Visiting address:

Radboud University
Behavioural Science Institute
Work, Health and Performance Group
Office 8.34
Montessorilaan 3
6525 HR Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Postal address:

Radboud University
Behavioural Science Institute
Work, Health and Performance Group
P.O. Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands


Some news/highlights


Is it ok to drink two cups of coffee when you're under high pressure to perform well? We think you will be fine.


I am excited to report that I have been awarded a Veni grant from NWO (the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research). My project is titled 'When it matters most: The impact of incentives on human performance', and I will start working on it in January 2016.


With Henk Aarts, I edited a book called 'The Psychological Science of Money'. It came out last summer. I really like the end result, thanks to the hard work by all of our great contributors. It is available from Springer and Amazon and Bol.


Presently, I am working on several research projects. Feel free to contact me for more information about any of these.

  • My main line of research is concerned with understanding the origins of good and bad human performance. Specifically, the idea that people perform their best when valuable outcomes can be attained is deeply engrained in society. For example, companies widely use performance-contingent incentives ( “bonuses”) to entice their employees to perform well. Also, many schools and parents incentivize kids’ school performance. While science (from behavioural neuroscience to work psychology) largely supports the prediction that rewards improve performance, this idea is also somewhat controversial. One reason for this controversy is that valuable incentives have often been found to hurt, not help, people’s performance. I address this broad theme from a neurobiological angle (e.g., examining the efficiency of cortical networks; studying the role of the neuromodulator dopamine). At the same time, I make use of data about real-life performance (outside the laboratory, e.g., from sports matches or from exams) as much as I can. On this line of research, I collaborate with several colleagues. Also, several of my students are working on this topic.
  • I am very interested in the unconscious and conscious effects of monetary rewards. Most recently, I have conducted an fMRI study of how rewards are processed (with vs. without conscious awareness) in reward areas (such as the ventral striatum) of the brain. On this project, I work with Matthijs Vink, Ruud Custers, Claire Zedelius, Harm Veling, and Henk Aarts.
  • I am increasingly interested in the nature of the subjective experience of mental effort (e.g., how this experience is related to the sympathetic vs. parasympathetic activity, e.g., as assessed with pupillometry).
  • In another project, I try to predict human performance during high-profile sports tournaments from Twitter activity. In this project, I aim to bridge psychological theory (e.g., about social facilitation) with current methods from computer science (e.g., doing automatized content analysis on Twitter messages).


I grew up near the North Sea coast of the Netherlands. After graduating high school, I went to Leiden University. Here, I became fascinated with the scientific study of human behavior. Supervised by Etty Jehn and Manuela Barreto, my undergraduate thesis (2005) addressed how problem solving performance is affected by organizational conflict. Supervised by Daan Scheepers and Naomi Ellemers, my master's thesis (2007) dealt with the biological correlates of out-group prejudice. Then I moved to Utrecht University for my PhD. Supervised by Ruud Custers and Henk Aarts, my doctoral dissertation (2012, summary here) dealt with the unconscious and conscious processes that shape performance when people are in pursuit of monetary rewards. Currently, I work as an Assistant Professor at the Behavioural Science Institute (Work, Health and Performance research group) at Radboud University.

This is a picture of me:

You can download my CV here.


Edited volume

Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (Eds.). (2014). The psychological science of money. New York: Springer. link

International journal articles and book chapters

van de Groep, I.H., de Haas, L.M., Schutte, I., & Bijleveld, E. (in press). Spontaneous eye blink rate (EBR) predicts poor performance in high-stakes situations. International Journal of Psychophysiology.

Bijleveld, E. (in press). Money. In: The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Stoeckart, P.F., Strick, M., Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (in press). The implicit power motive predicts action selection. Psychological Research. link

Boere, J.J., Fellinger, L., Huizinga, D.J.H., Wong, S.F. & Bijleveld, E. (in press). Performance pressure and caffeine both affect cognitive performance, but likely through independent mechanisms. Brain and Cognition. pdf

Veling, H., & Bijleveld, E. (2015). When performance and risk taking are related: Working for rewards is related to risk taking when the value of rewards is presented briefly. Brain and Cognition, 101, 44-50. link

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., Van der Stigchel, S., Aarts, H., Pas, P., & Vink, M. (2014). Distinct neural responses to conscious vs. unconscious monetary reward cues. Human Brain Mapping, 35, 5578-5586. link

Bijleveld, E., & Veling. H. (2014). Separating chokers from non-chokers: Predicting real-life tennis performance under pressure from behavioral tasks that tap into working memory functioning. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 36, 347-356. pdf

Pas, P., Custers, R., Bijleveld, E., & Vink, M. (2014). Effort responses to reward cues are related to striatal dopaminergic functioning. Motivation and Emotion, 38, 759-770. pdf

Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (2014). A psychological perspective on money. In E. Bijleveld and H. Aarts (Eds.), The psychological science of money (pp. 3-20). New York: Springer. link

Zedelius, C.M., Veling, H., Custers, R., Bijleveld, E., Chiew, K.S., & Aarts, H. (2014). A new perspective on human reward research: How consciously and unconsciously perceived reward information influences performance. Cognitive, Affective, and Behaviorial Neuroscience, 14, 493-508. pdf

Vink, M., Pas, P., Bijleveld, E., Custers, R. & Gladwin, T. (2013). Ventral striatum is related to within-subject learning performance. Neuroscience, 250, 408-416. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2012). Human reward pursuit: From rudimentary to higher-level functions. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21, 194-199. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Scheepers, D., & Ellemers, N. (2012). The cortisol response to anticipated intergroup interactions predicts self-reported prejudice. PLoS ONE, 7, e33681. link

Zedelius, C.M., Veling, H., Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (2012). Promising high monetary rewards for future task performance increases intermediate task performance. PloS ONE, 7, e42547. link

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2012). Adaptive reward pursuit: How effort requirements modulate unconscious reward responses and conscious reward decisions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 728-742. pdf

Aarts, H., Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., Dogge, M., Deelder, M., Schutter, D., & van Haren, N.E.M. (2012). Positive priming and intentional binding: Eye blink rate predicts reward information effects on the sense of agency. Social Neuroscience, 7, 105-112. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2011). Once the money is in sight: Distinctive effects of conscious and unconscious rewards on task performance. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 865-869. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2011). When favourites fail: Tournament trophies as reward cues in tennis finals. Journal of Sports Sciences, 29, 1463-1470. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2010). Unconscious reward cues increase invested effort, but do not change speed-accuracy tradeoffs. Cognition, 115, 330-335. pdf

Bijleveld, E., Custers, R., & Aarts, H. (2009). The unconscious eye opener: Pupil dilation reveals strategic recruitment of resources upon presentation of subliminal reward cues. Psychological Science, 20, 1313-1315. pdf

Working papers

Bijleveld, E. (in preparation). Online social network activity predicts facilitation of high-stakes human performance.

Bijleveld, E., & Mattarella-Micke, M. (in preparation). The overdosing hypothesis of high-stakes performance.

Baalbergen, J., & Bijleveld, E. (submitted). Prenatal testosterone (2D:4D) predicts voice behavior in bankers.

Balk, Y.A., De Vilder, L., & Bijleveld, E. (submitted). Mapping elite athletes' experiences during high-stakes competitive events.

Popular science (in Dutch)

De Theije, V., & Bijleveld, E. (December 2013). De psychologie van de strafschop. In-mind magazine NL. link

Bijleveld, E. (December 2013). Op de toppen van je kunnen. Studium Generale Magazine, Utrecht University. link