Bigum’s Research and Education Journey

Bigum’s Research and Education Journey

Psychology has always been my passion, I liked to read self-help books since I was 15. I was not a good student until I started university. In general, I had a lot of attention issues which made it very hard to perform at the exams. I often got grades that would label me as a loser. I had a challenging childhood, and we had to move to another city every two years because of his soldier duties. This made it harder for me to adapt to a new environment and concentrate on school. I have already figured out that I am better at verbal topics like language, literature, history, and psychology. In high school, we had a psychology course. Despite being a bad student, I loved the psychology course so much, studied every topic in the book, and scored 100 in the exam. That experience helped me to identify my passion.

Bachelors (2005 – 2009)

I enrolled in a psychology program at Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey. In the curriculum, we had a wide variety of topics ranging from social psychology, cognitive psychology, statistics, and research methods. The education language is in English, and all the course books were recently published in our time. Our psychology program was very much research-oriented, and we were obliged to have a final research project to graduate. So, I met with the thesis concept in my bachelor’s.

My bachelor thesis project was called “Perceptual Size and Spatial Frequency Differences Due to Misleading Information from Size and Distance in 3D Context”. The project was in the field of psychophysics aimed to investigate how context influences the perception of optical illusions. I did my project in National Magnetic Resonance Research Center (UMRAM) and was supervised by Prof. Dr. Huseyin Boyaci, the associate director of UMRAM and a professor at the Department of Psychology.

After graduation, I continued to work as a research assistant in UMRAM (2009-2011) and research on optical illusions. During this time, we have produced two conference proceedings from our research. Both projects were presented at European Conference on Visual Perception (ECVP).

Bachelor’s Years – Bilkent University

Masters (2010 – 2013)

I enrolled in a Master’s Program in the Department of Cognitive Science of Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey. The program has a rich curriculum that we took courses in linguistics, time Perception, neuroscience, and statistics. We had various research project assignments in the courses we took, and I produced three conference proceedings from those assignments in international conferences across Europe. I did the final graduation project in the field of psycholinguistics. The project is titled “Adapting and Testing Psycholinguistic Toolboxes for Turkish Visual Word Recognition Studies”. We developed and validated tools to help Turkish psycholinguistic researchers to evaluate the linguistic value of words and generate pseudowords for their research. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Cem Bozsahin and Prof. Dr. Deniz Zeyrek.

Master’s Years – Middle East Technical University (METU)

PDEng (2013-2015)

Professional Doctorate in Engineering is an applied salaried master program oriented toward technological design. 4TU Federation in the Netherlands offers PDEng. These programs offer traineeships in universities that are combined with industry experience. In the first year, the trainee is educated in the university with applied projects. In the second year, they carry out a final graduation project in a company as an intern.

I was accepted for the PDEng program called “User System Interaction” in the faculty of Industrial Design. In this program, we carried out in-house projects in multi-disciplinary groups of psychologists, designers, and engineers. Most of our projects were oriented toward products or services that are designed with paying attention to user experience. We also did projects for companies such as Philips.

In the second year, I did my final project in EIT Digital, in a start-up project called Fitness to Perform (F2P). In the start-up, we were working on a web application to assist drivers on the road, to inform them about healthy lifestyle advice like nutrition, food, and sleep. My contribution to the project was to research user needs, and acceptance to derive value proposition canvas and user personas. The final design case report is titled “Fitness to Perform: User Needs and Acceptance”.

PhD (2015-2022 (Expected))

The Ph.D. is part of the IMPULS program, which is research combined with companies in brainport. The program that I am enrolled in is a collaboration between Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e), department of Industrial Design, Philips, and Kempenhaeghe Sleep Medicine Research Center. There were many stakeholders in the collaboration across many institutions. My project is titled “Designing for Adherence to Digital Sleep Behavioral Change Interventions”. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most effective behavioral intervention for Insomnia. As a first step, we have searched the available CBT-I apps in the field. Then we have pursued a research-based design to derive each function and layout of the app. Finally, we gathered all the features in a fully-functional app and carried out an online study.

PhD and PDEng Years – Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e)

The Ph.D. gave me many opportunities to gain work experience in various aspects. I worked with Philips, joined privacy training within the company, applied their ethical review procedures to launch my research. I coached final projects of master’s, bachelor level students and worked with intern students in Philips.

Finally, we gathered all the features in a fully-functional app and carried out an online study. We have produced four conference articles and a journal article from this project. Currently the thesis is accepted by the committee and several editions are suggested. The project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Loe Feijs, Prof. Dr. Sebastiaan Overeem and Dr. Jun Hu.


I started working in May 2020 as a project manager in MTSR Zorg, a private clinic that is oriented to provide mental health and physical therapy services. I am involved in managing healthcare and technology-oriented projects.

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