Please see my CV

I am an Assistant Professor in Social and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University and, per January 1st 2017, Professor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Workplace Inclusion at Leiden University. Previous to this, I was an Assistant Professor at Leiden University from 2012 to 2016, and a Post-Doc at Yale University from 2010 to 2012. I received a PhD in Social Psychology from New York University, and M.A. degrees in Psychology (2003) and Cultural Anthropology (2005) from the Free University Amsterdam. My passion for research has taken me across the globe from the Netherlands to the United States, and from Ireland to Vietnam.

Research interests

I am interested in how basic processes of motivation play out at individual, interpersonal, and system (or societal) levels of analysis. My research mainly focuses on the social psychological mechanisms involved in how, why, and when people resist, provide support for, or directly engage in progressive social change. 

I study individuals’ desires to change (vs. maintain) the status quo from a variety of angles, such as (1) the influence of structural factors, (2) the underlying motivational forces, and (3) the consequences for the self and society. In this, I pay specific attention to the insidious ways in which advantaged and disadvantaged group members interactively perpetuate social and economic inequality.

My work is broadly situated in the area of intergroup relations and social justice. In one line of work I demonstrated that feeling powerless can paradoxically lead people to support systems that disadvantage them. When people feel powerless, they are less likely to resist. I have also studied the situational determinants of political ideology; perceiving threat in one's environment or feeling relatively powerless elicits a more conservative orientation, whereas perceiving groups in society as interdependent is associated with liberal mindsets. In another line of work I have looked at how people respond defensively to the moral transgressions of their fellow group members, thwarting constructive reparation, and how this may be overcome. Most of my current work examines societal and organizational diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation with a specific focus on effective strategies for turning diversity into an asset rather than a liability.

In all of my research programs, a strong training in statistics has provided me with sophisticated tools for carrying out and interpreting complex studies of psychological processes.