Assistant professor

Jellie Sierksma

Assistant professor



Jellie Sierksma is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Experimental and Applied Psychology at the VU Amsterdam. Her research focuses on children’s prosocial behavior and the development of prejudice, stereotypes and discrimination. She studies these topics taking an interdisciplinary approach, combining insights from developmental, social, and educational psychology and by using experimental- and survey-methods.

Jellie obtained her Master degree in social psychology in 2010 (UVA; cum laude) and a PhD in social development in 2015 (University of Utrecht). She then obtained a grant to work as a post-doc at the Radboud University Nijmegen for 2 years, followed by a 2-year Rubicon-fellowship at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the USA. In 2019 she was awarded a Veni-grant by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Research interests

Social development, prejudice, stereotypes, discrimination, prosocial behavior, moral development, intergroup relations, social cognition


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Recent publications

J Sierksma & K Shutts (2019) When helping hurts: Children think groups that receive help are less smart. Child Development
J Sierksma, M Spaltman & TAM Lansu (2019) Children tell more prosocial lies in favor of in-group than out-group peers. Developmental Psychology
J Sierksma (2018) Costs of helping only influence children’s intention to help ethnic out-group peers. Journal of experimental child psychology 173, 85-99
J Sierksma (2018) Over wanneer en waarom kinderen helpen: De rol van de groepscontext en zelfpresentatie.. Kind en Adolescent
J Sierksma, TAM Lansu, JC Karremans & G Bijlstra (2018) Children’s helping behavior in an ethnic intergroup context: Evidence for outgroup helping.. Developmental psychology 54 (5), 916
J Sierksma & G Bijlstra (2018) Majority group children expect that ethnic out-group peers feel fewer positive but more negative emotions than in-group peers. Cognition and Emotion
J Sierksma & J Thijs (2017) Intergroup helping: How do children see it?. Intergroup helping, 65-85
J Sierksma (2016) Een helpende hand? De rol van discriminatie bij het hulpgedrag van kinderen. In-Mind magazine 4
M Verkuyten, J Sierksma & B Martinovic (2015) First arrival and collective land ownership: How children reason about who owns the land. Social Development 24 (4), 868-882
M Verkuyten, J Sierksma & J Thijs (2015) First arrival and owning the land: How children reason about ownership of territory. Journal of Environmental Psychology 41, 58-64
J Sierksma, J Thijs & M Verkuyten (2015) In‐group bias in children's intention to help can be overpowered by inducing empathy. British Journal of Developmental Psychology 33 (1), 45-56
J Sierksma (2015) Discriminatie in helpen: Hoe denken kinderen erover?. De Cascade 12, 24-25
J Sierksma (2015) Bounded helping: How morality and intergroup relations shape children's reasoning about helping. [Sl: sn]
J Sierksma, J Thijs & M Verkuyten (2014) Ethnic helping and group identity: A study among majority group children. Social Development 23 (4), 803-819
J Sierksma, J Thijs & M Verkuyten (2014) Children’s intergroup helping: The role of empathy and peer group norms. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 126, 369-383
J Sierksma, J Thijs, M Verkuyten & A Komter (2014) Children's reasoning about the refusal to help: The role of need, costs, and social perspective taking. Child Development 85 (3), 1134-1149
J Sierksma, J Thijs & M Verkuyten (2014) With a little help from my friends: Bystander context and children's attitude toward peer helping. The Journal of social psychology 154 (2), 142-154
M Verkuyten, J Thijs & J Sierksma (2014) Majority children's evaluation of acculturation preferences of immigrant and emigrant peers. Child Development 85 (1), 176-191

View full list of publications on Google Scholar