At the age of 32, I am a successful scientist in two fields: machine learning and psychology. Next to my PhD in biological psychology, I trained myself in machine learning techniques and brought my skills to such a level that I was able to start as a postdoc in this field, continue publishing research in international journals and conferences and give seminars in computer science.
I am interested in various topics including
- Generative, recurrent neural networks and efficient learning
- Inducitve biases that are inspired by human cognition, like compositional encodings
- Artificial theory of mind
- Cognitive biases for machines
- Neuropsychological research on empathy for pain
- Investigating psychological research questions with machine learning models
My machine learning research has profited from my psychological background in various ways:
Applying the methodological rigor that I acquired during my education in psychology onto machine learning research to test hypotheses regarding the inner working mechanisms of machine learning models that are as obscure as humans’ mental states makes my research replicable and sound. Machine learning research can also benefit from inspiration from human cognition. I solved the renowned Omniglot challenge developed by Lake, Salakuthinov, and Tenenbaum by including compositional encodings into a recurrent neural network. This was inspired by children who learn to decompose newly learned objects into parts and recombine them in new ways. With this at hand, they can easily generalize their newly acquired knowledge.
Not only my machine learning research can benefit from psychology but also the other way round. I am investigating the racial bias in pain recognition with a computer vision model that detects the activation of different action units in order to determine whether specific perceptual properties, like shape or color of facial features, facilitate the detection of painful expressions.
I love challenging myself and pushing my limits. So, I couldn’t find a better sport than mountainbiking. Arguably, it is one of the toughest sports combining multiple requirements regarding endurance, technique, and courage to to climb the steepest hills and send the sketchiest trails, drops, and jumps. Coming from a road bike background, mountainbiking demands this extra grit that I enjoy during my daily training rides.
Being an actress in musical performances was lots of fun but also very challenging for me. My strengths lie more in the academic than in the artistic field and I had not had any professional education in singing or dancing before. Nevertheless, I enjoyed making these new experiences very much.
I started a nationwide campaign with 200 people that aimed at promoting a web page that educates people to live a more environmentally friendly life. Tracking the web page views allowed to analyse the efficiency of different methods to promote the page.