After graduating high school, Erik went to Leiden University. Here, he became fascinated with the scientific study of human behavior. Supervised by Etty Jehn and Manuela Barreto, his undergraduate thesis (2005) addressed how problem solving performance is affected by organizational conflict. Supervised by Daan Scheepers and Naomi Ellemers, his master's thesis (2007) dealt with the biological correlates of out-group prejudice. Then he moved to Utrecht University for his PhD. Supervised by Ruud Custers and Henk Aarts, his doctoral dissertation (2012, summary here) dealt with the unconscious and conscious processes that shape performance when people are in pursuit of monetary rewards. Currently, Erik works as an Assistant Professor at the Behavioural Science Institute (Work, Health and Performance research group) at Radboud University.
Erik’s main line of research is concerned with understanding the origins of good and bad human performance. Specifically, the idea that people perform their best when valuable outcomes can be attained is deeply engrained in society. While science (from behavioral neuroscience to work psychology) largely supports the prediction that rewards improve performance, this idea is also somewhat controversial.