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John Hoeks appointed Associate Professor in Communication and Information Sciences

02 April 2014
John Hoeks
John Hoeks

On 1 March 2014, Prof. J.C.J. (John) Hoeks was appointed Associate Professor at the Faculty of Arts, with the chair mandate Communication and Information Sciences, in particular the Cognitive Aspects of Communication.

Hoeks researches the neural basis of communication. Specifically, he studies how people try to achieve their social (appreciation, respect, status) and physical goals (eating, drinking, sex) by means of language. He uses a wide range of methods to this end, from neuroimaging (incl. electroencephalography (EEG)) to behaviour experiments and self-reporting. Hoeks is mainly interested in the question of how communication – for example in a one-to-one discussion – can be used to influence the goals of others, and thus their behaviour. This includes health-related behaviour (e.g. stopping smoking, drinking less), and also behaviour related to sustainability (e.g. the transition to plant-based food).

This research line dovetails with the University’s research spearheads Healthy Ageing and Energy/ Sustainable Society. Insight into how language and communication can be shaped to promote a certain type of behaviour could lead to a more healthy and more ‘sustainable’ society.

A recent project by Hoeks’s research group was the first to show that a certain pattern in brain waves (known as ‘P600’), found when grammatical rules are transgressed, is also visible when social rules are transgressed in a conversation. This means that the social aspects of communication can also be investigated with EEG, and that the functional meaning of one of the most important brain waves is much wider than first thought.

John Hoeks (Geldrop, 1964) studied Cognitive Psychology and Artificial Intelligence in Amsterdam (UVA), and gained his PhD in 1999 at the Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen with research on understanding language. He joined the University of Groningen in 1999, where he became university lecturer in the department of Communication and Information Sciences in 2006 and University Reader in 2013. His work has been published in renowned journals such as the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Brain Research and PLoS ONE.

Last modified:07 June 2019 11.00 a.m.
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