mw. M.E. (Maja) Wrzesien PhD

  • Faculteit der Maatschappij- en Gedragswetenschappen
    Programmagroep: Opvoedings- en Ontwikkelingsproblemen (OOP)
  • Bezoekadres
    Nieuwe Achtergracht 127  Amsterdam
  • Postadres:
    Nieuwe Achtergracht  127
    1018 WS  Amsterdam


I am a postdoctoral research fellow in Research Institute of Child Development and Education. My research focuses on emotion regulation in youth with special emphasis on mindfulness, self-compassion, and new technologies. My both personal and professional background is very diverse and inter-disciplinary. I obtained an MA in Ergonomic and Psychology Engineering from the University of Rennes (2009) in France, then I did my PhD in Clinical Psychology in University of Castellon in Spain (2014). For the last years my research was mainly focused on new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and serious games used for clinical interventions. A part of my research work I was also a mindfulness trainer for youth and teachers. Recently, I obtained a Marie-Sklodowska Curie Individual Fellowships that allowed me to combine my 3 main interests: clinical research, work with youth on mindfulness and self-compassion, and new technologies in one project- PEACEFUL MIND.

My research is mainly an experimental research in the lab or school context, with the goal to provide a real-world, evidence-based strategies as a "mini" interventions or validated components of  interventions. In this way I hope to contribute in a creation of  individualized and efficient "toolbox" for our children, so they can go and experience the world that is waiting for them in a most enriching way.

Image taken from:

Emotion regulation in youth

I am interested in adaptive emotion regulation strategies learning in children and teenagers, as both preventive and treatment tool. In the PEACEFUL MIND project we compare different implicit and explicit emotion regulation techniques, and integrating mindfulness and self-compassion exercises as emotion regulation strategies. In this project I am looking on how emotion regulation skills influence children’s performances, and how emotion regulation can be boosted to protect children against negative emotions and help them dealing with challenging situations, and how the individual differences can influence the effectiveness of these strategies.

Cover illustration: “Love” by Serge Block / Marlena Agency.

Self-compassion and mindfulness

I am interested how both self-compassion and mindfulness exercises rather than interventions influence the way we deal with our daily life challenges.

In the same line, I am interested in self-kindness and self-criticism as traits that can respectively facilitate or make more difficult dealing with every day challenging situations.

From August 2016 we are doing Mindful Mornings open to everyone who would like to join before a bussy work/study day

On 8th of November we were celebrating 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Netherlands.

You can read the rapport here:



  • Dolores Vara, M., Banos, R. M., Rasal, P., Rodriguez, A., Rey, B., Wrzesien, M., & Alcaniz, M. (2016). A game for emotional regulation in adolescents: The (body) interface device matters. Computers in Human Behavior, 57, 267-273. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.12.033 [details]
  • Vara, M. D., Banos, R. M., Rasal, P., Wrzesien, M. E., Rodriguez, A., Rey, B., & Raya, M. A. (2016). A VR-based serious game to regulate joy in adolescents: A comparison of different devices. In eHealth 360°: International summit on eHealth, Budapest, Hungary, June 14-16, 2016, revised selected papers. (pp. 135). Springer International Publishing.. [details]


  • Wrzesien, M., Botella, C., Breton-Lopez, J., del Rio Gonzalez, E., Burkhardt, J-M., Alcaniz, M., & Angeles Perez-Ara, M. (2015). Treating small animal phobias using a projective-augmented reality system: A single-case study. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 343-353. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2015.01.065 [details]
  • Wrzesien, M., Rodriguez, A., Rey, B., Alcaniz, M., Maria Banos, R., & Dolores Vara, M. (2015). How the physical similarity of avatars can influence the learning of emotion regulation strategies in teenagers. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 101-111. DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2014.09.024 [details]
  • Rodriguez, A., Rey, B., Clemente, M., Wrzesien, M., & Alcaniz, M. (2015). Assessing brain activations associated with emotional regulation during virtual reality mood induction procedures. Expert Systems With Applications, 42(3), 1699-1709. DOI: 10.1016/j.eswa.2014.10.006 [details]
  • Rodriguez, A., Rey, B., Dolores Vara, M., Wrzesien, M., Alcaniz, M., Ma Banos, R., & Perez-Lopez, D. (2015). A VR-based serious game for studying emotional regulation in adolescents. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 35(1), 65-73. [details]


  • Wrzesien, M., Alcaniz, M., Botella, C., Burkhardt, J-M., Breton-Lopez, J., Ortega, M., & Beneito Brotons, D. (2013). The Therapeutic Lamp: Treating Small-Animal Phobias. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 33(1), 80-86. [details]
  • Wrzesien, M., Breton-Lopez, J., Botella, C., Burkhardt, J-M., Alcaniz, M., Angeles Perez-Ara, M., & Riera del Amo, A. (2013). How Technology Influences the Therapeutic Process: Evaluation of the Patient-Therapist Relationship in Augmented Reality Exposure Therapy and In Vivo Exposure Therapy. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 41(4), 505-509. DOI: 10.1017/S1352465813000088 [details]


  • Wrzesien, M., Burkhardt, J-M., Botella, C., & Alcaniz, M. (2012). Evaluation of the quality of collaboration between the client and the therapist in phobia treatments. Interacting with computers, 24(6), 461-471. DOI: 10.1016/j.intcom.2012.09.001 [details]


  • Wrzesien, M., & Raya, M. A. (2010). Learning in serious virtual worlds: Evaluation of learning effectiveness and appeal to students in the E-Junior project. Computers and Education, 55(1), 178-187. DOI: 10.1016/j.compedu.2010.01.003 [details]


  • Wrzesien, M.E. (participant) (8-11-2016): celebrating 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Netherlands (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).
  • Wrzesien, M.E. (participant) (8-11-2016): celebrating 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Netherlands (participating in a conference, workshop, ...).


  • Wrzesien, M.E. (speaker) (8-11-2016): Marie Curie interactive panel discussion on the internationalization of scientific careers, celebrating 20 years of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions in the Netherlands, amsterdam, Netherlands.


  • Wrzesien, M.E. (reviewer) (2016): Israel Science Foundation (Event).
  • Wrzesien, M.E. (reviewer) (2016): Research Priority Area Yield (Event), amsterdam, Netherlands.
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