I obtained my master's degree in theoretical and experimental psychology at Ghent University in 2007. After my studies, I completed my PhD (10/2007 - 09/2011) as a member of the LipLab, under supervision of Geert Crombez and in close collaboration with Jan De Houwer and Bruno Verschuere (now at the University of Amsterdam). Between 10/2011 and 04/2013, I worked as an honorary post-doctoral fellow associated with Ghent University while living in the Republic of South Africa. Upon my return to Belgium, I had a few brief post-doctoral appointments at Ghent University, and on 01/01/2014, I started a four-year appointment at the University of Amsterdam. As a post-doctoral researcher of the research priority area Yield, I work at the departments of developmental psychology and pedagogical and educational sciences. I collaborate closely with Reinout Wiers (ADAPT lab), Susan Bögels (UvA minds), and Elske Salemink.
Most of my past research concerned the relation between attentional bias for threat and fear and anxiety. More specifically, through the use of attentional bias modification (ABM) training, I investigated whether attentional bias for threat is a cause of fear and anxiety. If attentional bias causally influences fear and anxiety, then reducing attentional bias through training should reduce fear and anxiety. Although there are some encouraging findings in this field, my research has also revealed that there are certain limitations to ABM in the context of fear and anxiety. At the University of Amsterdam, I work mainly on the interplay between cognitive bias modification and emotion regulation (focussing on reappraisal and distraction), both in adolescents and young adults, in collaboration with Lies Notebaert and Colin MacLeod (both at the University of Western Australia) and Yair Bar-Haim (Tel Aviv University).
Besides my main focus on cognitive biases and emotion regulation, I have an interest in the psychology of lying and lie detection (in collaboration with Bruno Verschuere), and I have ongoing research collaborations with Helen Tibboel (Erasmus University Rotterdam) on cognitive processes in addiction.