I am an environmental psychologist who is fortunate to work in the midst of technology development, where interesting challenges are constantly posed, and psychological insights find direct application. These developments, in turn, are rapidly transforming our discipline by offering new technologies and tools in aid of psychological research. Yet, I am a traditional environmental psychologist: interested not so much in the environment and its preservation, but in the discipline's original aim of understanding the interplay between people and their surroundings—including built and media environments—in explaining human behavior and experience.
I received my Ph.D. from the J.F. Schouten School for User-System Interaction Research on the topic of embodiment and corporeal awareness in media technologies. Currently, I am an assistant professor in the Human-Technology Interaction group at Eindhoven University of Technology, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. I am affiliated with the Inteligent Lighting Institute.
My research interests include smart urban lighting, its requirements from a user perspective, and its effects on human functioning, behavior, and perception'with an emphasis on the empirical investigation of light's role in the safety perception formation process, and the possibilities of using light for crowd management and behavioral change (e.g., de-escalating potential aggressive situations). Part of this research is conducted in living labs situated in the city of Eindhoven, such as residential area Achtse Barrier or recreational area Stratumseind. A second research interest is in advanced media technologies and their potential as tools for psychological research (e.g., immersive VR environments, or mediated social touch technologies). I am particularly interested in understanding the phenomenon of presence, or the extent to which a person is fooled by the computer generated content. We are developing a theory of presence from an embodied perspective, and have recently laid out the foundations for its measurement. We also recently have started to explore and validate the use of presence evoking—and thus ecologically valid—virtual environments in the aid of urban lighting research.