From March till May 2018, I visited the Human Dynamics lab led by Professor Steve Boker at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA. The aim was to advance a statistical method previously developed by Professor Boker and apply it to my experiments. The stay exceeded my expectations in both academical and experience-wise ways. Not only did I succeed in reaching the goals that I aimed for, but also learned a vast variety of other research lines and methods discovering new perspectives of studying human behaviour. Also, the open and supportive atmosphere in the lab made me feel more than welcome.
The first part of my stay I dedicated to advancing my theoretical knowledge by reading relevant literature and discussing my study and research questions with colleagues from the lab. Combining the different techniques that they have developed in other contexts made this project an exciting challenge. In addition, I joined a course about Structural Equation Modelling that Professor Boker taught during my visit. I learned about novel methods to analyse data that broadened my knowledge about possible ways of answering complex research questions and that I can directly use to answer some of the questions of my PhD project. Besides the theoretical work, I completed the pre-processing steps on the data I have collected before to be able to properly perform the analyses. In the second half of the visit, after deciding on the analyses I wanted to apply to my data, another PhD student and I started to implement our ideas by programming the scripts to perform the analyses. With this, I can now run the analyses in Leiden. Exceeding my expectations, the scope of the project became so substantial that it will result in three different papers which will give the content of my dissertation an exciting new angle.
I am endlessly grateful to Professor Boker and the other lab members for the warm welcome and all the knowledge and experience they shared with me. This would not have been possible without the financial support of the Leiden University Fund and the Cognitive Psychology Department of the FSW, so I want to conclude by saying THANK YOU!
First Friday party – our Professor invites his Graduate Students for dinner at his house every month.
The beautiful campus of the University of Virginia.
Me holding a “Thomas Jefferson”-cup, a gift from my colleagues to say goodbye.