Research Areas

Fundamental Psychology Research Translational Psychology Research

The overarching theme of this research is socially situated cognition.


This research line is shaped by the general assumption that to navigate a dynamically changing social environment, we respond to the situated demands made upon us by flexibly adapting to them. At the same time, we actively structure our physical and social environment to reduce its complexity and release cognitive resources. This is achieved, in part, by making use of the knowledge and competencies that others have provided (scaffolds), and in part, by offloading tasks through the creation of knowledge structures in the environment, such as street names. In effect, we rely on distributed knowledge. Obviously, the biological constitution of our bodies limits how we structure and process the dynamic reality surrounding us; our knowledge is embodied. The important result of this adaptive negotiation processes is the emergent nature of cognition, namely the situatedness of social cognition. This newly emerging dynamic perspective is referred to as socially situated cognition.


This thematic line has several active PIs, whose work integrated two complementary facets. The first is adult human functioning, and the second is human development.

The theme of the “translational psychology research” line is health psychology and well-being, a field that is an aggregate of the fundamental contributions from psychology to the promotion and maintenance of health and well-being.


The research developed entails the prevention and treatment of illness as well as the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates of health as well as illness and related dysfunctions. Finally, the application of novel insights in these applied fields has to take into account an analysis of the health-care system and contribute to health-policy formation.


The first step in this general approach involves applying theories that are developed in fundamental research to the psychology of health and well-being. The next step entails identifying issues and problems in an applied context; the final step takes these issues back to the laboratory to investigate the underlying processes, only to take the fundamental insights gained in the laboratory to the field. This three-step cyclic process, namely lab to field and back to lab, is what we refer to as translational research and characterizes the nature of the research we perform in this thematic line.


This thematic line has several active PIs with four research foci in Health and Well Being issues.