Marijn Poortvliet    


Personal information

P. Marijn Poortvliet, PhD

Associate Professor

Strategic Communication Chairgroup

Communication, Philosophy, and Technology: Centre for Integrative Development

Wageningen University
Hollandseweg 1, Room 4054

6706 KN Wageningen
the Netherlands


Postal address:

P.O. Box 8130
6700 EW Wageningen

the Netherlands

Phone: (+31) 317 4
84 004
E-mail: marijn.poortvliet -at-


Research interest


Human life is full of hazards and risks: climate change, food hazards, overpopulation, biotechnology, vector diseases, soil degradation, pollution, extreme weather events, and so forth. Importantly, a risk is the probability that an agent experiences some negative effect when this agent is exposed and vulnerable to the hazard. So, hazards typically do not create much interest in isolation but they become meaningful because they have effects on, and interact with, humans and societies. Therefore, in order to have a full understanding of these phenomena it is key to get insights in not just the nature of hazards, but also the risk they may bring about. An important aspect in this regard is the interaction between hazards and the social context. One way of doing this is by studying the social and communicative aspects of life science problems because this helps in understanding how societies perceive and deal with risks, and because insights in these phenomena allows for designing communication interventions that can mitigate of control life science risks. For these reasons I study risk communication in life science contexts.


My primary research interest addresses the interplay between psychological and communicative processes in situations of risk and uncertainty. For instance, the mere fact that individuals may – albeit falsely or not – assume a particular phenomenon is risky may sort significant reality effects: facts are facts, but perceptions are reality. Having a background as a social and organizational psychologist with an expertise in motivation provides me with the capacity to explore the role of relevant individual factors in contexts of risk and uncertainty. Importantly, it also allows for studying key processes – such as risk perceptions and levels of trust – that define the individual in relation to the social and institutional environment.


I understand risk communication as the communicative process that enables people and groups to make informed choices for themselves in contexts of risk. Various forms of risk communication have been described such as care communication (e.g., promoting healthy life styles) and consensus communication (e.g., the negotiation process between farmers, citizens and water boards on the acceptable height of dykes). As these examples illustrate, rather than being a top-down practice of simply informing people about hazards (the ‘sender-receiver’-model), risk communication can be better understood as the multifaceted communicative interactions between involved risk parties that influence one another, via various channels, with various agendas, departing from various power positions. This makes studying these phenomena both complex and crucial for understanding (systemic) risks in a globalizing world.


Three research lines make up my research agenda. First, I study how psychological factors interact with risk communication. For example, sometimes risk communication has an impact on risk perceptions, but sometimes the relation is reversed: risk perceptions can also shape the dynamics of risk communication. The second research line deals with behavioral and communicative factors that explain the adoption of (novel) technologies and practices, because the uptake is often associated with risk and uncertainty associated with novel technology. The last line builds on the second, but takes a higher levels perspective. In this third research line I study how behavioral and communicative factors in uptake of practices interact with other and higher level factors, such as the economic and systemic features in which the practice is embedded. Together, these lines of research address the communicative interaction between humans and life science issues defined by risk and uncertainty. As such, these lines form my agenda on risk communication in life science contexts.




(Note: All articles are the sole copyright of the respective publishers, and are provided for educational use only)


Feindt, P. F., & Poortvliet, P. M. (in press). Consumer reactions to unfamiliar technologies: Mental and social formation of perceptions and attitudes toward nano and GM products. Journal of Risk Research.


Ngo, C. C., Poortvliet, P. M., & Feindt, P. F. (in press). Drivers of flood and climate change risk perceptions and intention to adapt: An explorative survey in coastal and delta Vietnam. Journal of Risk Research.


Schiller, K., Godek, W., Poortvliet, P. M., & Klerkx, L. (in press). Nicaragua's agroecological transition: Transformation or reconfiguration of the agri-food regime? Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.


Schiller, K., Klerkx, L., Poortvliet, P. M., & Godek, W. (in press). Exploring barriers to the agroecological transition in Nicaragua: A Technological Innovation Systems approach. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.


Asingizwe, D., Poortvliet, P. M., Koenraadt, C. J. M., Van Vliet, A. J. H., Ingabire, C. M., Mutesa, L., & Leeuwis, C. (2019). Role of individual perceptions in the consistent use of malaria preventive measures: Mixed methods evidence from rural Rwanda. Malaria Journal, 18, 270. link to article


Bopp, C., Engler, A., Poortvliet, P. M., Jara-Rojas, R. (2019). The role of farmers’ intrinsic motivation in the effectiveness of policy incentives to promote sustainable agricultural practices. Journal of Environmental Management, 244, 320-327. link to article


Boersma, R., Poortvliet, P. M., & Gremmen, B. (2019). The elephant in the room: How a technology’s name affects its interpretation. Public Understanding of Science, 28, 218-233. link to article


Engler, A., Poortvliet, P. M., & Klerkx, L. (2019). Toward understanding conservation behavior in agriculture as a dynamic and mutually responsive process between individuals and the social system. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 74, 74A-80A.


