Alicia Nortje

Alicia Nortje, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Alicia Nortje, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

linkedin Alicia NortjeAlicia is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cape Town. As a research fellow, she is currently working on a project to determine the predictive utility of eyewitness statements, that is, analyzing eyewitness testimony using natural language processing techniques to determine whether we can predict how those same eyewitnesses will perform when viewing identification parades (e.g., Will they choose someone? Will they choose the suspect? Will they reject the parade?). In her spare time, she consults for a local research consultancy as a data analyst and research specialist.

As a postgraduate student, she worked as a research assistant and collaborated on multiple international projects. Through this type of work, she gained a lot of experience in research design, designing research materials, collecting data, analyzing data, and writing up the studies for publication. Alicia also has lectured on numerous undergraduate and postgraduate courses: She lectured statistics (undergraduate to Masters-level), research design, face recognition, eyewitness memory (undergraduate and Honors-level), and artificial neural networks. She has also run short workshops on programming experiments in E-Prime, and a starter course on programming in R.

She served on the committee for Division 10, Psychology and Law, of the International Association of Applied Psychology (IAAP) from 2014-2016. Her role was Communications Secretary. Furthermore, she was the South African representative for the European Association of Psychology and Law, Student Society (EAPL-S) from 2014 – 2018.


Education & Degrees

Ph.D. in Psychology — University of Cape Town (UCT) South Africa
MA in Psychological Research — University of Cape Town (UCT) South Africa
Honors degree in Psychology — University of Cape Town (UCT) South Africa
BA degree — University of South Africa (UNISA)


First- and Second-Author Publications

  • Nortje, A. Tredoux, C.G., & Vredeveldt, A. (2017). How many faces can we remember? Why this matters when assessing eyewitnesses. In M. Bindemann & A. Megreya (Eds.), Face Processing: Systems, Disorders, and Cultural Disorders. New York: NOVA Science Publishers.
  • Nortje, A. & Tredoux, C. G. (2019). How good are we at detecting deception? A review of current techniques and theories. South Africa Journal of Psychology.

She also runs a blog – Searching for Significance.


Why You Can Trust Alicia’s Writing

You should read and trust Alicia’s writing because she is well trained in critical thinking and likes to go back to the data. Her goal is to deliver research findings using everyday language and to encourage readers to question their thinking and beliefs. She tries to implement this counterfactual thinking strategy in everyday life so that she can continue to challenge herself and hone her arguments and beliefs.


A Personal Message From Alicia

My goal is to tackle my work with passion, curiosity, and a sense of calm. As a lecturer and supervisor, I have always encouraged my students to enjoy and to be interested in their work. Being passionate and curious is very fruitful in the long run, and it’s contagious: If you’re passionate about your work, then your coworkers will feel passionate too! I also believe that passion leads to pride in one’s work, and the quality of work will improve.

Besides the attitudes listed above, I also strive towards the following three ideals: Reproducible research, counterfactual thinking, and sharing of knowledge. I think that knowledge and techniques should be shared, and we should continuously challenge our thinking, ideas, and behavior in an attempt to better understand why we do, think, and feel the way we do.

– Alicia Nortje

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