Rakoen Maertens

Rakoen Maertens

Juliana Cuyler Matthews Junior Research Fellow in Psychology
Experimental Psychology
Psychology and Philosophy
BSc (Ghent), MSc (Ghent), PhD (Cantab), DPhil (Oxon)

Rakoen Maertens is the Juliana Cuyler Matthews Junior Research Fellow in Psychology at New College. He completed his BSc and MSc (summa cum laude) in Experimental Psychology at the University of Ghent, where he received the award for Best Master Dissertation of Belgium by the Belgian Association for Psychological Sciences and Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium for his work applying behavioural insights to tackle climate change misinformation. He then pursued his PhD in Psychology at the University of Cambridge, focusing on how to apply psychological science to fight fake news and misinformation, and received the CSAR Award for Applied Research. Alongside his academic work he co-founded the Cambridge University Behavioural Insights Team, served as a representative to the United Nations for three NGOs (including the Society for Personality and Social Psychology), and has developed an interest in science diplomacy and translating research into practical solutions. His applied behavioural science work includes collaborations with industry and public sector partners such as Google Jigsaw, WhatsApp, and the UK Cabinet Office.



He currently lectures and tutors for the Social Psychology course at the Department of Experimental Psychology, and specifically teaches the following topics:

  1. Personality, Social Influence, and Norms
  2. Misinformation & Influence and Persuasion in the Digital Age
  3. Nudging & Applied Behavioural Insights


Research Interests

His research focuses on social psychology and applied behavioural science, and particularly how psychological science can be brought into practice to tackle current issues. His main area of focus is on the psychology of misinformation and how to resist persuasion by misleading information. He also focuses on methodological work, as is exemplified by his work on the first psychometrically validated misinformation susceptibility tests, as well as his work on using AI for psychometric item generation. Finally, his involvement with the United Nations and work with industry and public sector partners focuses on how research can be made more practically relevant for policy makers.


Selected Publications

  • Götz, F. M.*, Maertens, R.*, Loomba, S., & van der Linden, S. (2023). Let the algorithm speak: How to use neural networks for automatic item generation in psychological scale development. Psychological Methods. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/met0000540
  • Maertens, R. (2023). The long-term effectiveness of inoculation against misinformation: an integrated theory of memory, threat, and motivation. University of Cambridge. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.92273
  • Maertens, R., Anseel, F., & van der Linden, S. (2020). Combatting climate change misinformation: Evidence for longevity of inoculation and consensus messaging effects. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 70, Article 101455. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jenvp.2020.101455
  • Maertens, R.*, Götz, F. M.*, Golino, H. F., Roozenbeek, J., Schneider, C. R., Kyrychenko, Y., Kerr, J. R., Stieger, S., McClanahan, W. P., Drabot, K., He, J., & van der Linden, S. (2023). The Misinformation Susceptibility Test (MIST): A psychometrically validated measure of news veracity discernment. Behavior Research Methods, 1–37. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13428-023-02124-2
  • Maertens, R., Roozenbeek, J., Basol, M., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Long-term effectiveness of inoculation against misinformation: Three longitudinal experiments. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 27(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1037/xap0000315 
  • Maertens, R., Roozenbeek, J., Simons, J., Lewandowsky, S., Maturo, V., Goldberg, B., Xu, R. & van der Linden, S. (2023). Psychological booster shots targeting memory increase long-term resistance against misinformation. PsyArXiv. https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/6r9as
  • Roozenbeek, J., Maertens, R., Herzog, S. M., Geers, M., Kurvers, R. H., Sultan, M., & van der Linden, S. (2022). Susceptibility to misinformation is consistent across question framings and response modes and better explained by myside bias and partisanship than analytical thinking. Judgment and Decision Making, 17(3), 547–573. https://journal.sjdm.org/22/220228/jdm220228.pdf
  • Roozenbeek, J., Maertens, R., McClanahan, W., & van der Linden, S. (2021). Disentangling item and testing effects in inoculation research on online misinformation: Solomon revisited. Educational and Psychological Measurement, 81(2), 340–362. https://doi.org/10.1177/0013164420940378 
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