Universiteit Leiden

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Judith Schomaker

Assistant Professor

J. Schomaker Ph.D.
+31 71 527 2727

Short CV

2019 - now Assistant professor, Section Health, Medical, & Neuropsychology, Leiden University, the Netherlands

2014-2018 Post-doc, Department of Biological Psychology, Justus Liebig University Gießen, Germany

2017 (February-June) Maternity leave

2015 Visiting researcher, Daw LabCenter for Neural Science, New York University, USA

2010-2014 PhD student, Department of Cognitive Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

 (PhD defense: 9th of January,2015;  Dissertation title: What’s new? The interaction between novelty and cognition)

2010 Visiting research master student Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen, Germany

2009-2010 Research assistant at the Department of Cognitive Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2008-2010 Research Master Cognitive Neuropsychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2007-2008 Research Assistant, Center of Education, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2007 Research Assistant, Department of Clinical Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2005-2008 Bachelor Psychology, VU University Amsterdam, the Netherlands


   I aim to investigate the effects of novelty on learning, memory, and motivation. When visiting a new place learning about where to expect danger and where to find rewards is crucial for survival. Animal studies have reliably shown that exploring a new environment enhances plasticity in the brain, specifically in the hippocampus, to promote such learning. Thus far, very few studies have investigated the effects of spatial novelty on learning in humans. In one previous study I was able to show that learning is enhanced after exploration of novel versus familiar environments in humans too. In my future research I aim to clarify which aspects of exploring a novel environment underlie such memory benefits by using virtual reality (VR) that allows participants to actively explore realistic, but well-controlled environments in the lab.


Coordinator of the first-year bachelor Bio- and Neuropsychology course.


Presidential Chair Start-up Funding, Carl-von-Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany - 219.846,- Euro (declined to take up an assistant professor position at Leiden University, the Netherlands).

Pre-Leiden publications

Schomaker, J. (invited review in preparation). Unexplored territory: Beneficial effects of novelty on memory. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory

Schomaker, J., Grouls, M.E., Rau, E.M., Hendriks, M., Colon, A., & Meeter, M. (in revision). Novelty processing depends on medial temporal lobe structures. Neuropsychologia

Schomaker, J., & Vriens, M. (in revision). What you see is what you want: Top-down attention biasing choice behavior. Journal of Business Research

Vriens, M., & Schomaker, J. (accepted). Evaluation of a brand association density metric. Journal of Product & Brand Management.

Schomaker, J., & Meeter, M. (2018). Predicting the unknown: Novelty processing depends on expectations. Brain Research Article link

Schomaker, J., & Wittmann, B.C. (2017). Memory performance for everyday motivational and neutral objects is dissociable from attention. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 11:121. Full article

Schomaker, J., Rau, E., Einhaeuser, W., & Wittmann, B.C. (2017). Motivational Objects in Natural Scenes (MONS): A database of > 800 objects. Frontiers in Psychology: Emotion Science Full article

Schomaker, J., Walper, D., Wittmann, B.C., Einhäuser, W. (2017). Attention in natural scenes: Affective-motivational factors guide gaze independently of visual salience. Vision Research 133, 161-175. Article link

Schomaker, J., Rangel-Gomez, M., & Meeter, M. (2016). Happier, faster: Developmental changes in the effects of mood and novelty on responses. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(1), 37-47Article link

Schomaker, J., Meeter, M. (2015). Short- and long-lasting consequences of novelty, deviance, and surprise on brain and cognition. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews 55, 268-279.

Schomaker, J., Berendse, H.W., Foncke, E.M.J., van der Werf, Y.D., van den Heuvel, O.A., Theeuwes, J., & Meeter, M. (2014). Novelty processing and memory formation in Parkinson’s disease. Neuropsychologia 62, 124-136. Article link

Schomaker, J., van Bronkhorst, M.L.V., & Meeter, M. (2014). Exploring a novel environment improves motivation and promotes recall of words. Frontiers in Psychology 5, 918. Full article

Schomaker, J., Roos, R., & Meeter, M. (2014). Expecting the unexpected: The effects of deviance on novelty processing. Behavioral Neuroscience 128, 146-160. Article link

Schomaker, J., & Meeter, M. (2014a). Facilitation of responses by task-irrelevant complex deviant stimuli. Acta Psychologica 148, 74-80. Article link

Schomaker, J., & Meeter, M. (2014b). Novelty detection is enhanced when attention is otherwise engaged: an event-related potential study. Experimental Brain Research 232, 995-1011. Article link

Schomaker, J., & Meeter, M. (2012). Novelty enhances visual perception. PLoS One 7, e50599. Full article

Schomaker, J., Tesch, J., Bülthoff, H.H., & Bresciani, J.P. (2011). It is all me: the effect of viewpoint on visual-vestibular recalibration. Experimental Brain Research 213, 246-256. Article link

Schomaker, J., & Talsma, D. (2009). The relationship between response times and the strength of top-down attentional control: An ERP study. Journal of European Psychology Students 1Full article

Assistant Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Gezondheids, Medische- Neuropsychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden


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