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Together We Search

Keynote Speaker

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.