Amsterdam Interdisciplinary Centre for Emotion (AICE)

Photographer: Suzanne Oosterwijk

dr. S. (Suzanne) Oosterwijk

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    Programme group Social Psychology
  • Visiting address
    REC G
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 129  Room number: 2.30
  • Postal address:
    Postbus  15900
    1001 NK  Amsterdam
    T: 0205251573

My overarching research interest is the interplay between the mind and the body. I am specifically interested in how concepts and bodily states interact to produce the experience of emotion in the individual, but I am also interested in how this interaction relates to the understanding of emotion in other people.  


How the brain constructs emotion

In one line of work, I investigate how the brain constructs emotions and other mental states. In several research projects I examine how neural systems that support conceptualization and the representation and generation of bodily states, engage during a great variety of subjective experiences, including discrete emotions (e.g., fear, disgust, morbid fascination), thoughts and perceptions. Furthermore, I am examining how emotional associations arise and how they are represented in the brain.


Morbid curiosity

Recently, I received a VENI grant to start investigating morbid curiosity. Although we know from real life that people regularly approach and explore highly intense negative stimuli, we know very little about this phenomenon from the perspective of psychological science. In this research project, I will study when people experience morbid curiosity and how this experience is represented in the brain and body.    


The embodiment of emotion concepts

During my PhD project I examined the link between conceptual representations of emotion and bodily states. Based on embodied cognition theories I hypothesized that bodily mechanisms involved in emotional experience are also partially active when people read, think and talk about emotions. Several behavioral and physiological experiments supported this hypothesis. For example, I demonstrated that spontaneous changes in body posture occur when people think about disappointment. Currently, I am using neuroimaging methods to investigating the simulation of internal and external states when people understand emotions and other mental states in language. 



In March 2011 I received my PhD from the University of Amsterdam. Following my PhD period, I worked as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett at the Interdisciplinary Affective Science Laboratory (Northeastern University) in Boston. I received my neuroimaging training at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging in Boston. Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral fellow at the Department of Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam.  



  • Oosterwijk, S., Lindquist, K. A., Adebayo, M., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2016). The neural representation of typical and atypical experiences of negative images: comparing fear, disgust and morbid fascination. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 11(1), 11-22. DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsv088  [details] 
  • Wagenmakers, E-J., Beek, T., Dijkhoff, L., Gronau, Q. F., Acosta, A., Adams, R. B., ... Zwaan, R. A. (2016). Registered Replication Report: Strack, Martin, & Stepper (1988). Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11(6), 917-928. DOI: 10.1177/1745691616674458  [details] 


  • Oosterwijk, S., Mackey, S., Wilson-Mendenhall, C., Winkielman, P., & Paulus, M. P. (2015). Concepts in context: processing mental state concepts with internal or external focus involves different neural systems. Social Neuroscience, 10(3), 294-307. DOI: 10.1080/17470919.2014.998840  [details] 


  • Fischer, A. H., Eagly, A. H., & Oosterwijk, S. (2013). The meaning of tears: Which sex seems emotional depends on the social context. European Journal of Social Psychology, 43(6), 505-515. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.1974  [details] 
  • Lindquist, K. A., Gendron, M., Oosterwijk, S., & Barrett, L. F. (2013). Do people essentialize emotions? Individual differences in emotion essentialism and emotional experience. Emotion, 13(4), 629-644. DOI: 10.1037/a0032283  [details] 


  • Oosterwijk, S., Lindquist, K. A., Anderson, E., Dautoff, R., Moriguchi, Y., & Feldman Barrett, L. (2012). States of mind: emotions, body feelings, and thoughts share distributed neural networks. NeuroImage, 62(3), 2110-2128. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.05.079  [details] 
  • Oosterwijk, S., Winkielman, P., Pecher, D., Zeelenberg, R., Rotteveel, M., & Fischer, A. H. (2012). Mental states inside out: Switching costs for emotional and nonemotional sentences that differ in internal and external focus. Memory & Cognition, 40(1), 93-100. DOI: 10.3758/s13421-011-0134-8  [details] 


  • Oosterwijk, S., Topper, M., Rotteveel, M., & Fischer, A. H. (2010). When the mind forms fear: embodied fear knowledge potentiates bodily reactions. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 65-72. DOI: 10.1177/1948550609355328  [details] 


  • Oosterwijk, S., Rotteveel, M., Fischer, A. H., & Hess, U. (2009). Embodied emotion concepts: How generating words about pride and disappointment influences posture. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39(3), 457-466. DOI: 10.1002/ejsp.584  [details] 
  • Oosterwijk, S., Topper, M., Rotteveel, M., & Fischer, A. H. (2009). Wanneer we denken over angst, leeft ons lichaam mee. Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie, 2009, 329-340. [details] 


  • O'Brien, O., Oosterwijk, S., & Barrett, L. F. (2016). Where do people feel emotions in their body? A quantitative implementation of the Emotionally Vague project. In P. M. A. Desmet, S. F. Fokkinga, G. D. S. Ludden, N. Cila, & H. van Zuthem (Eds.), Celebration & Contemplation: 10th International Conference on Design & Emotion : 27-30 September 2016, Amsterdam (pp. 547-552). The Design & Emotion Society.


  • Oosterwijk, S., Touroutoglou, A., & Lindquist, K. A. (2015). The neuroscience of construction: what neuroimaging approaches can tell us about how the brain creates the mind. In L. Feldman Barrett, & J. A. Russell (Eds.), The psychological construction of emotion (pp. 111-143). New York: Guilford Press. [details] 


  • Oosterwijk, S., & Feldman Barret, L. (2014). Embodiment in the construction of emotion experience and emotion understanding. In L. Shapiro (Ed.), Routledge handbook of embodied cognition (pp. 250-260). (Routledge handbooks in philosophy). New York: Routledge. DOI: 10.4324/9781315775845.ch24  [details] 


  • van der Linden, M., Bosch, S., Francken, J., van Gaal, S., Manneke, A., Oosterwijk, S., & Ploeger, A. (2017). Hersenwerk: Neurowetenschappen in de 21ste eeuw. Amsterdam: Boom. [details] 



  • Oosterwijk, S. (2017). Incentive Fund Open Access.
  • Oosterwijk, S. (2017). Incentive Fund Open Acces.
  • Oosterwijk, S. (2013). Innovative Research Incentives Scheme VENI grant.
  • Oosterwijk, S. (2010). Early career best paper award 2009 from the European Journal of Social Psychology..

Scientific position

  • Oosterwijk, S. (2015). Organizing Committee: ASPO 2015 Conference, ASPO.

Media appearance

  • Oosterwijk, S. (02-02-2017). Interview on morbid curiosity. [Print] Helsingin Sanomat. Interview on morbid curiosity..
  • Oosterwijk, S. (13-07-2015). Interview over belichaamde emoties. [Radio] Funx radio. Interview over belichaamde emoties..


  • Oosterwijk, S. (organiser) & Noordewier, M. K. (organiser) (2014). Two-day track presented at the Kurt Lewin Institute (KLI) conference 2014, Zeist, the Netherlands. Emotion in the spotlight! (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Oosterwijk, S. (organiser) & Bliss-Moreau, E. (organiser) (10-7-2014). Preconference presented prior to the European Association of Social Psychology (EASP) General Meeting of 2014, Amsterdam. Brain & Emotion (organising a conference, workshop, ...).
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