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Education & Research

Curriculum Vitae 

University of Groningen
PhD, Social Sciences
2003 – 2007

As a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the University of Groningen, I have been working on a PhD-thesis entitled "Considering Others in Need: on Altruism, Empathy and Perspective Taking".

The dissertation centers on
* The effects of perspective taking when confronted to the suffering of others
* The role of empathy and reciprocity in helping family vs friends
* The measurement of state empathy within psychology
* Altruism as an inclination vs altruism as a choice

Activities and Societies:
- Graduate Student at Kurt Lewin Institute
- Research Fellow Mind and Life Summer Research Institute (2007)

University of Groningen

Mr. Sc., Social and Organisational Psychology
1999 – 2003

Other Formative Courses

Lecturer / Curriculum Developer
Applied Psychology, Hanze University of Applied Sciences
  • Teach the Teacher Entrepreneurship (2013)
  • Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (2012)
  • Solution-focused Counseling (2010)

International Buddhist Academy
Tibetan Buddhist Philosophy
2008

As a student at the International Buddhist Academy (Kathmandu, Nepal), I spent three months studying Tibetan Buddhist psychology and philosophy on altruism (Bodhicharyavatara) and metaphysics (Abidharmakosa) as well as Tibetan language.

Researcher, PhD Candidate
Kurt Lewin Institute, Amsterdam
  • Evolutionary Social Psychology (2006)
  • The Motivation Cognition Interface (2006)
  • Reading and reviewing journal articles (2005)
  • Regressie in praktijk: interacties en moderatoren (2005)
  • Writing the Empirical Journal Article & APA Style Guidelines (2004)
  • When in doubt, Regress: using regression to analyze experimental designs (2004)

Research

My education has been in psychology but empathy is researched in many scientific disciplines and I try to keep up and interconnect these different perspectives. I focus on psychology, biology, neuroscience, literature, arts and philosophy. My past research has centered on:
  • The effects of perspective taking when confronted to the suffering of others
  • The role of empathy and reciprocity in helping family vs friends
  • The measurement of state empathy within psychology
  • Altruism as an inclination vs altruism as a choice
  • The influence of empathy training on first aid provided by laypersons

I am currently interested in:

  • How receiving altruistic acts changes our perspectives.
  • The benefits of empathizing with non-suffering others
  • The definition, meaning and effects of tenderness
  • The effects of compassion interventions on community flourishing (see www.compassionate.center)
For a very short introduction in empathy and related concepts, have a look at the 'theoretical background' and 'publications' pages on this site.

Subpages (1): Theoretical Background