The Team

Master Student

Jennifer Koning

Master Student

Deike Menken

Master Student

Mees Kok

Bachelor Student

Wendelien Barkema

Koc Lab Alumni

I am a social and applied psychologist. My overall research interests are in areas of multiple conflicted identities, stigmatized groups, and diversity for a better understanding of individuals and society. My projects at KocLab include three key questions: how individuals define themselves within social groups (e.g., social identities, multiple conflicted identities); how polarisation between the groups causes individual outcomes (e.g., well-being, negative attitude); and how these intergroup conflicts can be resolved to increase peace and harmony in society (e.g., collective action, increasing diversity, attitude change). I also work on tolerance, LGB individuals coming-out experiences, institutional trust with colleagues around the world.

Ayça Aksu

(Erasmus+ Trainee)

Bastian Moritz Weitz

(Bachelor Thesis Student)

During my bachelor's at Groningen, I started working with Yasin as an intern on a research project on disparagement humour and relational models. Then I decided to do my bachelor thesis with him on the topic of collective apologies and we examined the effect of apolising on advantaged group members. I also worked as a teaching assistant for Yasin at his intergroup relations course.  My primary interests are cross-cultural research, the impact of identities on cognition and intergroup processes, as well as statistical/data science. I am currently a predoc at Stanford Graduate School of Business working at Culture Lab with Michele Gelfand.

While I was a psychology student at Istanbul Sehir University, I became a member of Koc Lab through an Erasmus+ internship in 2019. My research interests are intergroup relations, gender equality, prejudice, discrimination, and social identity. Currently, I am working on discrimination against women in Turkey by using qualitative and quantitative methods with Dr. Y. Koc. I am currently a master student at Bournemouth University, England.

Zeynep Doğan

(Erasmus+ Trainee)

Denizhan Şengül

(Erasmus+ Trainee & Web Designer)

Hi, I am Denizhan and I am graduate student in Social Psychology  at Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt University, TR. My primary research interests are social identity, tolerance, prejudice, discrimination, and cross-cultural research. I joined Koc Social Identities Lab after an Erasmus+ Internship in 2020. I have worked on several research projects in the lab such as #MyWhitePrivilege and collective nostalgia.

Dr. Yasin Koc, Lab Director

Assistant Professor of Social Psychology

I am an experimental social psychologist. My research aims to achieve two major goals: 1) to improve the status of the minoritised groups in society, 2) to foster positive intergroup relations to achieve higher wellbeing for all member of society. However, my emphasis is exclusively on the status and wellbeing of the minoritised group members, and I try to alter the behaviour and attitudes of the majority hoping to shift the burden from the already stigmatized minorities towards the system and the majority. Beyond academic outputs, I try to make my work relevant for the society and partner with societal stakeholders to easily distribute and implement our findings. I have written and published work using experimental, correlational, qualitative and ethnographic methods. I collaborate with amazing colleagues across the world, and try to promote building a cooperative and supportive work environment within my lab for my students.


Sümeyra Bengisu Akkurt

(Erasmus+ Trainee)

I received my Bachelor's degree from the Department of Psychology at Istanbul Şehir University in 2019; and Master's degree from the Psychological Sciences Master's Program at Kadir Has University in 2022, both as a full tuition waiver. Since 2020, I have been working as a full-time research assistant at Abdullah Gül University Psychology Department. My research interests in social psychology are mainly social identity theory, prejudice, intergroup relations, belief in conspiracy theories, collective action, and gender studies. In 2018, I became the first research assistant of Koc Lab, funded by the Erasmus+ Traineeship program. I have been working on several experimental and qualitative research projects in the lab on identity integration of Muslim-feminist women, intergroup helping towards Syrian refugees in Turkey, and collective nostalgia's role on outgroup attitudes.

Stefano Ciaffoni

(Master Student)

My name is Stefano Ciaffoni and I am a PhD student in Social Psychology at the University of Bologna.

My call is to help unravelling inequalities and empower disadvantaged groups, in particular with regard to sexual minorities. This is how I met Yasin Koc in February 2019, when we started a project on internalised sexual prejudice in gay men. Shortly after, I became a proud member of the Koc Social Identity Lab, where passionate young researchers meet, and many projects and ideas always blossom. My research interests include dynamics of gender inequality, discrimination, internalised stigma, and collective action in groups such as LGBT communities and consensually non-monogamous people.

