PhD Student

Iris van Sintemaartensdijk

PhD Student

E-mail: /
Phone: +31 20 59 89897
Room: MF-B-555

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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 Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement under supervision of Prof. 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 later junior researcher, while also working as a teacher at the VU. In May 2016 I started my PhD project.

PhD project

In my PhD project “The Virtual Burglary Project”, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Mr. Jean-Louis van Gelder, Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen, and Prof. Dr. Paul van Lange, I focus on using virtual reality to assess the effect of guardianship on 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 and deterrence 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 University of Twente and the VU and is funded by the Ministry of Justice and Politie en Wetenschap.

Research interests

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


Google Scholar

Recent publications

I Van Sintemaartensdijk, JL Van Gelder, JW Van Prooijen, C Nee, M Otte & ... (2020) Mere presence of informal guardians deters burglars: a virtual reality study. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 1-20
I van Sintemaartensdijk & F Righetti (2019) Who does most of the work? High self‐control individuals compensate for low self‐control partners. Journal of Theoretical Social Psychology 3 (4), 209-215
JL Van Gelder, RE De Vries, A Demetriou, I Van Sintemaartensdijk & ... (2019) The virtual reality scenario method: moving from imagination to immersion in criminal decision-making research. Journal of research in crime and delinquency 56 (3), 451-480
I Van Sintemaartensdijk, JL Van Gelder, PAM Van Lange, M Otte & ... (2019) Virtual reality als onderzoeksmethode om inbrekers te doorgronden. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
JL Van Gelder, C Nee, M Otte, A Demetriou, I Van Sintemaartensdijk & ... (2017) Virtual burglary: Exploring the potential of virtual reality to study burglary in action. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 54 (1), 29-62

View full list of publications on Google Scholar