Hi, I’m Maarten.
My research looks at our so-called post-truth age. How does the internet influence what we believe and how societies come to some kind of public understanding about truth? How can we apply insights from cognitive science and social epistemology to everyday opinion-forming in the digital age? How can we best make our digitized information landscape truth-friendly. Right now I think that making the online world truth-friendly is difficult but doable, and I would love to contribute to this. Specifically, my research focuses on political issues related to trust and representation. Does the internet have a democratizing effect, because it facilitates access to and dissemination of information? Or are we heading for a schism between the people who do not feel at home in the digital landscape or end up in a “filter bubble” versus the elites, who increasingly dominate the upper part of the professional ranks, universities, media and culture, with unprecedented wealth and growing control of information?
Second, in cognitive psychology, I write about how people deal with information and how biased our reasoning actually is. Indeed, contrary to a popular narrative, I think most demonstrations of our biases don’t support the inference that we’re irrational reasoners. One of my goals is to rectify this skewed interpretation of psychological research, because how we see ourselves influences how we organize society.
I also study how we can best offer them information in educational environments. I suspect that learning is a misunderstood concept, current designs for information transfer such as books are ineffective and we should teach students way better knowledge management skills. I’m very interested in the question of how tools like Roam Research, Notion, Evernote and Obsidian can be used to build collective intelligence and extended to collaborative reasoning, allowing organizations to build shared mental maps and make faster and better-informed decisions.
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I also coach people in information management and writing.