Keeping my eyes open for visiting universities abroad!

Uğur C. Özküsen

(Research Intern)

Jordan Hinton

(PhD Student at Australian Catholic Uni.)

I am a PhD student at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, and I first met Yasin through Joel Anderson and we collaborated on a paper on self- and meta-stereotype endorsement. Later on, Yasin joined my PhD supervision team and became one of my co-supervisors for my PhD work. In the meantime, I was invited to join Koc Lab and presented my work at the lab conferences. My PhD focuses on identity centrality among LGBTQ+ individuals.

Hannes Bey 

(Research Intern)

I am a master's student at the University of Groningen. I joined the Koclab in January 2020 as a Bachelor thesis student.  I am broadly interested in interdisciplinary approaches to societal issues and how social psychology can be combined with ideas from other disciplines. More specifically, I am interested in immigrant-host relations and the psychological factors contributing to the persistence of socio-economic inequality. Ongoing projects: Intergroup helping: the case of Syrian refugees in Turkey

Ece Aleyna Demirgüneş

(Research Intern)

I graduated from Yasar University in 2021. I am a master's degree student at the University of Padua. I became a member of the Koclab in 2020. My research interests are Intergroup relations, prejudice, attitudes towards minorities, and cyberpsychology. Currently, I am working on "White Privilege" and "Marketing Through Instagram: The Case of Gay Influencers" projects.

Pelin Su Şafak

(Research Intern)

I graduated from Yasar University in 2021. Currently, I am a Clinical, Social and Intercultural Psychology master’s degree student at the University of Padua. I joined KocLab in 2020. My research interests are social identity, intergroup relations, social cognition, and minority groups. Currently, I am working on "White Privilege" and "Marketing Through Instagram: The Case of Gay Influencers" projects. 


Ezgi Kara

(Lab Coordinator & Research Intern)

I just received my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Istanbul Bilgi University. I am currently doing an Erasmus + research internship at the University of Groningen and we're working on projects mainly focus on fat stigma and sexual objectification with Irem Sakarya and Yasin Koc. Aside from that, my main research interests include biphobia in the LGBTQ+ community and double discrimination against bisexual individuals.



Winnie Ansah

(Research Master Student)

I am a Research Master student of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Groningen. My research interests include the effects of racism on BIPoC, social identities, diversity and inclusion.

İrem Nur Keskin

(Research Intern)

I am a recent psychology graduate and senior year law (double major) student at MEF University. My research interests are system justification theory, distributive justice and intergroup relationships, and social inequality. Currently, I am working on ​​realistic and symbolic threats perceptions towards Syrian refugees in the Turkish context and the effects of fake news in shaping negative attitudes with Dr. Yasin Koc and Dr. Müjde Peker. I joined Koc Lab last year after deciding my research interests. 


Elif Çelik

(Erasmus+ Trainee)

I graduated from İstanbul Ticaret University in 2021. I am working as a psychologist with refugees in a
Europian Union project. My research interests are moral disengagement, terror management theory,
social identity. I became a member of the Koclab in 2021 through Erasmus+ trainee. I am currently
looking for a master's program in Europe.

Betül Gümüşoluk

(Research Intern)

I received my bachelor's degree in psychology at Istanbul Ticaret University in 2021. I have had a part of voluntary work with disadvantaged groups especially women who suffer from sexual apartheid. Currently, I'm an intern at a foundation that provides psychosocial support to immigrant children in Turkey. My research interests are social identity, prejudice, and discrimination.


Dr. Joel Anderson, Collaborator

Senior Lecturer in Social Psychology

I am a social psychologist whose primary interests revolve around group processes, with a focus on prejudice, stigma, and stereotypes. My primary research focus has been on attitudes towards homosexuality, the relationship between homophobia and religion, and the effects of religious priming on implicit attitudes. I also have interests in asylum seekers, collective action, feminist psychology, acculturation, the psychology of religion, and religious-priming effects.


