Utrecht Groups & Identity  Lab

Ruth van Veelen

My name is Ruth van Veelen and I am a post doc at the Social- Health and Organizational Psychology department of Utrecht University. In my research I am interested in how people identify with groups, how group identification develops over time, and how people integrate potentially contradicting group identities (i.e., being a woman vs. having a successful career) into the self-concept. I obtained my Research Master (2008; cum laude) and Ph.D. (2013; cum laude) at the University of Groningen. My Ph.D dissertation is entitled "Integrating I and We: Cognitive Routes to Social Identification". In 2012, I was visiting researcher at the University of Padova. From 2013 to 2016, I worked as an assistant professor at the University of Twente in the field of Human Resource Development. In Twente I was awarded a grant (TechYourFuture) to conduct applied research about the professional identity development of STEM students during their school-work transition. Since 2016 I collaborate with Prof. Dr. Belle Derks on the VIDI project entitled: "The Queen-Bee-Phenomenon: How men and women maintain gender inequality in the workplace”.

Francesca Manzi Cembrano

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Groups & Identity Lab. I completed my doctoral studies in Social Psychology at New York University with a focus on stereotypes, gender, and bias under the primary supervision of Madeline Heilman. The main goal of my research is to shed light on the subtle ways in which gender bias is expressed in modern society. Using both experimental and field methods, I seek to understand the psychological underpinnings of these new, more covert manifestations of gender bias, as well as to investigate their downstream implications. In my work, I examine the ways in which gender stereotypes - and the expectations they induce about women and men’s characteristics, behaviors, and abilities - affect evaluations and decision making. I look forward to further developing this work at  Utrecht University.

Reine van der Wal

As of January 2015, I work as an Assistant Professor at the Social, Organizational, and Health Psychology department of Utrecht University. I take a broad interest in a wide range of psychological topics, but my key interests concern relationship functioning. I am fascinated by the ways people protect and maintain valuable relationships in times of conflict. During my PhD at Radboud University, I initiated research on children’s forgiveness. I have continued this line of work on a project called “Parental socialization of forgiveness”. After my PhD, I developed the following research lines: I examine how we can help children to deal with parental divorce in collaboration with Prof. Catrin Finkenauer (Utrecht University) and Villa Pinedo (online platform for children of divorced parents, villapinedo.nl). Additionally, I examine forgiveness processes in the work place in collaboration with my PhD-student Wenrui Cao and collaborator Prof. Toon Taris (Utrecht University). Together with Prof. Dr. Belle Derks, I work on a research line exploring the interplay between gender roles, gender stereotypes, and romantic relationship functioning, in particular in the context of divorce.

Wiebren Jansen

Wiebren Jansen is an Assistant Professor at the Social and Organizational Psychology department. In his research he studies the antecedents and consequences of social inclusion in demographically diverse work teams and organizations. He hereby specifically focuses on how organizational diversity policies shape individuals’ perceptions of inclusion and affect their well-being and performance. 

Melissa Vink

My name is Melissa Vink and I obtained my research master degree at Leiden University where I studied Social and Organizational Psychology. Currently, I am a PhD-candidate at this lab. In collaboration with Belle Derks, Naomi Ellemers and Tanja van der Lippe, we investigate how men and women can cooperate sustainably at the workplace and at home. More specifically, we investigate how relationship dynamics (e.g., less-traditional couples with female breadwinners) affect relational outcomes, such as relationship satisfaction and insecurity, and work-related outcomes, such as work engagement and career ambition. We are interested to investigate these processes by taking both psychological and sociological perspectives and by using a multimethod approach. Further, we plan to conduct field studies so that we can investigate and advise people how they actually can cooperate sustainably.

Ilona Domen

I am a PhD-candidate of Prof. Dr. Belle Derks at the department Social, Health, and Organizational Psychology at Utrecht University. My co-promotors are Dr. Ruth van Veelen (Utrecht University) and Dr. Daan Scheepers (Leiden University). I studied at Leiden University where I did the master Social and Organizational Psychology, as well as the master Methods and Statistics in Psychology. For the first, I wrote my thesis and did my internship with Belle on the effects of social identification and social identity threat on early social categorization measured with neurological (EEG, ERP) measures.


My research now focuses on gender inequality at the workplace and on the role women and men play in maintaining this. Social identity and social identity threat play an important role herein. 

I conduct experimental research and focus on the psychological (motivational) as well as on the more unconscious, physiological (cardiovascular reactivity) and neurological (EEG,ERP) effects.  

Edona Maloku

​I am Edona Maloku Bërdyna and I am a PhD-candidate in social psychology at Leiden University, where I collaborate with Prof. Dr. Belle Derks (Utrecht University), Prof. Dr. Colette Van Laar (Leuven University) and Prof. Dr. Naomi Ellemers (Utrecht University). My research focuses on the process of building the national identity in Kosovo’s new state. Specifically, I examine how this identity is negotiated among ethnic groups (Albanian majority and Serb minority) and how the process affects intergroup relations.


I am a lecturer at the American University in Kosovo, where I teach Introduction to Psychology. My main research interests are: self/social identity, intergroup relations and group dynamics, with special focus given to post-conflict societies. 

Larisa Riedijk

Since September 2018, I am a PhD-candidate at the Social, Health & Organizational Psychology department of Utrecht University, and proud to be part of the labgroup of prof. dr. Belle Derks. I am intrigued by aspects of life that seem incompatible, but actually are complementary. For my master's thesis, prof. dr. Esther Kluwer and I examined the positive combination of autonomy and relatedness within romantic relationships. Within my PhD-project, we examine how men and women who are transitioning into parenthood divide paid work, childcare and household tasks and how traditional gender attitudes influence this process. How can we combine the time-consuming, perhaps even contradicting roles of being a parent and being a working professional in a more egalitarian way? And is that more satisfactory as well? We will look at influences on institutional (i.e. societal norms, policies), relational (i.e. negotiation dynamics) and intrapersonal (i.e. identity development) levels. This project has an interdisciplinary approach, where we aim to integrate psychological, sociological and philosophical perspectives. Therefore my promotors come from different disciplines: prof. dr. Belle Derks and my daily promotor dr. Ruth van Veelen (UU, Social Psychology), prof. dr. Pearl Dykstra (EUR, Sociology) and prof. dr. Pauline Kleingeld (RUG, Philosophy).

Isabella Klaassens


Dominique Rijshouwer

I have been prof. dr. Derks' student-assistant since September 2019. I am in charge of planning meetings, organizing events and supporting the labgroup with whatever they need. I'm also a Social and Health psychology (research) master's student and am pursuing my dream to become a social psychological researcher.

My main objectives are:
1) Fighting social inequality,
2) Improving mental health awareness and reducing stigma in and outside academia,
3) Contributing to improving the current system regarding methods, rewards, transparency and ethics,
4) Bridging the overall gap between science and society.


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