Hope Applied Cognition Lab

(HAC Lab)

Nkansah Anakwah- Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: nkansah.anakwah@maastrichtuniversity.nl


I obtained my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Ghana in 2010. In 2011, I commenced a two-year Master of Philosophy degree in Social Psychology at the University of Ghana. My Master’s thesis examined the effect of fear of prosecution and threat of physical harm on risky driving attitudes, a study that was awarded a grant by Ghana’s National Road Safety Commission.


During the second year of my Master’s programme, I served as a Graduate Assistant at the Department of Psychology, University of Ghana. Following my master thesis, I continued to work as a Teaching Assistant with the department, where I also worked on other research projects. I later served as an adjunct lecturer at the Methodist University College Ghana, where I taught undergraduate psychology courses.


In 2017 I commenced the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate in Legal Psychology programme, with Maastricht University as my home university and University of Portsmouth as my host university. My Supervisors are Prof. Peter van Koppen (Maastricht University), Dr. Robert Horselenberg (Maastricht University) and Prof. Lorraine Hope (University of Portsmouth). My PhD research focuses on cultural influences on eyewitness testimony.


Pamela Hanway - SC.DTP PhD Student

Email: pamela.hanway@port.ac.uk


Formerly a Detective with Merseyside Police (UK), I have many years’ experience in a diverse range of investigative roles. My research interests extend from my police career and include all aspects of investigative interviewing.

I obtained my BSc (Hons) in Psychology in 2007 and my MSc in Psychology in 2010, both from The Open University. In 2016, I obtained my MSc in Forensic Psychology (with distinction) from the University of Portsmouth. For my recent MSc project, I explored police officers’ experiences when they interview children and vulnerable witnesses.

In 2017, the South Coast Doctoral Training Partnership (SC.DTP) awarded me a PhD studentship at the University of Portsmouth, under the supervision of Dr Lucy Akehurst, Dr Zarah Vernham and Professor Lorraine Hope. I am currently researching the effects of cognitive load on investigative interviewers’ performance, particularly during interviews with children and vulnerable witnesses.


Sergii Yaremenko – Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: sergii.yaremenko@maastrichtuniversity.nl


I hold a Master’s in Law from the National University ‘Odessa Law Academy’. Upon graduating in 2012, I continued my studies at the Odessa Mechnikov University to obtain my second Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology.

In 2016, I enrolled in the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program in Legal Psychology. I am primarily based at Maastricht University (the Netherlands), where I am supervised by Dr. Melanie Sauerland and Prof. Harald Merckelbach. In 2017, I also joined the department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth to continue my research here under the supervision of Prof. Lorraine Hope. In my PhD, I focus on the role of time-of-day preferences in eyewitness memory.


Alejandra De La Fuente Vilar – Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: a.delafuentevilar@maastrichtuniversity.nl


I hold a Bachelor in Arts in Psychology with specialization in Legal Psychology from the University of Buenos Aires (Argentina). In 2015, I obtained my Master of Science in Forensic Psychology from Maastricht University (The Netherlands), after being a visiting international research student at the University of British Columbia (Canada).


In 2016, I received an Erasmus Mundus fellowship to follow the Doctorate programme in Legal Psychology at Maastricht University in The Netherlands, Gothenburg University in Sweden & the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom. I am a PhD candidate supervised by: Prof. Peter van Koppen & Dr. Robert Horselenberg (UM), Prof. Leif Strömwall & Dr. Sara Landström (GU) & Prof. Lorraine Hope (UoP).


I am interested in memory reports during investigative interviews. My research is focused on investigative interviews with uncooperative witnesses. I am examining the mnemonic effects of reluctant disclosure and the interviewing strategies and question types used to overcome resistance.