 ReMA Thesis Student

Helin Şahin

Master Student

Denise Chin

Fatih Köseoğlu

(Research Intern)

I received my Bachelor’s degree from the Psychology Department at Istanbul University in 2018. Following my graduation, I was a volunteer for disadvantaged children on a one-year European Solidarity Corps (covered by Erasmus+) project in the Netherlands. I am currently a graduate student in Social Psychology at Bursa Uludag University. I joined the Koclab in November 2021. My research interests are intergroup relationships, human-animal relations, attitude towards vegans/ vegetarians, social identity, prejudice, social dominance, social representations and critical psychology. Through my thesis, I am currently working on the relationship between speciesism and other group-based discriminations.

Zümra Kendir

(Research Intern)

I graduated from Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University in 2021. Currently, I am an Applied
Social Research master's student at Social Sciences University of Ankara. I was a volunteer
in the Psychosocial Support Unit of the Turkish Red Crescent Ankara Community Center for
one and a half years, where the aim was providing free psychosocial support and health
services to the Syrian asylum seekers and other refugees along with the Turkish individuals.
My main research interests are social identity, identity integration, cross-cultural studies,
critical psychology, and studies regarding the disadvantaged groups such as people with
disabilities, refugees, etc. I am especially interested in participatory action research.

Yajing Zhao

(PhD Student at the University of Groningen)

I have joined the Koc Social Identities Lab through Dr. Yasin Koc via showing my interest in the lab’s projects in March 2021. I received my Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from Özyeğin University in 2022. I recently got awarded with the Fulbright Scholarship for Master’s Degree and I will continue my academic career in the US, starting Fall 2023. My primary research interests are social identity theory, intergroup contact, stereotypes, prejudice, and attitudes towards sexual and ethnic minorities. Currently, I am working on a study exploring the relationship between gay-male identity integration and its effects on religiosity and anti-gay attitudes.

 I am a PhD student at the University of Groningen and joined Koclab in September 2022.  My main research interests include gender stereotyping, intersectionality and social stigma. 


Urvija Bhargava

(Research Intern)

I have a Master’s Degree in Social and Community Psychology from the University of Florence and I’m currently doing a post-graduate internship in Groningen, working on humorous responses to sexism.My main research interests are gender equality, sexual discrimination and group dynamics in virtual environments, particularly online fandoms.

Greetje Scheller

(Research Intern)

As the end of my Bachelor in Psychology at the University of Groningen is approaching I am collaborating with Yasin for my thesis. We are interested in the link between support motivation and identity motives of volunteers and their clients of the non-profit organization Stadjers Hand in Hand in Groningen. The organization works with people affected by poverty and aims to help their clients regain autonomy and empower them to again become functional members of society. For this research we are using a qualitative approach.

Alisha Scheuer

(Research Intern)

I graduated from the University of Groningen in 2022, in Applied Social Psychology (MSc). My primary research interests are social change, gender studies, cross-cultural psychology, social identity and identity integration. Additionally, I am also interested in Environmental Psychology and Neuroscience. My thesis focussed on ‘Women’s Empowerment in Bolivia’. To further develop my research experience, I joined the Koc Lab and will be working on projects around the topics ‘Masculinities’, ‘Identity Integration’ and ‘Self-Construals’. I am currently seeking a PhD position.

Miriam Dietz

(Research Intern)

I am a Clinical Psychology (MSc) graduate and Applied Social Psychology (ASP) master’s student. I joined the lab in October 2022, as part of my ASP master’s thesis project on the consequences of prototypes of drug users. My research interest is wide ranging with an interdisciplinary approach combining Social and Clinical Psychology, focusing on sexology, addiction, prototypes, LGBTQ+ individuals and stigma, and mental health awareness. Looking for opportunities, such as PhD positions, to pave the road to a research career!

Beatrice Helena Gänzler

 (Research Intern)

Hey! I am a master’s student at the University of Groningen and I am currently following the program Applied Social Psychology. Dr. Y. Koc is supervising my thesis-project where we are researching attitudes towards and features of an MSM partner notification app for STI’s and HIV. I joined the KocLab in 2022. My research interests include social identities, minorities and intergroup relations, sexology and cross-cultural psychology. At the moment I am working on projects surrounding internalized sexual prejudice, brain injury and mental health among police officers, and the partner notification app. For the next year I am looking for an internship within a sexual health or social justice organization/charity. 


