Our research lines are within the field of legal and forensic psychology. See below for an overview of the topics.
In this research line, members of our lab are interested in best practices in how to interview victims, witnesses, and suspects. For example, we examine the implementation of the NICHD Protocol in several settings in order to interview child victims in a proper fashion. Besides this, we are also interested in which interviewing techniques should not be used in practice and examine the reasons why these should not be used.
TRAUMA AND MEMORY
In this research line, we examine the effects of trauma on memory. We are interested in what people can remember about traumatic experiences and whether they might even misremember traumatic incidents. We are also interested to examine how recovered memories of trauma are evoked in settings such as therapy.
What can eyewitnesses remember of a witnessed event such as a robbery? Which factors might make eyewitnesses more reliable and which factors might result in the creation of false memories? These are issues that are examined in this research line.
LYING AND REMEMBERING
Both victims and perpetrators sometimes lie. For instance, while victims sometimes falsely deny that they were victimized, perpetrators claim memory loss and/or fabricate information regarding their crime. We investigate what happens to genuine memory for criminal events when people adopt different deceptive strategies prior to telling the truth.
LEARNING/DECISION-MAKING AND MEMORY
What we remember can guide our behavior. However, human memory is an adaptive and reconstructive system where its elements can be selectively sampled, intentionally forgotten or even completely distorted. We focus on how manipulations of memory (e.g., misinformation, false feedback, spreading activation) can impact people's reward/fear learning and decision making.
SELF-REFERENCE AND FALSE MEMORY
We examine the role of self in impacting people's false memories including spontaneous false memory and suggestibility to misinformation. In the forensic context, this is relevant as the perspectives victims and bystanders experience the crime are naturally different (self-referenced vs. other-referenced). The self-other discrimination can help uncover possible different cognitive performances victims and bystander may have.
NEURAL CORRELATES OF BELIEF AND RECOLLECTION
Recent studies established that recollection and belief are two dissociable components of memory. With a series of behavioural studies, we found that people's beliefs about their past, rather than their vivid recollections/memories, can greatly impact their behaviours such as problem solving, decision making and food preferences. Hence, it is critical to find what brain regions are responsible for belief and thus are responsible for determining behaviour.