Zebel, dr. S. (Sven)

Sven Zebel

Assistant professor






Mo. / Th. / Wed. / Thu. / Fr.



Cubicus, room C 233



+31 (0)53 – 489 3974



+31 (0)53 – 489 5279






+31 (0)53 – 489 2895














My research interests and experience concern the psychological reactions to misbehavior, conflicts and criminal offences, as well as the impact of interventions aimed at restoration and/or at reducing the probability of recidivism (e.g. victim-offender mediation, perspective taking, victim impact courses among prisoners). In investigating these reactions, I focus on different parties (victims, offenders, third parties) and on the use of technology to reinforce such interventions. In doing so, I make use of notions from social psychology, criminology and restorative justice. My research subdivides in three areas of interest:

Victim-offender mediation after criminal acts

In Europe and abroad, victims and offenders have the opportunity to exchange emotional information after an offense in a victim-offender meeting (VOM). Professional mediators supervise these voluntary meetings; in the Netherlands the Dutch foundation Slachtoffer in Beeld [Victim in Focus] organizes these meetings. In collaboration with this foundation, i examine the needs and willingness of victims and offenders to participate in VOM, its psychological effects on parties, as well as new opportunities for online communication between parties during VOM (see PhD project Lisanne van den Berg below). In addition, together with researchers from Maastricht University, i examine the relationship between offenders’ participation in mediation (as a diversion from prosecution in court) and their degree of recidivism afterwards (see Claessen et al., 2015 below).

Perspective-taking, conflict, and identity

One line of research in this domain concerns the PhD project of Marian van Dijk that i co-supervise (promotor Ellen Giebels; see below). The project aims to unravel the effects that online legal help has on civilians in conflict. A second line of research focuses on civilians’ willingness to take the perspective of convicted offenders who return to society, and which consequences perspective-taking can have for the labeling of and desired social distance to such ex-offenders.

Crime and recidivism

Research interests in this domain focus on (a) the effects of direct and indirect questioning on admitting acts of cybercrime, and (b) the relationship between imagination of a future self and the degree of recidivism of convicted offenders.




Module Research Methods and -Project (bachelor)


Psychology of Safety (bachelor)


Research Methods in Psychology (master)


Guest lecture Forensic Psychology (master)






Supervision of Bachelor- and Master theses



Coordination of Bachelor- and Master theses PCRS



Design and Implementation of ICT-based communication systems in victim-offender mediation

PhD student: Lisanne van den Berg

Supervision together with dr. Marielle Stoelinga, prof. dr. Boudewijn Haverkort (both UT/EWI), prof. dr. Ellen Giebels (UT)

Funded by the Tech4People program, BMS faculty

Early triage in conflict

PhD student: Marian van Dijk

Supervision in collaboration with prof. dr. Ellen Giebels (UT)

Funded by the Council for Legal Aid, Ministry of Justice


Submitted for publication (peer-review)

Zebel, S., Schreurs, W., & Ufkes, E. G. (2016). Victims’ willingness to participate in victim-offender mediation: The role of offense seriousness and time elapsed since the offense.

Peer-reviewed articles

Dijk, M. van, Giebels, E., & Zebel, S. (2016). Building strength or lending an ear in legal conflicts: Dependence and conflict asymmetry as distinct predictors of needs for support. Negotiation and Conflict Management Research, 9, 3-21. DOI: 10.1111/ncmr.12066

Magendans, J., Gutteling, J., & Zebel, S. (2016). Psychological determinants of financial buffer saving: The influence of financial risk tolerance and regulatory focus. Journal of Risk Research, DOI: 10.1080/13669877.2016.1147491

Claessen, J.A.A.C., Zeles, G., Zebel, S. & Nelen, H. (2015). Bemiddeling in strafzaken in Maastricht III. Onderzoek naar recidive bij jeugdigen en volwassenen.[Mediation in criminal cases in Maastricht III: An examination of the recidivism rates of juveniles and adults]. Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht, 15 (4), 9-24.

Claessen, J.A.A.C., Zeles, G., Zebel, S. & Nelen, H. (2015). Bemiddeling in strafzaken in Maastricht II. Onderzoek naar de samenhang tussen bemiddeling en recidive. [Mediation in criminal cases in Maastricht II: An examination of the association between mediation and recidivism rates]. Nederlands Juristenblad, 29, 2015-2025.

Schreurs, W., Zebel, S., & Ufkes, E. (2014). Slachtoffer-daderbemiddeling bij ernstige misdrijven. [Victim-offender mediation after serious offenses]. Tijdschrift voor Herstelrecht, 14 (4), 10-22.

Zebel, S., Vries, P. de, Karemaker, M., & Ufkes, E. (2014). Monitoren moet zicht geven op groep jeugdige cyberdaders [Monitoring as a way to gain insight into group of youthful offenders of cybercrime]. Secondant, 6 oktober 2014, link

Kamau, C., Giner-Sorolla, R., & Zebel, S. (2013). Reconciliation responses, blame and expressions of guilt or shame. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 43, E287–E292. DOI: 10.1111/jasp.12048

Figueiredo, A. M., Doosje, B., Valentim, J. P., & Zebel, S. (2010). Dealing with past colonial conflicts: How perceived characteristics of the victimized outgroup can influence the experience of group-based guilt. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 4, 89-105.

Zebel, S., Doosje, B., & Spears, R. (2009). How perspective-taking helps and hinders group-based guilt as a function of group identification. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 12, 61-78.

