University of Groningen

Erasmus University Rotterdam

Eindhoven University of Technology

Radboud University Nijmegen

Utrecht University

Associate professor – Project leader
University of Groningen

Ralf Cox

Ralf Cox is currently associate professor at the Developmental Psychology group of the Department of Psychology of the University of Groningen. He received his PhD in Social Sciences (Cum Laude) at the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2007. He is also adjunct professor at the Center for Research in Human Movement Variability of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (USA) and visiting professor at the Graduate School of Psychology of the Universidad de Talca (Chile).

His research addresses the coordinative basis of behavior, cognition and their development. This entails a micro-genetic and complex dynamical systems approach to intra- and interpersonal coordination, as well as the advancement of nonlinear time-series techniques to study this. He has published on motor performance, planning, language development, dyslexia, mother-child, client-therapist and peer interaction, and gesture-speech attunement. An overview of his publications can be found here.

PhD student
University of Groningen

Lisette de Jonge-Hoekstra

Lisette de Jonge-Hoekstra, MSc., researches children’s gestures and speech as they learn, and how this is coupled to what happens in the environment. From August 2018 to February 2019, she is visiting the Centre for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action (CESPA) at the University of Connecticut, to investigate children’s dyadic gestures and speech as they collaboratively learn a science task together with Wim Pouw. In this study, she will focus on both typically developing children as children diagnosed with autism and ADHD. In her research, Lisette applies principles from dynamic systems theory to unravel the mechanisms behind how children learn and develop. Based on this research, she is dedicated to build theories that incorporate changes in and interactions between different levels of development, because she believes that this will ultimately foster how diverse children learn in real life. She has been granted scholarships from Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, as well as from Stichting Scholten-Cordes Fonds. Next to carrying out research, she is devoted to communicate science in an engaging and accessible way, which coheres with her being an editor for Mindwise.

Assistant professor
University of Groningen

Steffie van der Steen

After obtaining her Master’s degree at Harvard University, Steffie van der Steen became an expert in micro-developmental research, i.e., taking detailed observations of natural interactions, and analyzing behaviors in real-time. Her PhD research at the University of Groningen focused on observations of children’s natural interactions, and analyzing these using time-serial techniques. In a longitudinal within-subject design, she studied the cognitive development of typically developing children and children with developmental disabilities (ADHD, autism). Steffie is currently working on Veni 2018 grant project: (How) Does animal assisted therapy work? This study investigates the effect of dog-assisted therapy for children with Down Syndrome and Autism, and looks for a possible mechanism to explain this effect: Increased synchronization between the movements of child and therapy dog. As assistant professor (Tenure track), she also works on 1) the study with Lisette de Jonge-Hoekstra and Ralf Cox on the attunement of young students’ speech and gestures during learning tasks and interactions with other students, and 2) the study on optimizing the engagement and on-task behavior of students with autism in regular primary schools (in collaboration with the Hanze Applied University; RAAK publiek grant).

Postdoc
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Wim Pouw

Wim Pouw, PhD (main affiliation: Erasmus University Rotterdam), is currently a visiting postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for the Ecological Study of Perception and Action (CESPA) at the University of Connecticut, where he is executing his 2-year research project funded by the NWO Rubicon grant scheme. His research focuses on the coordination of hand gesture and speech, utilizing motion tracking technology to study the kinematics of gesture together with the analyses of speech prosody through acoustic analyses. With this complex data he is applying basic principles from dynamic perception-action perspectives as to come to a more simple understanding of the role of sensorimotor synchronization in communicative behavior. Wim Pouw is supporting open science and replicability movements in psychology; his main research is pre-registered and anonymized data(analyses) are made publicly available. For publications (total 14; 312 citations) see here.

Professor
Erasmus University Rotterdam

Fred Paas

Fred Paas is Professor of Educational Psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Since 1990 he has been using the theoretical framework of cognitive load theory to investigate the instructional control of cognitive load in the training of complex cognitive tasks. In 2016 he was recognized as the world’s most productive author in the five best journals in the field of educational psychology for the period 2009- 2014. His publications have generated more than 26.000 citations. He is editor-in-chief of the journal Educational Psychology Review, and on the editorial board of several other renowned journals, such as the Journal of Educational Psychology. He is a fellow of the American Educational Research Association.