I graduated from the Department of Psychology at Bursa Uludag University in 2022. I joined Koc Social Identities Lab in April 2022 as an Erasmus intern. 

There are many precious topics in Social Psychology that are worth investigating deeply. However, my research interests mainly focus on social identity,  intergroup relations, disadvantaged groups,multi-identity conflicts (especially in Uyghur people), collective narcissism, and Uyghur Diaspora. Currently, I’m taking part in the Uyghur Mental Health Project as a volunteer assistant. Meanwhile, I’m a content creator of a psychology-related social media platform. This platform was created for Uyghur Community, to help them to get to know psychology, increase awareness, and hopefully decrease bias toward Psychology. Besides, I am looking for a graduate program in Social Psychology for Fall 2023. 

Dilare Rahim

(Research Intern)

İrem Sakarya 

(Research Coordinator & Research Intern)

I received my Bachelor's degree in psychology at Bahcesehir University last semester. Since I want to pursue my career in social psychology, I met KocLab while looking for a research internship for the Erasmus+ program, and I've been a member of the lab since the beginning of 2022. I am interested in discrimination, conflicting social identities, cultural differences, and issues, especially menstruation poverty/taboos, and sexual taboos of the public recently. Currently, I am doing my Erasmus+ research internship at the University of Groningen under the supervision of Yasin Koc. I am also the research coordinator of KocLab. I am currently involved in a research project focusing on fat stigma. After my internship, I aim to apply for master's programs in social psychology.

Hakan Çakmak

(PhD Student at the University of Groningen)

I obtained my MSc degree in Political Psychology from the University of Kent. Now, I am doing my PhD in Social Psychology at the University of Groningen under the supervision of Prof Dr Katherine E. Stroebe, Prof Dr Ernestine H. Gordijn and Dr Yasin Koc. Broadly speaking, my research concentrates on what drives advantaged group members to behave anti- and pro-socially towards disadvantaged groups, using quantitative methods. Particularly, I attempt to seek ways to improve disadvantaged groups’ conditions by gaining insight into the roots of the advantaged's solidarity and enmity. With this in mind, I am currently researching the motivational and emotional underpinnings of 'solidarity-based collective action' as part of my doctoral project. My other research interests lie upon collective violence, group-based norms and dissent, social identity and system justification processes.

Çağla Akyıldız 

(Research Intern)

I am a second-grade psychology student at MEF University. I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Yasin and join KocLab at the University of Groningen, where I came with the exchange program last year. My research interests are disadvantaged groups, intergroup relations, ordinary privileges, and social identities. 

Nele Hausmann 

(Research Intern)

I studied Psychology and Applied Social Psychology at the University of Groningen where I wrote my master's thesis with Yasin Koc and became a member of the lab. 

My research interests lie in the field of social change and minority identity in cross-cultural contexts with specific focus on LGBTQ+ identities. 

In my thesis I focused on the Rejection-Identification-Model and lesbian Identities and currently I am working on "My White Privilege".

Owen Murphy

(Research Intern)

I am a masters student at the University of Groningen. Having completed my bachelor in Psychology with a minor in Sociology, I have a strong drive to improve the quality of life of others through research and practice. From working with people experiencing homelessness to researching aspects of inequality and discontent in society, I would characterise my broad research interests as a sum of my interest in power. I have a deep fascination in who holds power in the world, how that power diffuses across groups, and what is the consequence of that. I am now focused on building connections in the world of academia, enhancing my research skills, and finding a suitable phd position. Besides working with the Koc Lab, I also work with the AARTSS lab and will be completing an internship at the University of Queensland in 2023.

Dr. Ömer Erdem Koçak, Collaborator


I am a researcher and consultant with expertise in organizational behavior and work psychology. I earned my PhD from Marmara University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in work and organizational psychology at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Currently, I am a faculty member at Istanbul Medipol University, where I focus on promoting sustainable work performance through individual and organizational interventions.
My mission is to help organizational leaders create thriving teams by designing social dynamics that foster positive workplace relationships. In my research, I use quantitative methods to investigate workplace dynamics and apply evidence-based principles to my consulting work.
As a member of the KocLab, I am involved in research projects that examine workplace social dynamics, such as women's leadership and identity-related stereotypes. I am passionate about understanding and addressing the challenges that arise from social identities in the workplace.