Zebel, S., Doosje, B., & Spears, R. (2009). The threat of those who “understand”: Ways in which out-groups induce guilt. European Journal of Social Psychology, 39, 154-162.

Pennekamp, S. F., Doosje, B., Zebel, S., & Henriquez, A. A. (2009). In matters of opinion, what matters is the group: Minority group members’ emotional reactions to messages about identity expression. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology¸ 45, 778-787.

Leach, C. W., Van Zomeren, M., Zebel, S., Vliek, M. L. W., Pennekamp, S. F., Doosje, B., Ouwerkerk, J. W., & Spears, R. (2008). Group-level self-definition and self-investment: A hierarchical (multi-component) model of in-group identification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 144-165. 

Zebel, S., Zimmermann, A., Viki, G. T., & Doosje, B. (2008). Dehumanization and guilt as related but distinct predictors of support for reparation policies. Political Psychology, 29, 193-219.

Doosje, B., Zebel, S., Scheermeier, M., & Mathyi, P. (2007). Attributions of responsibility for terrorist attacks: The role of group membership and identification. International Journal of Conflict and Violence, 1, 127-141  

Zebel, S., Pennekamp, S. F., Van Zomeren, M., Doosje, B., Van Kleef, G. A., Vliek, M. L. W., & Van der Schalk, J. (2007). Vessels with gold or guilt: Emotional reactions to family involvement associated with glorious or gloomy aspects of the colonial past. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 10, 71-86.

Pennekamp, S. F., Doosje, B., Zebel, S., & Fischer, A. H. (2007). The past and the pending: The antecedents and consequences of group-based anger in historically and currently disadvantaged groups. Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, 10, 41-56.

Research reports (externally funded):

Zebel, S., Vroom, M. & Ufkes, E. (2016). Herstelgerichte cursussen in detentie: Evaluatie van Puinruimen, SOS en DAPPER. [Victim impact courses among prisoners: An evaluation of Puinruimen, SOS en DAPPER]. Research commissioned by the WODC. Enschede: Universiteit Twente. link

Zebel, S., Vries, P. de, Giebels, E., Kuttschreuter, M. & Stol, W. (2014). Jeugdige daders van cybercrime in Nederland: Een empirische verkenning [Youthful offenders of cybercrime in the Netherland: An empirical exploration.] Research commissioned by the WODC. Enschede: Universiteit Twente. link

Zebel, S., Alberda, D. & Wartna, B. (2014). Recidive na een reclasseringscontact: Overzicht en analyse van de terugval van personen met een werkstraf of toezicht in de periode 2002-2009 [Recidivism after probation contact: Overview and analyses of the relapse into crime of individuals with a community service sanction or probation supervision during 2002-2009.] Research commissioned by the three probation organisations in the Netherlands. Den Haag: WODC / Universiteit Twente. link

Book Chapters:

Top, E., Zebel, S., & Van der Berg, M. (2015). Slachtoffer-dadercontact: een stap verder in de verwerking. [Victim-offender contact: a step further in the recovery of crime.]. In J. van Vliet (Ed.), De recidivist als medeburger. [The recidivist as fellow civilian] (121-134). Amsterdam: SWP.

Zebel, S., Vries, P. de, Giebels, E., Kuttschreuter, M., Stol, W., Karemaker, M., & Ufkes, E. (2015). Een screenshot van jeugdige daders van cybercrime in Nederland [A screenshot of youthful offenders of cybercrime in the Netherlands]. In I. Weijers en Eliaerts, C. (Eds.), Jeugdcriminologie: Achtergronden van jeugdcriminaliteit [Youth criminology: Background factors of juvenile delinquency] (pp. 355-372). Den Haag: Boom Lemma.

Van der Berg, M. & Zebel, S. (2013). Onderbouwing van een structurele voorziening voor slachtoffers: Effecten van de Nederlandse slachtoffer-dadergesprekken. [Substantiation of a structural service for victims: Effects of the Dutch victim-offender meetings]. In J. Ouwerkerk, T. de Wit, J. Claessen, P. Jacobs, & S. Meijer (Eds.), Hoe te reageren op misdaad? Op zoek naar de hedendaagse betekenis van preventie, vergelding en herstel. [How to respond to crime? In search of the contemporary meaning of prevention, retribution and restoration.] Den Haag: SDU Uitgevers.

Zebel, S. (2012). Een quasi-experimentele studie naar de effecten van de Nederlandse slachtoffer-dadergesprekken [A quasi-experimental study into the effects of the Dutch victim-offender meetings]. In I. Weijers (Ed.), Bemiddeling na strafbare feiten: De Nederlandse slachtoffer-dadergesprekken [Mediation after punishable offences: The Dutch victim-offender meetings] (pp. 21-44). Den Haag: Boom Juridische uitgevers.

Zebel, S., Lelivelt, M., & Duinstra, U. (2009). Slachtoffers en daders over en met elkaar: Slachtoffer in Beeld [Victims and offenders about and with each other: Victim in Focus]. In S. Leferink (Ed.), Goed recht: 25 jaar Slachtofferhulp Nederland [Proper Justice: 25 years Victim Support The Netherlands] (pp.228-237). Utrecht: Slachtofferhulp Nederland.

Zebel, S., Doosje, B., & Spears, R. (2004). It depends on your point of view: Implications of perspective-taking and national identification for Dutch collective guilt. In N.R. Branscombe & B. Doosje (Eds.), Collective guilt: International perspectives (pp.148-168). New York: Cambridge University Press.