dr. M.A.S. (Maarten) Boksem

Associate Professor
Rotterdam School of Management (RSM)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Member ERIM
Field: Marketing
Affiliated since 2010

The main theme of my research has been performance monitoring and outcome evaluation: what happens in the brain when we make a mistake, and how does this affect subsequent behaviour? Do we learn from our mistakes? Can we pinpoint patterns of brain activity that predict whether we will or will not learn from our mistakes? I am also interested in how the social context influences how we evaluate our own behaviour: how is it different for you when I tell you that your decision resulted in failure, while your colleague’s decision also resulted in failure, compared to the situation where you have failed, but your colleague succeeded? Are there differences in how the brain processes these situations (in which your objective outcome is the same)? Does it matter if this colleague is your supervisor or your assistant (i.e. how does social status influence these processes)? How do social cues (for example others’ facial expressions) influence how you evaluate your performance? How do hormone-levels, such as oxytocin, testosterone and cortisol, influence how you evaluate actions, both your own and those of others?

Over the last several years I have also become interested in Neuroeconomics, Consumer Neuroscience and Neuromarketing. My main current line of research in these fields focusses on two central questions: can we predict consumer behaviour from brain activity (and do such neural measures add anything to more traditional measures), and do brain measurements reveal additional evaluative information about marketing stimuli (commercials, advertisements), that cannot be obtained through traditional means? We find that it is indeed possible to predict consumer behaviour on the population level from brain data obtained from a limited number of students in our lab, and that these brain-measures increase predictive accuracy of commercial success compared with stated preference measures alone.

  • V.C. Schoots, A. Smidts, A.G. Sanfey & M.A.S. Boksem (2018). The effects of social status on the neural processing of positive and negative outcomes. Neuroimage.

Key Publications (10)

  • M. Tops, P. Luu, M.A.S. Boksem & D.M. Tucker (2013). The Role of Predictive and Reactive Biobehavioral Programs in Resilience. In M. Kent, M.C. Davis, J.W. Reich & J.W. Reich (Eds.), The Resilience Handbook - Approaches to Stress and Trauma (pp. 21-38)
  • M.A.S. Boksem & D. De Cremer (2009). Morality and the brain. In D. De Cremer (Ed.), Psychological perspectives on ethical behavior and decision making (pp. 153-166). Charlotte: Information Age Publishing
  • M.A.S. Boksem (2006, februari 2). Mental fatigue: Costs and benefits. RuG Prom./coprom.: M.M. Lorist & T.F. Meijman.
  • Role: Daily Supervisor, Co-promotor
  • PhD Candidate: Vincent Schoots
  • Time frame: 2010 -
  • Role: Daily Supervisor
  • PhD Candidate: Catalina Ratala
  • Time frame: 2012 -
  • Role: Daily Supervisor
  • PhD Candidate: Linda Couwenberg
  • Time frame: 2012 -
  • Role: Daily Supervisor
  • PhD Candidate: Esther Eijlers
  • Time frame: 2013 -
  • Role: Daily Supervisor, Co-promotor
  • PhD Candidate: Aljaž Sluga
  • Time frame: 2015 -

Editorial positions

  • Frontiers in Cognition


  • Specialization Module on Consumer Behavior (2017/2018, 2016/2017)

Accounting is the research discipline that examines the role of accounting information in companies´ communications, both externally and internally. Accounting information plays a central role in our society. It does so within and between organizations, and between organizations and their wider stakeholders, and almost anywhere else where agents are formally or informally accountable to others. One of the key functions of accounting information, and the accountants that produce and report such information, is to explain and justify choices and outcomes to fulfil accountability demands. For example, managers justify and explain their investment decisions to their superiors. Firms justify and explain their polices to their shareholders and other stakeholders. The provision of such information is never neutral, that is, many decisions made by managers and the firms the work in are influenced by the need to justify and explain. For example, managers and firms may choose investments that are easy to account for, rather than those that are rational, such that they are optimal to the firm, and maximize firm value. This PhD project aims to provide a better understanding of the role of accountants in this context, using neuroscientific theory and method. While the project aims generally to investigate if and how accountants are able to safeguard rationality in the context of accountability pressure, the specific objective of this Ph.D. project is to study the neuro-economic and neuro-psychological impact of accountability. The expectation is that more specific research questions are developed that will be examined using field and lab-experiments using naturalistic measurements such as fMRI, EEG and eye-tracking. The structure of this Ph.D project will be as follows. During the first year, the Ph.D student will receive high-quality training in accounting (and finance) research as well as (applied) econometric methods. At the end of the first year, the student will have developed a first proposal for three empirical studies, having much independence in selecting a research focus. During the following three years, these studies will be carried out and gradually developed into three working papers that are potentially publishable in high-quality academic journals. Especially during the early stages of the project, the Ph.D. student will intensively cooperate with the members of the supervisory team.

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The marketing group at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University is seeking highly motivated PhD students looking to pursue academic careers studying topics in consumer behavior, quantitative marketing, and consumer neuroscience. Strong applicants typically have backgrounds in psychology, business, statistics, economics, neuroscience, or computer science, and are looking to pursue an international career as a leading academic researcher. Students define and execute their own projects in consultation with their advisers, and therefore need to have creativity, self-direction, and a passion for scientific research.

For the current position, we seek outstanding applicants whose research interests lie at the intersection of psychology, economics, marketing and neuroscience and who are interested in studying the brain mechanisms that underlie judgement and decision-making. Particular interests of our group are the neural underpinnings of persuasive messaging, social influences on choice, dishonesty, emotion regulation and self-control.

For the current project, we are especially looking for applicants who have experience with innovative fMRI methods, most notably multi-voxel pattern analysis (MVPA), representational similarity analysis (RSA), or multivariate approaches to EEG data analysis, and who would be interested in applying these techniques to study (real-world) choice behaviour. Candidates with a less technical focus and a more general interest in how neuroscience can inform the study of decision-making are also invited to apply.

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ERIM Conference
As: Speaker
  • Fellowship - ERIM early career talent programme (2010)


Visiting address

Office: Mandeville Building T10-09
Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3062 PA Rotterdam

Postal address

Postbus 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam