José Kerstholt

José Kerstholt

Professor Behavioral Decision Making
José Kerstholt

My research area is human decision making in the context of safety. A main finding in this field is that human decision making skills are far from optimal. Most of our decisions are made intuitively, based on incomplete knowledge, and with limited reflection. Despite these insights however, decision makers themselves are generally quite confident about the accuracy of their decisions.

Research area

In complex environments decisions are often not made individually, but in groups. In dealing with a crisis or in fighting organized crime, for example, several organizations need to make decisions collaboratively. Collaborative decision making is even more complex, as different goals, interests and knowledge need to be taken into account. Even though collaborations have the potential to lead to better decisions, this potential is often underused.

My ambition is to increase our understanding of mechanisms underlying human decision making, to make professionals and citizens more aware of decision biases and to increase accuracy through innovative decision support and technology. I specifically focus on collaboration in fighting organized crime and crisis management and on how decision making is affected by artificial intelligence. As such this ambition concurs with the TNO goal to increase societal safety.

Recent results

  • Good progress was achieved on the topic of trust in Human- Agent Teaming. The first publication appeared in AAMAS and a second one is accepted for the International Journal of Social Robotics.
  • Regarding crisis management the focus was on translating lessons learned of the COVID-19 crisis to new ways of working in dealing with complex and ‘creeping’ crises. I was invited to join an international conference on this topic (‘After the Deluge’, organized by Prof. Arjen Boin) as well as panel discussions at the yearly Resilience Festival in Enschede.
  • Due to spontaneous citizen initiatives such as search parties for missing persons, the police is looking for ways to better collaborate with citizens. PhD student Jerome Lam investigated how often different types of citizen initiatives occurred, how the police interacted with citizens in the ‘Anne Faber’ case, and conducted an experiment to identify psychological drivers for citizen engagement.

PhD supervision

  • Jerome Lam, citizen engagement in the police domain (Twente University and Police Academy)
  • Esther Kox, trust(repair) in human agent teaming (Twente University)

Top publications

  • Kox, E. S., Kerstholt, J. H., Hueting, T. F., & De Vries, P. W. (2021). Trust repair in human-agent teams: the effectiveness of explanations and expressing regret. Autonomous Agents and Multi-Agent Systems, 35(2), 1-20.
  • Kerstholt, J., Duijnhoven, H. & Paton, D. (2017). Flooding in The Netherlands: How people’s interpretation of personal, social and institutional resources influence flooding preparedness. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, 24, 52-57.


Kampweg 55
NL-3769 DE Soesterberg

Postal address

P.O. Box 23
NL-3769 ZG Soesterberg