Esther Papies

I began my undergraduate studies at University College Utrecht, where I studied Psychology, as well as Sociology and Political Science. After a short intermezzo at the University of California at Berkeley (2001), I received my BA (cum laude) in 2002. I continued my studies of Social Psychology at Utrecht University, where I graduated in September 2003. I then started a PhD project with Wolfgang Stroebe and Henk Aarts, in which I examined the cognitive processes that underlie the self-regulation of chronic dieters – and their failures. After I got my Ph.D. (2008), I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University on a project investigating the cognitive and affective mechanisms of habit change. I am currently working as an assistant professor of Social Psychology at Utrecht University.

My research focuses on social cognition and health behavior. I am particularly interested in the nonconscious processes underlying the regulation of eating and dieting behavior, and I am studying the psychological mechanisms by which our living environment interferes with the pursuit of a healthy life-style. I am passionate about combining fundamental lab research with field experiments, and about effective strategies for behavior change. Thus, I also conduct research on goal priming, implementation intentions, habit change, and other ways of enhancing goal pursuit in real life.

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Representative publications

Papies, E. K., Aarts, H., & de Vries, N. K. (2009). Planning is for doing: Implementation intentions go beyond the mere creation of goal-directed associations. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1148-1151.

Papies, E. K., & Hamstra, P. (2010). Goal priming and eating behavior: Enhancing self-regulation by environmental cues. Health Psychology, 29, 384-388.

Papies, E. K., Stroebe, W., & Aarts, H. (2007). Pleasure in the mind: Restrained eating and spontaneous hedonic thoughts about food. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 43, 810-817.

Papies, E. K., Stroebe, W., & Aarts, H. (2008). The allure of forbidden food: On the role of attention in self-regulation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 44, 1283-1292.

Papies, E. K., Stroebe, W., & Aarts, H. (2008). Healthy cognition: Processes of self-regulatory success in restrained eating. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 1290-1300.

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Contact information

Utrecht University
Dept. of Psychology
PO Box 80140
3508 TC Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 30 253 41 98
F: +31 30 253 47 18
e.k.papies[at]uu.nl

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Current Lab Members