Postdoc
Eindhoven University of Technology

Wouter Kouw

Wouter is a post-doctoral researcher in machine learning and intelligent systems. He obtained a MSc degree in Neuroscience from Maastricht University, where he designed a computational model of eye-movement guidance based on maximal visual information gain for his thesis. Afterwards, he did his PhD at TU Delft in the Department of Intelligent Systems. His work focused on adaptive machine learning systems, that aim to generalize to target populations. Insights from theoretical work were applied to problems in image, signal and natural language processing. After his PhD, Wouter spent a year as a Research Software Engineer at the Netherlands eScience Center, working on various applied machine learning projects, before leaving for the University of Copenhagen as a Niels Stensen Fellow. There he extended his PhD work to incorporate variational Bayesian inference. Currently, he is working in the Bayesian Intelligent Autonomous Systems Lab (BIASlab) at TU Eindhoven.

Professor
Eindhoven University of Technology

Bert de Vries

Bert de Vries is currently a part-time professor in the Signal Processing Systems group at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and a Principal Scientist at hearing aid manufacturer GN Hearing. At TU/e he is the founder and director of BIASlab, which is a research group that focuses on the development of intelligent autonomous agents that learn from in-situ interactions with their environment. Our research draws inspiration from diverse fields including computational neuroscience, Bayesian machine learning and signal processing systems. Typical applications for these intelligent agents include in-situ design of hearing aid algorithms, motion and gesture tracking, and adaptive robotics. BIASlab develops and maintains Forneylab.jl, which is a probabilistic programming toolbox to support the development of intelligent autonomous agents.  

Postdoc
Radboud University Nijmegen

James Trujillo

James started his PhD in February of 2015 at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, where he currently works at both the Donders Centre for Cognition as well as the Centre for Language Studies. His work utilizes a multi-modal approach to understand the communicative aspect of gestures, actions and language: how the intent to communicate is perceived at a behavioural level, how this is processed at a neural systems level, and how this dynamic differs in individuals with Autism. To address these questions, he uses motion tracking (eg. Microsoft Kinect) to capture kinematic features important in communicative moments, as well as fMRI combined with neural connectivity measures to understand how the brain processes the communicative cues embedded in actions and gestures.

Professor
Radboud University Nijmegen

Asli Özyürek

Asli Özyürek is the Director of the Multimodal Language and Cognition lab. Her research in general investigates the relations between cognition (action, space), language, communication and development. More specifically she asks to what extent our knowledge and use of bodily actions interact with language, its processing and learning. She investigate this in two domains of human communicative behavior in which body and language are closely related: 1) gestures that speakers use along with speech and 2) sign languages (established or emerging). Asli uses an interdisciplinary approach (linguistic and psychological) and a combination of methods and techniques such as linguistic analysis, comparative (developmental, cross-linguistic) and experimental methods as well as brain imaging (ERP, fMRI). Currently she is the recipient of NWO-VICI Grant. She is also an active PI and a Scientific Board Member of NWO funded Language in Interaction Consortium (till 2023). With Dr Judith Holler Asli coordinate the Nijmegen Gesture Center.

Postdoc
Utrecht University

Annika Hellendoorn

After finishing her research master ‘Development and Socialization in Childhood in Adolescence’, Annika started with a PhD project at Utrecht University. In her PhD project, she researched the development of children with autism from an embodied cognition and ecological (affordance theory) perspective. In addition, she has a postdoc position in the project Robowijs, which is funded by NRO. This project researches the use of social robotics in primary education to help children with autism in developing technical and social skills. Furthermore, Annika is part of the European research project Enhancing the scientific study of early autism: A network to improve research, services and outcome. These projects have led to a number of publications. Next to her work in academia, Annika is also as social worker and health coordinator at Carehouse, an organization that provides support to children in need, such as those with autism and ADHD.