prof.dr. J. van Gelder (Jean-Louis)

Full Professor

About Me

My work focuses on the use of novel methods, such as virtual reality, to study phenomena related to crime and public safety. Using these and also more traditional research methods, I study what factors render people shortsighted and how this shortsightedness results in self-defeating behavior. Furthermore, I am interested in the role of emotions and personality factors in risky and criminal decision making.

  • University of Portsmouth, External Research Associate                       
  • University of Zurich, Jacobs Center for Productive Youth Development, Visiting Research Fellow


Decision Making
Decision Making
Crime Victims

Ancillary Activities

  • 0Phobia
    Founder en co-ceo van start-up op het gebied van E-mental health


van Gelder, J. L., Martin, C., van Prooijen, J-W., de Vries, R., Marsman, M., Averdijk, M., ... Donker, T. (2018). Seeing is Believing? Comparing Negative Affect, Realism and Presence in Visual Versus Written Guardianship Scenarios. Deviant Behavior, 39(4), 461-474. DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2017.1407106
Meenaghan, A., Nee, C., Van Gelder, J. L., Otte, M., & Vernham, Z. (2018). Getting Closer to the Action: Using the Virtual Enactment Method to Understand Burglary. Deviant Behavior, 39(4), 437-460. DOI: 10.1080/01639625.2017.1407104
van Gelder, J. L., Nee, C., Otte, M., Demetriou, A., van 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(1), 29-62. DOI: 10.1177/0022427816663997
Eisner, M., Murray, A. L., Ribeaud, D., Averdijk, M., & van Gelder, J. L. (2017). From the Savannah to the Magistrate’s Court: The Roots of Criminal Justice in Evolved Human Psychology. In B. Jann, & W. Przepiorka (Eds.), Social Dilemmas, Institutions, and the Evolution of Cooperation (pp. 61-83). Walter de Gruyter GmbH. DOI: 10.1515/9783110472974-004
Frankenhuis, W. E., Fenneman, J., Van Gelder, J. L., & Godoy, I. (2017). CLASH's life history foundations. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, 20-21. [e84]. DOI: 10.1017/S0140525X16001011
van Gelder, J. L., Cravino, M. C., & Ostuni, F. (2016). Housing informality in Buenos Aires: Past, present and future?Urban studies, 53(9), 1958-1975. DOI: 10.1177/0042098015581801
Other Contributions
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Averdijk, M., Ribeaud, D., & Eisner, M. (2017). Punitive Parenting and Delinquency: The Mediating Role of Short-Term Mindsets. The British Journal of Criminology. https://doi.org/10.1093/bjc/azx042
  • Van Gelder, J. L. (2017). Emotions in offender decision making. In: W. Bernasco, J. L. Van Gelder, and H. Effers (Eds.), Oxford Handbook on Offender Decision Making. pp.466-478. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Van Gelder, J. L. (2017). Dual-process models in offender decision making. In: W. Bernasco, J.L. Van Gelder, and H. Effers (Eds.), Oxford Handbook on Offender Decision Making. pp.166-180. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Bernasco, W., Van Gelder, J. L. and Elffers, H. (2017) (Eds.), Oxford Handbook on Offender Decision Making. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Nee, C., Otte, M., Demetriou, A., van 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(1), 29-62.
  • Averdijk, M., Van Gelder, J. L., Eisner, M., and Ribeaud, D. (2016). Violence begetsviolence… But how? A decision making perspective on the victim-offender overlap. Criminology, 54, 282-306. 
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Averdijk, M., Eisner, M., and Ribeaud, D. (2016). Unpacking the victim-offender overlap: Beyond subcultural theory and risky lifestyles. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 31, 653–675.
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Luciano, E. C., Weulen Kranenbarg, M., Hershfield, H. E. (2015). Friends with       my future self: A longitudinal vividness intervention reduces delinquency. 
  • De Vries, R. E., & Van Gelder, J. L. (2015). Explaining workplace delinquency: The role of Honesty-Humility, ethical culture, and employee surveillance. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 112-116.
  • Van Gelder, J. L., & Luciano, E. C. (2015). Tenure security as a predictor of investment in housing improvement in low-income settlements: Testing a tripartite model. Environment and Planning A, 47, 485-500. 
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Otte, M., and Luciano, E. C. (2014). Using virtual reality in criminological research. Crime Science, 3:10. doi:10.1186/s40163-014-0010-5
  • Van Gelder, J. L., & Van Daele, S. (2014). Innovative data collection methods in criminological research: Editorial introduction. Crime Science, 3:6. doi:10.1186/s40163-014-0006-1
  • Wilcox, P., Sullivan, C. J., Jones, S., & Van Gelder, J. L. (2014). Personality and opportunity: An integrated approach to offending and victimization. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 41, 880-901. 
  • Van Gelder, J. L. & De Vries, R. E. (2014). Rational misbehavior? Evaluating an integrated dual-process model of criminal decision making. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 30, 1-27
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Elffers, H., Reynald, D. & Nagin, D. (2013). Affect and Cognition in Criminal Decision Making. Abingdon: Routlegde.
  • Van Gelder, J. L. (2013). Paradoxes of urban housing informality in the developing world. Law& Society Review, 47, 493–522
  • Van Gelder, J. L. (2013). Beyond rational choice: The hot/cool perspective of criminal decision making. Psychology, Crime & Law, 19, 745-763
  • Van Gelder, J. L., Hershfield, H. & Nordrgen, L. (2013). Vividness of the future self reduces delinquency. Psychological Science, 24, 974-980.
  • De Vries, R. E. & Van Gelder, J. L. (2013). Tales of two self-control scales: Relations with Five-Factor and HEXACO Traits. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 756-760.
  • Van Gelder, J. L. (2013). And then I’ll huff, and I’ll puff, and I’ll…:A natural experiment on property titling, housing improvement and the psychology of tenure security. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37, 734-749.
  • Van de Bunt, H. & Van Gelder, J. L. (2012). The Dutch prosecution service. Crime & Justice: A Review of Research, 41, 117-140.
  • Van Gelder, J. L. & De Vries, R. (2012). Traits and states: Integrating personality and affect into a model of criminal decision making. Criminology, 50, 637-671. 

