Erasmus Love Lab

Started February 14th 2021, the Erasmus Behavioural Lab (EBL) hosts the interdisciplinary Erasmus Love Lab (ELL) in room T12-07.

The set-up and mission of the Erasmus Love Lab are unique in the Netherlands and internationally. The ELL is specifically designed to accommodate the high-quality scientific study of sensitive topics like intimate relationships, love, and sexuality, for which the right research environment is crucial. Studying sensitive topics requires extra attention for privacy, trust and a comfortable atmosphere. Especially these last aspects are often hard to come by in the clinical research labs where such research is often conducted. Whereas white walls and soberly decorated spaces is relevant for some research goals, such a setting is often counterproductive for this type of research. Creating a comfortable environment and a confidential professional relationship between researchers and participants, are important processes within research designs focusing on sensitive topics. To yield reliable and valid research findings, it is paramount that participants feel comfortable in the research setting to share their personal, intimate experiences, and that the research setting simulates the daily context of such experiences, so that observed behaviors of participants match their normal behaviors. In addition, a positive participant experience for this type of research is also important from an ethical point of view.

The ELL offers a space for research and clinical activities that require extra attention for the following aspects:

  • Privacy and safety. The ELL is an environment with the highest standards for privacy, confidentiality, and safety. Specifically, it is a separate space within the EBL, with a door that can be locked from the inside (for safety, it can be opened from the outside by the EBL management and security officers). A lamp, located at the outside of the door, indicates ongoing activities in the room. It has no see-through parts (like, glass) in the walls or door. On both sides of the ELL, the adjacent rooms can be planned to be inactive/empty, to prevent sounds coming in or out through the walls. The EBL offers a confidential waiting room area, and two possible points of entrance/exit with two different lift shafts.
  • Welcoming and ecologically valid atmosphere. The ELL is an environment that has a proper atmosphere (homely, nice, warm, welcoming) for activities involving sensitive topics. This is achieved through a combination of: furniture, decoration, and lighting. As a result, the atmosphere in the ELL is less clinical compared to other spaces, and offers a more inviting setting to accommodate high-quality scientific research activities on sensitive topics.
  • Multipurpose setting. The ELL offers facilities for various research activities, e.g., (online) questionnaire assessments, experimental computer tasks, interviewing, focus groups, diary methods, (video) observations, and physiological measures. It can host individuals, dyads (e.g., couples), and groups, both for research and clinical (e.g., therapeutical) purposes.

The interdisciplinary research team of the Erasmus Love Lab consists of researchers who perform high-quality and societally relevant scientific research on intimate relationships, love, and sexuality. They are embedded in different disciplines: Pedagogical Sciences, Clinical Psychology, Child & Adolescent Psychology, and Sociology. They study various topics related to intimate relationships, love, and sexuality among varying populations (e.g., youth, adults, people with autism-spectrum disorders), and utilize multiple research methods. Examples of current projects are research on implicit attitudes toward sexual violence and sexual pleasure, and research on the mutual interrelatedness between love and sex in partner relationships of young adults.

The ELL welcomes new interdisciplinary collaborations. Interested researchers from within and outside EUR (also internationally), students, stakeholders (e.g., societal partners), and media can contact the ELL via: 

A peek into the Erasmus Love Lab (ELL)

Photos of the Erasmus Love Lab