisons of Means with Interface’ available from So, bring your own device (and, if possible, already download the software), and enter the world of informative hypotheses evaluation.

Dr. Jaap Bos
Interactive discussion about the Future of Social Sciences

Jaap Bos (1961) studied theoretical and historical psychology in Groningen and Utrecht. In 1997 he finished his PhD dissertation on argumentation and debates in the history of psychoanalysis. He has an interest in historiography and theory of the social sciences, and in communication studies.

In this workshop, Jaap Bos, will lead a discussion about the future of Social and Behavioural Sciences. He will do so by formulating questions and statements to challenge and stimulate you as a participant to integrate in interesting discussions with fellow students and professors. During this workshop you might find answers or even leave with more questions about the future of your own faculty and research field.