UT Research Information System


Time & Crime
I was recently (2017) awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant for my project ‘Crime and Time: How short-term mindsets encourage crime and how the future self can prevent it’. The aim of the project is to outline a new theoretical perspective on criminal behavior that integrates dispositional theories, which argue that stable factors within the individual, such as lack of self-control, lie at the roots of criminal conduct, with sociogenic perspectives which put the locus of study outside the individual and point towards contextual factors such as rough neighborhoods, parental unemployment, and deviant peers views. My theory is premised on the idea that short-term mindsets encourage crime and specifies how both individual dispositions and sociogenic variables can encourage such mindsets. I test this theory using a combination of longitudinal research and behavioral field experiments. On this project I collaborate with various research inside and outside the Netherlands including (Sven Zebel, University of Twente), Hal Hershfield (UCLA), Margit Averdijk, Denis Ribeaud and Manuel Eisner (University of Zurich).

The FutureU project (with Dr. Liza Cornet) is also part of the ERC Consolidator Grant and is co-funded by the Innovation Fund of the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety and involves an intervention for offender rehabilitation that is being developed in collaboration with the Probation Service (Reclassering Nederland). Using a combination of virtual reality and a smartphone application the intervention aims to acquiant young offenders with their future self.

The Virtual Burglary Project
The Virtual Burglary Project (with Dr. Claire Nee, Marco Otte, Dr. Zarah Vernham, Prof. Paul van Lange, Dr. Jan Willem van Prooijen, Iris van Sintemaartensdijk (PhD candidate), Amy Meenaghan (PhD candidate) and Matthew Talbot (PhD candidate) is a collaboration between the the University of Twente, the University of Portsmouth and VU University and involves the use of virtual environments that can be used to study the behavior of burglars. The project is led by Dr. Nee and myself and aims to learn more about how burglars choose and attack targets, how their behavior varies with levels of expertise, and how it adapts to varieties in risk and reward through the use of virtual reality. Results of the project will help answer fundamental questions related to criminological theory and help develop prevention strategies. The project is co-funded by Dutch Ministry of Justice and Safety and a Police & Science (Politie&Wetenschap) Grant.

I have a longstanding and ongoing collaboration with Dr. Margit Averdijk, Prof. Manuel Eisner (PI) and Dr. Denis Ribeaud from Zurich Project on the Social Development from Childhood Adulthood z-proso (Jacobs Center, University of Zurich) which follows the life-course of 1,400 youths and the pathways that lead to violence and delinquency.

Contact Details

Visiting Address

University of Twente
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Gallery (building no. 17)
Hengelosestraat 500
7521AN  Enschede
The Netherlands

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Mailing Address

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