Belle Derks, PhD

  • Associate Professor
  • Stigma
  • Social identity
  • Stereotype threat
  • EEG
  • ERP

Personal Homepage:​psychology/​organisation/​so/​derks.jsp

Belle Derks received her MA degree in Social and Organizational Psychology in 2001 from Leiden University. From 2002 to 2006 she performed her dissertation research at this university in collaboration with Colette van Laar and Naomi Ellemers. In 2007, she successfully defended her dissertation, in which she examined contextual factors that reduce the experience of social identity threat in stigmatized group members, improving their performance motivation and well-being. She now works at Leiden University as associate professor. Her current research focuses on psychological (motivation, performance) and physiological (cardiovascular reactivity, EEG, ERP) effects of stigma and group-based devaluation. In 2008 she received a NWO Veni grant.


My research (both experimental and field research) focuses on the effects of social identity threat and stigma on the well-being, motivation and performance of members of socially devalued groups (e.g., women, ethnic minorities). I examine how members of stigmatized groups cope with social identity threat, and study how these coping strategies in turn affect their motivation and performance on dimensions that define status in society (e.g., academic achievement, leadership aspirations). I study which factors determine whether women and ethnic minorities aim to improve their group’s outcomes through collective action rather than strive to improve their individual outcomes with individual mobility strategies. An example of this work is my research on the Queen Bee phenomenon, e.g., women who dissociate from other women to get ahead in a masculine organization.  Recently, I've become interested in physiological and neurological reactions to stigma and social identity threat (i.e, cardiovascular reactivity, EEG & ERP, fMRI).


  • Thesis Supervision (Master Program S&O)
  • Tutoraat Academische Vaardigheden (1st year undergraduate)
  • Bachelor Project (3rd year undergraduate)
  • Beoordeling en Beïnvloeding (3rd year undergraduate)



  • Derks, B., Stedehouder, J., & Ito, T.A. (2014). Social identity modifies face perception: An ERP study of social categorization. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu107
  • Van Nunspeet, F., Derks, B., Ellemers, N., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (in press). Moral impression management: Evaluation by an ingroup member during a moral IAT enhances perceptual attention and conflict- and response-monitoring. Social Psychological and Personality Science.
  • Van Nunspeet, F., Ellemers, N., Derks. B., & Nieuwenhuis, S. (in press). Moral concerns increase attention and response monitoring during IAT performance: ERP evidence. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience.
  • Scheepers, D., Derks, B., Nieuwenhuis, S., Lelieveld, G. -J., Van Nunspeet, F., Rombouts, S. A. R. B., & De Rover, M. (2013). The neural correlates of in-group and self-face perception: Is there overlap for high identifiers? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7:528.  
  • Van Laar, C., Derks, B., & Ellemers, N. (2013). Motivation for education and work in young Muslim women: The importance of value for ingroup domains. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 35, 64-74. 
  • Does, S., Derks, B., Ellemers, N., & Scheepers, D. (2012). At the heart of egalitarianism: How morality framing shapes cardiovascular challenge versus threat in whites. Social Psychology and Personality Science, 3, 747-753.
  • Ellemers, N., Rink, F., Derks, B., & Ryan, M. (2012). Women in high places: When and why promoting women into top positions can harm them individually or as a group (and how to prevent this). Research in Organizational Behavior, 12, 163-187.
  • Ståhl, T., Van Laar, C., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2012). Searching for acceptance: Prejudice expectations direct attention towards social acceptance cues when under a promotion focus. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 15, 523-538.
  • Van Dillen, L. F. & Derks, B. (2012). Working memory load reduces facilitated processing of threatening faces: An ERP study. Emotion,12, 1340-1349.
  • Derks, B., Van Laar, C., Ellemers, N., & De Groot, K. (2011). Gender bias primes elicit queen bee responses among senior police women. Psychological Science. 22,1243-1249.
  • Derks, B., Ellemers, N., Van Laar, C., & De Groot, K. (2011). Do sexist organizational cultures create the Queen Bee? British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 519-535.
  • Derks, B., Scheepers, D., Van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2011). The threat vs. challenge of car parking for women: How self- and group affirmation affect cardiovascular responses. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,47, 178-183.
  • Does, S., Derks, B., & Ellemers, N. (2011). Thou shalt not discriminate: How emphasizing moral ideals rather than obligations increases whites' support for social equality. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47, 562-571.
  • Zaal, M.P., Van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N., & Derks, B. (2011). Social change as an important goal or likely outcome: How regulatory focus affects commitment to collective action. British Journal of Social Psychology, 51, 93-110.
  • Zaal, M. P., Van Laar, C., Ståhl, T., Ellemers, N. & Derks, B. (2011). By any means necessary: The effects of regulatory focus and moral conviction on hostile and benevolent forms of collective action. British Journal of Social Psychology, 50, 670-689.
  • Van Laar, C., Derks, B., Ellemers, N., & Bleeker, D. (2010). Valuing social identity: Consequences for motivation and performance in low status groups. Journal of Social issues, 66 (3), 602-617.
  • Kang, S.K., Inzlicht, M., & Derks, B. (2010). Social neuroscience and public policy on intergroup relations: A Hegelian analysis. Journal of Social Issues, 66 (3), 585-601.
  • Derks, B., Van Laar, C. & Ellemers, N. (2009). Working for the self or working for the group: How personal and social self-affirmation promote collective behavior among members of devalued groups. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 96(1), 183-202.
  • Derks, B, Inzlicht, M. & Kang, S. (2008). The neuroscience of stigma and stereotype Threat. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 11(2), 163-181.
  • Derks, B., Van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2007). The beneficial effects of social identity protection on the performance motivation of members of devalued groups. Social Issues and Policy Review, 1, 217-256.
  • Derks, B., Van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2007). Social creativity strikes back: Improving low status group members’ motivation and performance by valuing ingroup dimensions. European Journal of Social Psychology, 37(3), 470-493. 
  • Derks, B., Van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N. (2006). Striving for success in outgroup settings: Effects of contextually emphasizing ingroup dimensions on stigmatized group members’ social identity and performance styles. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32(5), 576-588.
  • Van Laar, C., & Derks, B. (2003). Disidentification from the academic domain among members of stigmatized groups. In F. Salili and R. Hoosain, Learning and motivation in a multicultural setting. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing.


Belle Derks, Daan Scheepers & Naomi Ellemers (Eds.). (2013) Neuroscience of Prejudice and Intergroup Relations. London, UK: Psychology Press.

Curriculum Vitae

  • In August of 2008 I received a VENI-grant from the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO) for a research project entitled 'A Neuroscience Approach to Social Identity Threat: The Role of Preconscious Processes in Motivational Withdrawal among Members of Stigmatized Groups'.
  • Ph.D., 2007, Leiden University. Dissertation: Social Identity Threat and Performance Motivation: The Interplay between Ingroup and Outgroup domains.
  • For my dissertation, I received the 2007 Social Issues Dissertation Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI).
  • In 2007 I received a LUF Pilot Study Grant from the Leiden University Fund to set up research on neurological correlates (EEG, ERP) of stigma and social identity threat.

More Information about the Department of Social & Organizational Psychology

For more information about the Department of Social and Organizational Psychology, please visit the website S&O.

Last Modified: 20-08-2014