NWO has awarded senior researcher Jean-Louis van Gelder a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros for his ‘future selves’-project. The grant enables him to develop his own innovative line of research and set up his own research group. Individual Vidi grants enable researchers to do research for five years. NWO awards Vidi grants every year.
Crime and Time: How short-term mindsets encourage crime and how the future self can prevent it
Delinquents are generally shortsighted and fail to consider the long-term consequences of their behaviour. This research programme develops and tests a new theory explaining this shortsightedness by integrating sociogenic and individual perspectives on crime. It uses virtual reality and a smartphone-application to instill a future-oriented mindset and reduce delinquent involvement.
Jean-Louis van Gelder: 'Why are some people more likely to commit crime than others? Answers to this question, which is at the heart of criminology, can be grouped into two broad views. On the one hand, dispositional perspectives argue that stable factors within the individual, such as lack of self-control, lie at the roots of criminal conduct. Sociogenic perspectives, on the other hand, put the locus of study outside the individual and point towards factors such as rough neighbourhoods, parental unemployment, and deviant peers, as the main causes of crime. In spite of ample empirical support for both views, there has been relatively little constructive engagement with each other. Capitalising on my multidisciplinary background and drawing on social psychology and evolutionary theory, I outline a new perspective on criminal behaviour –Time Frame Theory (TFT)– that integrates both views. TFT is premised on the idea that short-term mindsets encourage crime and specifies how both individual dispositions and sociogenic variables can encourage such mindsets. I test this theory using a combination of longitudinal research and behavioural field experiments. Besides mending the current theoretical disconnect in criminology and providing the basis for a common paradigm, the proposed research programme goes a step further by using TFT as the basis for a behavioural intervention to reduce crime. Building on recent pilot research, I use state-of-the-art virtual reality technology in combination with a smartphone application to instill a future-oriented mindset in offenders. I am convinced that this combination of novel theory and innovative methodology can lead not only to a breakthrough in our understanding of delinquency but can also provide a blueprint for a scalable and evidence-based intervention to reduce it.'
NWO Talent Scheme
Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Scheme. Researchers in the NWO Talent Scheme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.