Program Postdoctoral Fellow
One unique feature of human thought is the development and maintenance of beliefs. People carry with them an enduring sense of what is true or false, and whether or not things exist in the world. Beliefs are central to what it means to be human. Jonas’ research focuses on the nature of human beliefs – their structure, function, and change. Past theories and research on human beliefs have approached the subject in two distinct ways. One, most common in the behavioral and cognitive sciences, is to understand how a single person's network of beliefs relate to one another. Another, most common in the social and economic sciences, is to understand how one person's beliefs are related to the beliefs of other people in one's social network.
Together with Henrik Olsson and Mirta Galesic, Jonas aims to develop a new theoretical framework that integrates understanding of belief networks at both the individual and social levels. One expected outcome is a better understanding of why some beliefs are resistant to change while others are not. To further the understanding why some beliefs are more resistant to change than others, Jonas adopts a transdisciplinary network perspective. Drawing from psychology, sociology, economics, computer science, and statistical physics, Jonas aims to develop and test a unifying theoretical framework on the dynamics of belief change.
Jonas earned a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Amsterdam. In his dissertation, Jonas developed and tested a general theory of attitude. Prior to that, he received a B.Sc. and an M.Sc. also from the University of Amsterdam.