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Dr. Sophie van der Zee is an assistant professor at the Behavioral Economics Group of the Erasmus School of Economics. Sophie combines her interdisciplinary background in Psychology and Computer Science to study how technology can assist people in their search for the truth. The first part of her research is aimed at implementing new technologies for lie detection purposes. For example, she developed a method (AMAB paper) to automatically measure human behavior using full-body motion capture suits and applied to method to detect deceit (to freeze or not to freeze; mining bodily cues to deceit).

A second part of her research is focused on ways in which we can encourage honest behavior. For example, in her recent research paper “when lying feels the right thing to do” she demonstrated that feelings of rejection can increase cheating behavior, suggesting that transparency and openness may help reduce insurance fraud in the long run. Currently, she works with Prof. Aurelien Baillon on his ERC grant “Verifiable Truths”, investigating specifically whether the Bayesian Truth Serum can be used to elicit more honest answers from participants.

The third part of her research is focused on the online occurrence of dishonesty in the form of cybercrime. She investigated the social persuasion strategies and lies told by scammers to convince potential victims to transfer money and, as a result, become actual victims. Currently, only 7% of cybercrime victims report their crime to the police. Her latest project, funded by Politie & Wetenschap, involves investigating which factors determine whether a victim of cybercrime will report the crime to the police and will include recommendations of how to increase victims’ willingness to report crimes.


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