Letters NWO met een trofee icoon in het midden
Letters NWO met een trofee icoon in het midden

Researchers of Social Sciences received NWO funding

Social scientists Bas Hofstra, Barbara Müller, Iris Wiegand, Saskia Koch and Jordy Thielen have received Open Competition funding from NWO. These grants are intended for researchers with innovative and promising ideas who can make scientific progress with their research.

Open Competition SGW-XS

Lost in Dissemination? Gender Representation of Dutch Professors in Newspapers and Social Media

Bas Hofstra 

Are women professors often quoted in newspapers? And are men professors highly active on social media? This project answers these questions by considering whether and why women professors are represented in news and social media at different numbers than men professors. This representation in the public arena has become increasingly important for professors as the dissemination of scientific knowledge to the general public is a growing and essential part of professors’ activities and evaluation. This project sets out to study this among all Dutch professors (1990-2021) through a series of new database linkages and computational methods.

Inducing awe to help people perform environmentally friendly behaviour

Barbara Müller

There is strong scientific consensus that greenhouse gas emissions generated by humans is the major reason for the accelerated pace in which our planet is warming up. The destructive impact of human overconsumption is an importantpredictor of this temperature increase. Thus, novel interventions to help people make more conscious decisions about their purchases and decrease their consumption is urgently needed. The current project will develop and test such an intervention that aims to elicit wonder and awe for the environment, which is assumed to lead to pro-environmental behaviour. This goal is achieved by applying state-of-the-art Virtual Reality technology.

Curiosity in cognitive aging

Iris Wiegand 

Curiosity is an intrinsic motivational driver of behaviour that shapes our experiences. While the importance of curiosity during development and young adulthood has received great attention, its role in cognitive aging remains underexplored. Curiosity has the potential to promote cognitive stimulation to build protective resources that mitigate against cognitive decline. The aim of this project is to provide the first systematic evidence to reveal the positive effect of curiosity on cognition in older age, supporting its potential to promote healthy cognitive aging.

Understanding social anxiety where it matters most

Saskia Koch

Patients with social anxiety disorder fear negative evaluation from others. However, research is scarce on how social anxiety manifests during actual social interactions, hindering our understanding and treatment of the disorder. This project aims to investigate the impact of evaluative demands from live social interactions on individuals with social anxiety, differentiating between anxiogenic effects of 1) beliefs about interaction partners and 2) changes during the interaction itself. The findings will help identify factors contributing to the manifestation of social anxiety during social interactions, the context where it matters most.

Open Competition Domain Science – XS

‘Obtaining fast brain-computer interfacing without eye movements for communication and control’

Jordy Thielen

A brain-computer interface (BCI) translates brain activity into digitized commands. Typically, a BCI requires its user to move the eyes towards a target stimulus (e.g., a character) on a screen. The ability to make such eye movements, however, is gradually lost for patients with severe motor impairments, such as people suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. In the proposed project, I will develop an experimental protocol and novel machine learning methods that together eliminate the need for eye movements. Ultimately, this project delivers a fully brain-based, fast, and reliable assistive neurotechnological device for communication and control.