Max Kinninger - Erasmus Mundus UG Programme

Email: max.kinninger@gmail.com


I joined the HAC lab in March 2015 as an Erasmus exchange student at the University of Portsmouth (UK), completing my third year’s project under the supervision of Prof Lorraine Hope. During this period, I have become quite interested in interviewing, memory research, and basic cognitive mechanisms thereof. In July 2016, I obtained my BSc (Psychology) from my alma mater, the University of Wuerzburg (Germany). Afterwards, I enrolled at the University of Freiburg (Germany) to study law. Presently, I continue to do research under the supervision of Prof Hope, my main areas of interest being interviewing with the timeline technique, exploring the underlying principles of temporal cognition, and, together with colleagues from the University of Wuerzburg, current trends in psychoanalysis. Past and present scholarships include the Max Weber Programme (Bavarian State Ministry of Education and Research), the German National Academic Foundation, and the Erasmus UG Programme (EU).


Feni Kontogianni - CREST PhD Student

Email: feni.kontogianni@port.ac.uk


I obtained my Bachelor in Psychology from Panteion University in Athens (Greece), during which time I studied as an Erasmus exchange student, in the University Paris Descartes V (France). I also hold an MSc in Forensic Psychology with distinction from the University of Maastricht (the Netherlands). I first joined the HAC Lab during my research internship in the UoP, where I was supervised by Prof. Lorraine Hope, while I conducted research for my Master’s thesis on the consequences of non-believed memories on memory reports.


My PhD is part of the National Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats (CREST) and as such it provides me with an exciting opportunity to be part of an interdisciplinary research community focusing on the understanding of security threats. My research focuses on the topic of “Information elicitation in intelligence gathering contexts” and examines factors that enhance recall/reporting performance along with the use of innovative tools and techniques in security contexts. I am supervised by Prof. Lorraine Hope (UoP), Prof. Paul Taylor (University of Lancaster) and Prof. Aldert Vrij (UoP). Other research interests of mine include criminal responsibility, violence risk assessment and cognitive biases that affect court decision-making.


Aleksandras Izotovas - Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: alex.izotovas@port.ac.uk


I obtained my Bachelors (2008) and Masters (2010) degrees from Vilnius University in Lithuania. During my bachelor studies I took part in the research project (which also evolved into successful bachelor thesis) which aimed at adapting violence risk assessment tool HCR-20 in the Lithuanian forensic settings. As for my master thesis, I analysed psychological aspects of experts' (namely, judges and prosecutors) parole decision making. I also obtained second master's degree in Maastricht University (2012). During this period my research for the master thesis was on malingering of dissociative amnesia and its' association with psychopathic personality traits and how coaching through the internet websites affects the ability of certain tests to detect fabricated symptoms. My research was supervised by Professor Harald Merckelbach and Doctor Maarten Peters.

In 2012-2015 I was working as a psychologist within the Lithuanian police system (Lithuanian Police School and Lithuanian Criminal Police Bureau). It gave me an invaluable practical experience in training police officers, psychological screening of candidates for intelligence officers' positions, investigative interviewing and working with the best Lithuanian criminal police professionals, in general.


I started my Phd in the University of Portsmouth in September 2015 offered by the Erasmus-Mundus

Joint Doctorate program in Legal Psychology (the House of Legal Psychology). The University of Gothenburg is the second university of my Phd project. I'm supervised by Professor Aldert Vrij and Professor Lorraine Hope, and my Phd research topic is related to memory based lie detection. My core research interests are verbal lie detection and investigative interviewing.


Shiri Portnoy - Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: shiri.portnoy@port.ac.uk


I hold a Bachelor degree (BA; 2011) in Psychology and a Masters degree in Cognitive Psychology (MA - Summa Cum Laude; 2014) from the University of Haifa, Israel. My masters’ research project was conducted at The Institute of Information Processing and Decision Making (IIPDM), University of Haifa. As part of my Masters' research I studied the metacognitive effects of initial question difficulty on subsequent eyewitness memory performance.


