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Two NWO Research Talent Grants for faculty BSS

29 May 2017

Two new PhD students at the Department of Psychology of the University of Groningen receive a NWO Research Talent Grant. Anja F. Ernst will study and develop new analytical methods to understand the origins and development of mental illness. In cooperation with main applicant Prof. Marieke Timmerman and co-applicant: Dr Casper Albers. Hannes Rosenbusch (Main applicant: Prof. R. Spears) will investigate the psychological mechanisms that explain radical group behaviour.

NWO Research Talent

Research Talent offers excellent students in the social and behavioural sciences the opportunity to do PhD research. Students demonstrate their ambition based on educational background, subjects taken, results achieved and scientific activities pursued. PhD candidates are put forward by a supervising professor. Candidates have a free choice of topic for their PhD but it must fit within the social and behavioural sciences. 6.25 million euros were available in this round.

Proposals awarded funding

Explaining intergroup violence and radicalism: Integrating cognitive and emotion pathways
In this international project we investigate the psychological mechanisms that explain radical group behaviour. Violent groups such as hooligans, rebels or terrorists are often portrayed as either mad or evil. However, we argue that, under the 'right' circumstances, any group can resort to radical behaviour. Two factors play a central role. First, a sense of powerlessness or political impotence combined with local social support can promote radicalisation. Second, a threat to the group’s position in the social hierarchy can provoke contempt, which also encourages radicalisation. We also consider interventions to prevent radicalisation.

Main applicant: Prof. R. Spears (University of Groningen)
Discipline: Psychonomics and Cognitive Psychology
PhD candidate: Hannes Rosenbusch

Dynamic clustering: Classifying people through ecological momentary assessment
To understand the origins and development of mental illness, data needs to be collected from individuals at multiple successive time points. The existing methods used to analyse such data have the shortcoming that they only map one aspect. They focus either on the unique characteristics of each individual studied, or on the group of individuals as a whole. The purpose of this research is to develop new analytical methods to provide a clear understanding of both the unique characteristics of each individual as well as what connects the individuals in the group.

Main applicant: Prof. M.E. Timmerman (University of Groningen)
Discipline: Psychometrics
PhD candidate: Anja F. Ernst
Co-applicant: Dr C.J. Albers (University of Groningen)

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