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Peggy Bongers

Postdoctoral researcher



  • - Emotional eating
  • - Learning/conditioning processes
  • - Obesity


My research as a PhD-student focused on emotional eating, which refers to increasing ones food intake in response to experiencing emotions. Examples of questions I asked are: Is emotional eating something that happens only in response to negative emotions, as is often assumed, or are positive emotions also relevant? And how does emotional eating develop? To answer this latter question, I focused on classical conditioning, and how it is involved in eating in response to emotions in two of my studies. In another study, I investigated whether emotional eaters overeat only after emotions, or whether there are many different cues in the environment that elicit eating behaviour in this group. At this moment, as a post-doctoral researcher, I do not only focus on how people respond to internal and external cues that predict the arrival of palatable food (cue reactivity), but also on inhibiting this through cue exposure with response prevention. Because cued overeating can eventually lead to becoming overweight or even obese, it’s very important to gain more knowledge about this issue.


I am the course coordinator of the third year elective Health Psychology. I enjoy being (or having been) a tutor in several courses, both at FPN and FHML, including Bad Habits, Health Psychology, Psychopathology, Research into Psychopathology, Research: How to do it?, Addiction, Personality Disorders, Skills IV, Eating Behaviors, and Discover Psychology. Furthermore, I have given lectures in the courses Health Psychology, Eating Disorders, and Consumer Behavior and Understanding (UM Venlo).


Students who would like to write their bachelor- or master thesis about a topic related to my field of research are welcome to send me an email. Some possibilities are obesity, eating behaviour, emotional and external eating, cue exposure, cue reactivity and conditioning. Students who are interested in doing an individual elective are welcome as well.

International publications

Jansen, A., Schyns, G., Bongers P., & van den Akker, A. (2016). From lab to clinic: Extinction of cued cravings to reduce overeating. Physiology & Behavior, 162, 174-180. [Download PDF]

Bongers P., de Graaff, A., & Jansen, A. (2016). ‘Emotional’ does not even start to cover it: Generalization of overeating in emotional eaters. Appetite, 96, 611-616. [Download PDF]

Bongers P., & Jansen, A. (2015). Emotional eating and Pavlovian learning: Evidence for conditioned appetitive responding to negative emotional states. Cognition and Emotion. [Download PDF]

Bongers P., van den Akker, K., Havermans, R., & Jansen, A. (2015). Emotional eating and Pavlovian learning: Does negative mood facilitate appetitive conditioning? Appetite, 89, 226-236. [Download PDF]

Bongers P., van de Giessen, E., Roefs, A., Nederkoorn, C., Booij, J., van den Brink, W., & Jansen, A. (2015). Being impulsive and obese increases susceptibility to speeded detection of high-calorie foods. Health Psychology, 34, 677-685. [Download PDF]

Bongers, P., Jansen, A., Houben, K., & Roefs, A. (2013). Happy eating: the Single-Target Implicit Association Test predicts overeating after positive emotions. Eating Behaviors, 14, 348-355. [Download PDF]

Bongers, P., Jansen, A., Havermans, R., Roefs, A., & Nederkoorn, C. (2013) Happy eating: the underestimated role of overeating in a positive mood. Appetite, 67, 74-80. [Download PDF]

Papachristou, H., Nederkoorn, C., Havermans, R., Bongers, P., Beunen, S., & Jansen, A. (2013). Higher levels of trait impulsiveness and a less effective response inhibition are linked to more intense cue-elicited craving for alcohol in alcohol-dependent patients. Psychopharmacology, 228, 641-649. [Download PDF]

Jansen, A., Nederkoorn, C., Roefs, A., Bongers, P., Teugels, T., & Havermans, R. (2011). The proof of the pudding is in the eating: Is the DEBQ – External Eating Scale a valid measure of external eating? International Journal of Eating Disorders, 44, 164-168. [Download PDF]

Dutch publications

Bongers, P., & van den Akker, K. (2015). Deskundigen in het voedseldoolhof. Bespreking van ‘Het Voedsellabyrint’ van J. Seidell en J. Halberstadt en ‘Overgewicht en gezondheid’ van E. Van Thiel. De Psycholoog.

Bongers, P. (2014). De emotionele eter bestaat niet. De Psycholoog, 49, 28-33[Download PDF]

Bongers, P., Jansen, A., Papachristou, H., Nederkoorn, C., & Havermans, R. (2012). Over de te vroege teloorgang van exposuretherapie voor verslaafden. Wat is een goede exposure? Directieve Therapie, 3, 199-211. [Download PDF]