==== This website is about the proximal causes of human =============
======= behaviour. ==================================================
>>=== Why do people do what they do? ================================

This website is about the proximal causes of human behaviour.


Why do people do what they do?

About me

I am a psychologist interested in human motivation and performance. My name is Erik Bijleveld. I am an Assistant Professor at the Behavioural Science Institute at Radboud University. I joined Radboud University in 2014. Before that, I did my BSc and MSc at Leiden University and my PhD at Utrecht University.


may2019 New papers by my (former) students. (A) Dorottya Rusz wrote two papers about whether & when reward cues distract people. Results were not so consistent. We are now finishing our large meta-analysis on this topic. Dorottya is now a post-doc at the University of Glasgow. (B) With two pupillometry experiments, Johannes Algermissen examined the physiology of labor vs. leisure decisions. Johannes is now a PhD student at the Donders Centre for Cognition, Radboud University.

Other news. With Arne Meeldijk and Timo Verlaat, I got a new grant from CCV (Center for Criminality Prevention and Safety; Dutch Government) to study whether & when financial sanctions are an effective means to motivate recently unemployed people to try to resume work.

Main Research Questions

  1. What are the origins of good and poor cognitive performance?
    • Some psychologists, economists, neuroscientists, and managers believe that incentives increase people's performance.
    • Other psychologists, economists, neuroscientists, and managers believe that the use of incentives is tricky (e.g., because incentives cause choking under pressure).
      • Can these opposing schools of thought be reconciled? (Funded by Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Veni)
  2. How does mental labour affect the mind? Where do feelings of effort and fatigue come from?
  3. When does mental content distract people from their current activities?


== Edited volume

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

== Journal articles and book chapters

2019/in press
Algermissen, J., Bijleveld, E., Jostmann, N.B., & Holland, R.W. (in press). Explore or reset? Pupil diameter transiently increases in self-chosen switches between cognitive labor and leisure in either direction. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience. link

Bijleveld, E., Schäfer, L, & Rusz, D. (in press). Psychology of money. In: D. Dunn, M. Appelbaum, N. Weidman (Eds.), Oxford Bibliographies.

Rusz, D., Bijleveld, E., & Kompier, M. (2019). Do reward-related distractors impair cognitive performance? Perhaps not. Collabra: Psychology, 5, 10. link

Bijleveld, E. (2018). The feeling of effort during mental activity. Consciousness and Cognition, 63, 218-227. pdf

Rusz, D., Bijleveld, E., & Kompier, M. A. (2018). Reward-associated distractors can harm cognitive performance. PLoS ONE, 13, e0205091. link

Rusz, D., Bijleveld, E., & Kompier, M. (2018). Striving for solid science: Preregistration and direct replication in experimental psychology. SAGE Research Methods Cases, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pdf

Bijleveld, E., & Knufinke, M. (2018). Exposure to bright light biases effort-based decisions. Behavioral Neuroscience, 132, 183-193. pdf

Stoeckart, P.F., Strick, M., Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (2018). The implicit power motive predicts decisions in line with perceived instrumentality. Motivation and Emotion, 42, 309-320. pdf

Bijleveld, E. (2018). Money. In: M.H. Bornstein (Ed.), The SAGE Encyclopedia of Lifespan Human Development. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. pdf

van de Groep, I.H., de Haas, L.M., Schutte, I., & Bijleveld, E. (2017). Spontaneous eye blink rate (EBR) predicts poor performance in high-stakes situations. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 119, 50-57. pdf

Bijleveld, E., & Baalbergen, J. (2017). Prenatal exposure to testosterone (2D:4D) and social hierarchy together predict voice behavior in bankers. PLoS ONE, 12, e0180008. link

Stoeckart, P.F., Strick, M., Bijleveld, E., & Aarts, H. (2017). The implicit power motive predicts action selection. Psychological Research, 81, 560-570. link

Boere, J.J., Fellinger, L., Huizinga, D.J.H., Wong, S.F. & Bijleveld, E. (2016). Performance pressure and caffeine both affect cognitive performance, but likely through independent mechanisms. Brain and Cognition, 102, 26-32. 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. pdf

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.

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

2011 and before
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


Here's a picture of me:

Erik 2019


== E-mail address


== Mail address

Erik Bijleveld
Radboud University
Behavioural Science Institute
P.O. Box 9104
6500HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands

== Visiting address