PhD Student

Iris van Sintemaartensdijk

PhD Student

E-mail: /
Room: MF-B-555

Research interests

  • Burglary
  • Decision-making
  • Motivation
  • Guardianship
  • Virtual Reality

Description of my PhD project

In my PhD project The Virtual Burglary Project, under supervision of Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen, Dr. Mr. Jean-Louis van Gelder and Prof. Dr. Paul van Lange, I focus on the effect of guardianship on decision-making in burglars. Guardianship is the presence (either symbolic or physical) of an individual or group of individuals that could potentially deter a criminal event (intentionally or unintentionally). Current methods are insufficient to study the effect of guardianship on decision-making in burglars. Via virtual reality (VR), we can measure the influence of these factors by directly observing target selection and behavior in the virtual environment. In a custom-made virtual neighborhood, actual incarcerated burglars are exposed to several measures of guardianship such as signs or behavior shown by virtual avatars. Our research will hopefully give new input to scientific knowledge on (burglar) decision-making, the use of virtual reality in scientific research and contribute to better practice in burglary prevention.

The PhD project is a joint project of the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR) and the VU.


In 2013 I obtained by bachelor’s in psychology at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Throughout the years I became fascinated with social psychology. In 2015 I completed the Research Master Social Psychology (cum laude) at the same university. During this time, I worked as a research assistant for dr. Francesca Righetti on the Spring Relationship Study and completed an internship on the Virtual Burglary Project at the NSCR under supervision of Dr. Mr. Jean-Louis van Gelder and dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen. After my graduation I continued to work at the NSCR as a research assistant and also worked as a teacher at the VU. In May 2016 I started my PhD project at both the NSCR and VU.


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Recent publications

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