As of September 2015, I am a PhD candidate at the University of Portsmouth, UK, as part of the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme in Legal Psychology. My direct supervisors at the University of Portsmouth are Professor Lorraine Hope and Professor Aldert Vrij. I am also supervised by Professor Pär-Anders Granhag, Doctor Karl Ask and Doctor Sara Landström from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden; I spent six months (March – August 2017) at the University of Gothenburg as part of my research.In my doctoral research, I study the strategic regulation and reporting in the alibis of innocent suspects. That is, I examine factors that may affect, and more specifically, enhance, the informativeness and accuracy of the information reported by innocent suspects when they provide an alibi to convince an interviewer of their innocence.

I am highly fascinated by the cognitive and metacognitive processes that suspects and eyewitnesses go through before and while reporting from memory, as well as the products of such reporting. Furthermore, I am very interested in the strategies that underlie these reporting processes, and the ability of such strategies to assist with distinguishing between truth-tellers and liars.

I look forward to elaborating my research as part of the beginning of a hopefully fruitful and challenging academic career.


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Irena Boskovic - Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: irena.boskovic@maastrichtuniversity.nl


I obtained my Bachelor (2011) and Master (2013) degree in clinical psychology from University of Novi Sad, in Serbia. During my master studies, I took part in a research project aimed at exploring vulnerability factors for depression and anxiety.

For my master thesis, I investigated the utility of Rorschach Inkblot test in the assessment of aggression in male offenders. From 2011 until 2015 I volunteered in War trauma center, working as a psychological counsellor with people suffering from traumatization.

In 2015 I started my Ph.D. as part of Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate program in Legal Psychology. My home university is Maastricht University and my host university is at Portsmouth, where I am currently doing my six months mobility period. I am supervised by professor Harald Merckelbach (UM) and professor Marko Jelicic (UM), and by professor Lorraine Hope (UoP) and Dr James Ost (UoP). My research is focused on investigating different methods in the detection of malingering of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and malingering in the medico-legal context in general.


Renan Benigno - Erasmus Mundus PhD Student

Email: renan.saraiva@port.ac.uk


I obtained my Bachelor Degree in Psychology from University of Brasilia (Brazil). During my bachelors I conducted projects on social dilemmas, conformity effects, metamemory, facial composites and schizophrenia. In September 2016 I started my PhD on the Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctoral Programme in Legal Psychology. I am supervised by Dr Lorraine Hope and Dr. James Ost at the University of Portsmouth and Dr Robert Horselenberg and Dr Peter van Koppen at the University of Maastricht. My research focuses on the use of metamemory measures as estimates of eyewitnesses’ accuracy.


Gary Dalton - PhD Student

Email: gary.dalton@port.ac.uk


I graduated from the University of Stirling in 2009 with a BSc (Hons) in Psychology. As part of my degree I spent one year studying at the University of Sydney on a study abroad program. I am currently working towards my PhD at the University of Portsmouth. My research aims to provide a frontline examination of how witnesses and victims of crime actually first describe a suspect. For this project I work with Hampshire Constabulary and Queensland Police to examine what actually happens at the scene of an incident (using real life footage taken from body worn video cameras). In addition to my studies, I have held a number of research associate positions which have examined eyewitness memory, face matching and lie detection.


Click here for publications and presentations.


Charlotte Hudson – PhD student

Email: charlotte.hudson@port.ac.uk


In 2014 I graduated from the University of Portsmouth with a in BSc (Hons) Forensic Psychology. For my dissertation I worked with Prof. Aldert Vrij and Dr. Sharon Leal examining the use of the Symptom Validity Test as an effective lie detection technique.

Throughout my undergraduate degree I also worked as a research assistant for Prof. Aldert Vrij.


I started working on my PhD in Psychology at the University of Portsmouth in October 2014. My research specialises in investigative interviewing and detecting deception through statement consistency analysis, supervised by Prof. Aldert Vrij, Dr. Lucy Akehurst and Prof. Lorraine Hope. My primary research interests include forensic interviewing, verbal lie detection, memory based lie detection, individual differences, and intelligence & terrorism.






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