About me

I am an Associate Professor in the Behavioural Informatics Group (previously called Agent Systems Research Group) at VU University Amsterdam. The Behavioural Informatics Group studies the design, implementation and evaluation of intelligent computational systems that analyse, simulate or influence human behaviour. Examples of such systems include smartphone applications to help people adopt a healthier lifestyle, virtual reality-based training environments for security personnel, and social robots to support patients with mental health disorders.

Within this context, my current line of research focuses on the development of Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVAs), i.e., human-like characters in virtual environments that communicate with humans or with each other using natural human modalities. My work has an emphasis on the use of IVAs for training of social skills such as aggression de-escalation and cultural awareness. My main interest is to enhance both the believability and the effectiveness of IVAs, by endowing them with dynamic computational models of human behaviour, which are rooted in psychological and social theories. Such models enable IVAs to generate human-like behaviour as well as to understand it.

I am also the vice-chair of the Benelux Association for Artificial Intelligence and the co-founder of the Amsterdam Applied Gaming Research Community.