prof.dr. E. Giebels (Ellen)

Full Professor

About Me

I am a social and organisational psychologist (PhD, University of Groningen 1999) interested in human reactions and social interactions in high-risk, high-stakes situations. Key topics are:

  • Conflict and negotiation
  • Social influence and change interventions
  • Crime, coping and resilience
  • Social context of risks/crises


About two decades ago, I became passionate about the field of hostage negotiations leading to collaboration with hostage negotiation teams from all over the world. I worked for a year within the Belgian Federal Police (Behavioural Science Unit) and still teach in the national Dutch hostage negotiation course. In 2015, I was part of the research team that officially evaluated the Dutch governmental functioning following the MH17 disaster. In 2017-2018, I chaired an independent committee commissioned by the State Secretary (Ministry of Defence) investigating the social safety climate within the Military (Committee Giebels).


In 2012, I received the RUBIN theory-to-practice award, co-sponsored by the International Association for Conflict Management (IACM) and the Harvard University Program on Negotiation. In 2017, I was elected Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. In 2019, I initiated the development of an innovative theatre program about academic integrity and “working life” in academia named Mindlab.


As a vice-dean of research at the Faculty of Behavioural, Management, and Social Sciences (2014-2022), I co-initiated a program on more cross-disciplinary research cooperation including a strong connection with technology (Tech4People program), and founded the BMSlab.


Additional roles/appointment

2022-            Member/chair of several evaluation panels (ITK-midterm/NVAO)                         (Leiden University, VU University Amsterdam, University of Twente, Radboud University)

2021-           Chair VU-UT Impact Coalition Creating Secure Societies                           (together with Jacquelien van Stekelenburg-VU)

2019-            Member task force NWA route NeurolabNL-theme safety and security

2017- 2022    Board member Kurt Lewin Institute (KLI)

2011-2020     Head of Department Psychology of Conflict, Risk & Safety

Ancillary Activities

  • Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam
    Raad van Toezicht
  • LOWI (on behalf of NWO)
    Raad van Advies
  • TNO Defensie & Veiligheid
    Lid Strategische Adviesraad
  • Dutch Police
    Wetenschappelijke Adviesraad Politie


Hoeboer, C. M., Kitselaar, W. M., Henrich, J. F., Miedzobrodzka, E. J., Wohlstetter, B. , Giebels, E., Meynen, G., Kruisbergen, E. W., Kempes, M., Olff, M., & de Kogel, C. H. (2023). The Impact of COVID-19 on Crime: a Systematic Review. American Journal of Criminal Justice. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12103-023-09746-4
van Dijk, M. A. J. , Zebel, S. , & Giebels, E. (2023). Power Asymmetry and Early Intervention in Divorce. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 29(3), 383-401. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/law0000376
Hope, L., Anakwah, N., Antfolk, J., Brubacher, S. P., Flowe, H., Gabbert, F. , Giebels, E., Kanja, W., Korkman, J., Kyo, A., Naka, M., Otgaar, H., Powell, M. B., Selim, H., Skrifvars, J., Sorkpah, I. K., Sowatey, E. A., Steele, L. C., Stevens, L., ... Wells, S. (2022). Urgent issues and prospects at the intersection of culture, memory, and witness interviews: Exploring the challenges for research and practice. Legal and criminological psychology, 27(1), 1-31. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1111/lcrp.12202
van 't Klooster, J-W. , Giebels, E. , Slijkhuis, P. J. H. , Langener, S., Nijen Es, L. , Beerlage-de Jong, N. , & van Gemert-Pijnen, L. (2020). Research on the road using the ExperiVan. In Supporting Health by Technology: Supporting Health by Technology International Conference 11-6-2020: Abstract book (pp. 44-44). University of Twente.
de Graaff, M. C. , Giebels, E., & Verweij, D. E. M. (2020). On moral grounds: Moral identity and moral disengagement in relation to military deployment. Military Psychology, 32(4), 363-375. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1080/08995605.2020.1774321
Schreurs, W. (2019). Crossing lines together: how and why citizens participate in the police domain. [PhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT, University of Twente]. University of Twente. https://doi.org/10.3990/1.9789036548496
de Graaff, M. , Giebels, E., Meijer, D. J. W., & Verweij, D. E. M. (2019). Sensemaking in Military Critical Incidents: The Impact of Moral Intensity. Business & society, 58(4), 749-778. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1177/0007650316680996
Bakker, M. H. (2018). Turning crisis into opportunity: the influence of government and social environment. [PhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT, University of Twente]. University of Twente. https://doi.org/10.3990/1.9789036544948
Oostinga, M. S. D. (2018). Breaking (the) ice: communication error management in law enforcement interactions. [PhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT, University of Twente]. University of Twente. https://doi.org/10.3990/1.9789036544931
Other Contributions

Other publications (selection)

UT Research Information System

Google Scholar Link


Projects (PhD)

