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.

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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.

M. Vara, R. Baños, P.  Rasal, A. Rodriguez, B. Rey, M. Wrzesien, M. Alcañiz (2016). A game for emotional regulation in adolescents: The (body) interface device matters.Computers in Human Behavior, 57, 267–273.

M. Wrzesien, C. Botella, J. Breton-Lopez, E. del Rio Gonzalez, J.M. Burkhardt, M. Alcañiz, M. Ángeles Perez-Ara (2015). Treating Small Animal Phobias using a Projective-Augmented Reality System: A Pilot Treatment Study. Computers in Human Behavior, 49, 343–353.

M. Wrzesien, A. Rodriguez Ortega, B.Rey, M. Alcañiz, R. Baños, L. Vara Villodre (2015). How Physical Similarity of Avatars Can Influence Emotion Regulation Strategy Learning in Teenagers. Computers in Human Behavior, 43, 101–111.

A. Rodriguez, B. Rey, M. Clemente Bellido, M. Wrzesien, M. Alcañiz (2015) . Assessing brain activations associated with emotional regulation during virtual reality mood induction procedures. Experts Systems with Applications, 42, 1699 - 1709.

A. Rodriguez, B.  Rey, MD Vara, M. Wrzesien, M. Alcañiz, R.M. Baños, D. Pérez-López  (2015). A VR-based serious game for studying emotional regulation in adolescents.IEEE Comput Graph Appl. 35(1), 65-73.

M. Wrzesien, J. Bretón-López, C. Botella, J.M. Burkhardt, M. Alcañiz, M.A. Pérez Ara, A. Riera (2013). How technology influences the therapeutic process: evaluation of the patient-therapist relationship in augmented reality exposure therapy and  in  vivo  exposure therapy. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy. 41(4), 505-9.

M. Wrzesien, Mariano Alcañiz, Cristina Botella, Jean-Marie Burkhardt, Juana Bretón-López, Mario Ortega, Daniel Beneito Brotons (2013). The Therapeutic Lamp System: Treating Small Animal Phobias. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 33, 80-86.

M. Wrzesien, J.M. Burkhardt, M. Alcañiz, C. Botella (2012). Evaluation of the Quality of Collaboration between the Client and the Therapist in Phobia Treatments. Interacting with Computers, 24, 461-471.

M. Wrzesien, M. Alcañiz (2010). Learning in serious virtual worlds: Evaluation of learning effectiveness and appeal to students in the E-Junior project. Computers & Education, 55(1), 178-187.



I am also and mainly a are my two little monsters and my brave partner all together...

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