I am a Ph.D. student in the Amsterdam Cooperation Lab at VU University Amsterdam, supervised by Daniel Balliet and Paul van Lange.
I was born in Coburg, Germany, in 1990; and grew up in and around the city of Siegen. At age 16, I started blogging, first on my own site, later also as part of various groups documenting digital activism and persecution of digital activists. From 2008 to 2010, I was a contributing author for underground news site gulli:news; and between 2009 and 2010 I interned with netzpolitik.org and Spreeblick, two leading German blogs (all my articles are linked here). During this time, I was also a member of the Arbeitskreis Vorratsdatenspeicherung, a national umbrella coalition against data retention laws. Much of my journalism focused on free culture, including alternatives to copyright, decentralised media and what has become known as “sharing economy”, and criticism of surveillance and censorship. Lawrence Lessig, Yochai Benkler, and by extension Elinor Ostrom were great influences on my thought during this time.
Subsequently, I studied psychology, economics, biology, and information sciences at Amsterdam University College, McGill University, and the University of Amsterdam. I started my academic career with work on new media and digital activism, publishing a number of co-authored articles on citizen journalism in Africa and spending a summer interning with the OpenNet Initiative at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Early on, however, my interests moved towards ultimate foundations of cooperation, and I got interested in evolutionary psychology and experimental approaches to human cooperation. During my master’s, I majored in methodology and statistics, while my research focused on cooperation during intergroup conflict, work that married methods from behavioural economics with theories from evolutionary anthropology and psychology. At the same time, I spent two years as a core tutor for psychology and research methods at UvA’s PPLE College.
My research interests today are broadly centered on ultimate and proximate causes of human cooperation. I am particularly interested in cooperation during intergroup conflict, and variation in group-bounded cooperation across social contexts. Theoretically, my work is embedded in evolutionary psychology and an interdependence/team games approach to human and intergroup relations. These research interests go hand in hand with a commitment to free and open science, which I aim to heed to in research, teaching, and outreach.