  • Jedidjah Schaaij - Intelligence led policing with a database of crisis negotiation incidents. Co-supervisor: dr. Miriam Oostinga (UT). Project in cooperation with police negotiation practitioners, the Police Academy and the UK police (Lou Provart Msc). Defence expected in 2026/2027.
  • Michalis Georgiou- TORN- Towards resilient negotiating with ransomware criminals. Co-supervisors: dr. Miriam Oostinga (UT) & dr. Remco Spithoven (Saxion University of applied sciences). This project is part of the research program of the Centre for Security and Digitization.https://www.cvdnederland.nl/. Defence expected in 2026/2027.
  • Henrike Fitchen -Enabling strategic adaptability in negotiation  - A reflective method to improve skill-based learning. Co-supervisors: dr. Niels Pulles, dr. Bas Kollofel (both UT) and dr. Aldis Sigurdardottir (University of Reykjavik). Defence expected in 2025/2026.
  • Bas Boing - Discussing the elephant in the room: police officers and ethnic profiling debate. Co-supervisor: dr. Peter de Vries (UT). Defence expected 2024.
  • Peter Slijkhuis - discrepancies between subjective and objective methods in deception research. Co-supervisor: dr. Marielle Stel and dr. Steven Watson (both UT). Defence expected in 2024.
  • Florian Bonensteffen - Developing a tool for online victim-offender mediation. Co-supervisors:  prof.dr. Sven Zebel (UT/VU). Defence expected in 2023.
  • Marian van Dijk - Early triage by Internet in societal conflicts. Defence expected in 2023. Co-supervisor: prof.dr. Sven Zebel (UT/VU).
  • Anja Jansen - Eyes in the skies: exploring the effects of social presence cues on undesired and prosocial behavior. Successfully defended on 29 January 2021. Co-supervisor: dr. Thomas van Rompay (UT) and prof.dr. Marianne Junger (UT).
  • Wendy Scheurs Crossing lines together- how and why citizens participate in the police domain. Co-supervisor: prof. dr. Jose Kerstholt (UT/TNO) and dr. Peter de Vries (UT). Successfully defended on 1 November 2019.
  • Marije Bakker Turning crisis into opportunity. Co-supervisors:  dr. Marco van Bommel (UT) and prof. dr. Jose Kerstholt (UT/TNO). Successfully defended on 5 April 2018.
  • Miriam Oostinga - Breaking the ice. Error management in law enforcement interactions. Co-supervisor: prof.dr. Paul J. Taylor (University of Lancaster and UT). Successfully defended on 29 March 2018.
  • Milou Kievik - The time of telling tales. The determinants of effective risk communication. Successfully defended on 16 November 2017. Co-supervisor: dr. Jan Gutteling (UT).
  • Moritz Romer - None of my business? Leaders as third parties in employee' conflict. Succesfully defended on 5 July 2017 (KU Leuven). Co-supervisors: dr. Sonja Rispens (Eindhoven University of Technology) and prof. dr. Martin Euwema (KULeuven).
  • Femke Hilverda - Making sense of food risk information: The case of organic food.Succesfully defended on 28 February 2017. Co-supervisor: dr. Margot Kuttschreuter (UT).
  • Miriam de Graaff - Moral Forces: interpreting ethical challenges in military operations.Succesfully defended on 12 January 2017. Co-supervisor: prof.dr. Desiree Verweij (Netherlands Defense Academy).
  • Sabine Ströfer - Deceptive intent: Physiological reactions in different interpersonal contexts. Successfully defended on 18 February 2016. Co-supervisors: dr. Elze Ufkes and dr. Matthijs Noordzij (both UT).
  • Kim van Erp- When Worlds Collide: The Role of Justice, Conflict and Personality for Expatriate Couples’ Adjustment. Successfully defended on 20 January 2011. Co-supervisors: prof.dr. Karen van Oudenhoven-van der Zee and dr. Marijtje van Duijn (both University of Groningen).
  • Elze Ufkes - Neighbor-to-neighbor conflicts in multicultural neighborhoods.Successfully defended on 6 January 2011. Co-supervisors: prof.dr. Sabine Otten and prof.dr. Karen van Oudenhoven-van der Zee (both University of Groningen).
  • Karlijn Beune - Talking heads. Interviewing suspects from a cultural perspective. Successfully defended on 1 October 2009 (distinction: cum laude).


The media has paid attention to my scientific work, which appeared in e.g.: Research Digest, New Scientist, NRC Handelsblad, Volkskrant, Trouw, Nederlands Dagblad, Dagblad van het Noorden, Gelderse Courant, Algemeen Dagblad, ADR magazine, Recherchemagazine, Intermediair, 7Days, Kuwait Times, Le Devoir, penoactueel, Forum voor conflictmanagement, Nationale zorggids, MT management team, Tijdschrift conflicthantering, Tubantia, Libelle, BN De Stem, De Stentor, Dagblad van het Noorden.

Following the publication of our report on the social safety climate in the Military, I was interviewed by the NOS NEWS, RTLNews, Hart van Nederland (TV) and NPO and BNR (Radio).

In February 2023, our NWO project on COVID-19 pandemic affecting societal safety in terms of crime figures featured in the Volkskrant

In the press

Interviews & podcasts (recent/Dutch)

Volkskrant interview over het verkeerde gebruik van het Stockholmsyndroom

Radio interview voor 'met het oog op morgen' over de oorsprong van het Stockholmsyndroom

Universiteit van Nederland over de Tafel van Tien 

NRC artikel wetenschappelijke lessen voor oorlogsonderhandelaars (met Beatrice de Graaf, Kees van den Bos en Paul van Lange)

Radio interview De Wereld van Sofie over het Stockholmsyndroom

Interview met rector Thom Palstra over wetenschappelijke integriteit en sociale veiligheid

Interview met Jacquelien van Stekelenburg (VU) over de VU-UT Impactcoalitie Creating Secure Societies

News on utwente.nl

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus (building no. 41), room C243B
De Zul 10
7522NJ  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Cubicus  C243B
P.O. Box 217
7500 AE Enschede
The Netherlands

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