From early on I have a fascination with both physical and psychological processes, and therefore I studied both medicine (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and psychology (Leiden University). Although combining areas of expertise might encompass its bridging-challenges, I truly believe that multidisciplinary knowledge, perspectives, and cooperation are of great importance and contribute to the quest of explaining complex human behavior. The research master cognitive neuroscience at Leiden University, perfectly allowed me to integrate both perspectives in a focused and detailed manner by investigating the physical (neural) substrata and cognitive (mental) processes with special focus on how these are produced by and interconnected within the brain. I was especially drawn to the ostensibly simple idea of looking into the mind through the eyes, which led to the uses of eye tracking to investigate children’s and adults’ cognitive processes and strategies during (mathematical) problem solving.
Currently I am doing my PhD research at the Freudenthal Institute of the Utrecht University. The project is part of the larger multi-disciplinary project the digital turn in epistemology. In this project members from philosophy, logic and mathematics education come together with IT and educational partners to assess the influence of two recent changes relevant for mathematics education: the widespread integration of technology, the digitalizing, and the turn in the epistemological theory, radical enactivism (containing embodied embedded and extended cognition). Here physical (motor and perceptual) processes are central in cognition, knowing and learning, and thus we aim to develop ICT tools that literally move students to learn mathematics. Within the project members of the Digital Mathematical Environment (DME) are developing handwriting recognition software for mathematical notations. With this, students can interact within digital environments much as they would in traditional pen-and-paper tasks (extended cognition). Although mathematical learning is often supported with ICT tools, we know little about how embodied and extended cognitive resources can be used to support mathematical learning. Therefore, in my PhD research I am researching how students use movements (embodied cognition), and sketching & writing (extended cognition) in a digital learning environment to solve various trigonometric tasks.