Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen


This website is designed to inform you about the research, teaching, and other academic activities of Dr. Jan-Willem van Prooijen. He currently works as an Associate Professor at the department of Social and Organizational Psychology of VU Amsterdam, and as a Senior Researcher at the Netherlands Institute for the Study of Crime and Law Enforcement (NSCR). The main overarching theme of his research concerns injustice, conspiracy beliefs, and ideology. Research topics include (for instance) the psychology of punishment, responses to crime victims, corruption, belief in conspiracy theories, and political extremism. More details on Dr. van Prooijen’s research on these issues can be found under “research”. Dr. van Prooijen published his research findings in journals such as Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, and Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, and presented his research at many international conferences around the world. He received research funding from various sources, and was in 2006 awarded the Early Career Contribution Award by the International Society for Justice Research (ISJR). He is currently Associate Editor for Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, has been Associate Editor for European Journal of Social Psychology and Social Justice Research, and has been on the Editorial Board of various prestigious journals, including JPSP-IRGP and Psychological Science. Since July 2016, he is president of ISJR.

What’s new?

New Books:

1. Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2018). The moral punishment instinct. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

For an overview of contents click HERE

2. Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2018). The psychology of conspiracy theories. Oxon, UK: Routledge. 

For an overview of contents click HERE

Recent publications:

Van Prooijen, J.-W. (in press). Populism as political mentality underlying conspiracy theories. Chapter to appear in B. Rutjens and M. Brandt (Eds.), Belief systems and the perception of reality. Oxon, UK: Routledge.

Van Prooijen, J.-W. (in press). Moral demands truly are externally imposed. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

Van Prooijen, J.-W., Krouwel, A. P. M., & Emmer, J. (in press). Ideological responses to the EU refugee crisis: The left, the right, and the extremes. Social Psychological and Personality Science.  Abstract

Van Prooijen, J.-W., Douglas, K., & De Inocencio, C. (in press). Connecting the dots: Illusory pattern perception predicts belief in conspiracies and the supernatural. European Journal of Social Psychology.  Abstract

Van Gelder, J.-L., Martin, C., Van Prooijen, J.-W., De Vries, R., Marsman, M., Averdijk, M., Reynald, D., & Donker, T. (in press). Seeing is believing? Comparing negative affect, realism, and presence in visual versus written guardianship scenarios. Deviant Behavior.   

Ståhl, T. & Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2018). Epistemic rationality: Skepticism toward unfounded beliefs requires sufficient cognitive ability and motivation to be rational. Personality and Individual Differences, 122, 155-163.

Krouwel, A., Kutiyski, Y., Van Prooijen, J.-W., Martinsson, J., & Markstedt, E. (2017). Does extreme political ideology predict conspiracy beliefs, economic evaluations and political trust? Evidence from Sweden. Journal of Social and Political Psychology, 5, 435-462read the article HERE (open access)

Ljujic, V., Van Prooijen, J.-W., & Weerman, F. (2017). Beyond the crime-terror nexus: Socio-economic status, violent crimes, and terrorism. Journal of Criminological Research, Policy, and Practice, 3, 158-172.

Strelan, P., Difiore, C., & Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2017). The empowering effect of punishment on forgiveness. European Journal of Social Psychology, 47, 472-487.

Van Prooijen, J.-W., & Douglas, K. M. (2017). Conspiracy theories as part of history: The role of societal crisis situations. Memory Studies, 10, 323-333.  Abstract

Van Prooijen, J.-W., & Krouwel, A. P. M. (2017). Extreme political beliefs predict dogmatic intolerance. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 8, 292-300Abstract

Köbis, N., Van Prooijen, J.-W., Righetti, F., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2017). The road to bribery and corruption: Slippery slope or steep cliff? Psychological Science, 28, 297-306. Abstract

Van Gelder, J.-L., Nee, C., Otte, M., Demetriou, A., Sintemaartensdijk, I., & Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2017). Virtual burglary: Exploring the potential of virtual reality to study burglary in action. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 54, 29-62.

Van Prooijen, J.-W. (2017). Why education predicts decreased belief in conspiracy theories. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 31, 50-58.   Abstract    Read the article HERE (open access) 

Tan, X., Van Prooijen, J.-W., Proulx, T., Wu, H., Van Beest, I., & Van Lange, P. A. M. (2017). Reacting to unexpected losses in an uncertain world: High approach individuals become even more risk-seeking. Personality and Individual Differences, 109, 117-123.


Other news from Dr. van Prooijen's research group:

- Together with Prof. Christianne de Poot and Prof. Jan de Keijser, Dr. van Prooijen edited a special issue for "Tijdschrift voor Criminologie" about 'Experimenten in de Criminologie' (Experiments in Criminology) (June, 2017).

- Dr. van Prooijen co-presented the BNN reality TV program "dat wordt oorlog!". The program illuminates how to create conflict between two groups, inspired by the Robbers Cave Experiment. The show was  broadcasted on Dutch TV (NPO3) in four episodes, 25 April to 16 May 2017. Please see the trailer HERE. Watch the episodes HERE.

- Together with Dr. Jean-Louis van Gelder, Iris van Sintemaartensdijk, and Prof. van Lange, Dr. van Prooijen was awarded a grant by "Politie en Wetenschap" for a project on burglary behavior in a virtual environment.