Ibañez-Justicia, A., Poortvliet, P. M., & Koenraadt, C. J. M. (2019). Evaluating the perceptions of risk and identifying undocumented introduction pathways of invasive mosquito species in Europe by mosquito experts. Medical and Veterinary Entomology, 33, 78-88. link to article


Joffre, O. M., Poortvliet, P. M., & Klerkx, L. (2019). To cluster or not to cluster farmers? Influences on network interactions, risk perceptions, and adoption of aquaculture practices. Agricultural Systems, 173, 151-160. link to article


Meuwissen, M., Feindt, P., Spiegel, A., Termeer, C., Mathijs, E., De Mey, Y., Finger, R., Balmann, A., Wauters, E., Urquhart, J., Vigani, M., Zawalińska, K., Herrera, H., Nicholas-Davies, P., Hansson, H., Paas, W., Slijper, T., Coopmans, I., Vroege, W., Ciechomska, A., Accatino, F., Kopainsky, B., Poortvliet, P. M., Candel, J., Maye, D., Severini, S., Senni, S., Soriano, B., Lagerkvist, C. J., Peneva, M., Gavrilescu, C., & Reidsma, P. (2019). A framework to assess the resilience of farming systems. Agricultural Systems, 176, 102656. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Knotters, M., Verstoep, J., Van Wijk, J., & Bergsma, P. (2019). On the communication of statistical information about uncertainty in flood risk management. Safety Science, 118, 194-204. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Purnhagen, K., Boersma, R., & Gremmen, B. (2019). On the legal categorisation of New Plant Breeding Technologies: Insights from communication science and ways forward. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 10, 180-186. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Van der Pas, L., Mulder, B. C., & Fogliano, V. (2019). Healthy, but disgusting: An investigation into consumers’ willingness to try insect meat. Journal of Economic Entomology, 112, 1005-1010. link to article


Asingizwe, D., Poortvliet, P. M., Koenraadt, C. J. M., Van Vliet, A. J. H., Murindahabi, M. M., Ingabire, C., Mutesa, L., & Feindt, P. H. (2018). Applying citizen science for malaria prevention in Rwanda: An integrated conceptual framework. NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 86/87, 111-122. link to article


Beza, E., Reidsma, P., Poortvliet, P. M., Belay, M. M., Bijen, B. S., & Kooistra, L. (2018). Exploring farmers’ intentions to adopt mobile Short Message Service (SMS) for citizen science in agriculture. Computers and Electronics in Agriculture, 151, 295-310. link to article


Joffre, O. M., Poortvliet, P. M., & Klerkx, L. (2018). Are shrimp farmers actual gamblers? An analysis of risk perception and risk management behaviors among shrimp farmers in the Mekong Delta. Aquaculture, 495, 528-537. link to article


Murindahabi, M. M., Asingizwe, D., Poortvliet, P. M., Van Vliet, A. J. H., Hakizimana, E., Mutesa, L., Takken, W., & Koenraadt, C. J. M. (2018). A citizen science approach for malaria mosquito surveillance and control in Rwanda. NJAS Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 86/87, 101-110. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Sanders, L, Weijma, J., & De Vries, J. R. (2018). Acceptance of new sanitation: The role of end-users' pro-environmental personal norms and risk and benefit perceptions. Water Research, 131, 90-99. link to article


Schoelitsz, B., Poortvliet, P. M., & Takken, W. (2018). Factors driving public tolerance levels and information-seeking behaviour concerning insects in the household environment. Pest Management Science. 74, 1478-1493. link to article


Stone, V., Führ, M., Feindt, P. H., Bouwmeester, H., Linkov, I., Sabella, S., Murphy, F., Bizer, K., Tran, L., Ågerstrand, M., Fito, C., Andersen, T., Anderson, D., Bergamaschi, E., Cherrie, J. W., Cowan, S., Dalemcourt, J.-F., Faure, M., Gabbert, S., Gajewicz, A., Fernandes, T. F., Hristozov, D., Johnston, H. J., Lansdown, T. C., Linder, S., Marvin, H. J. P., Mullins, M., Purnhagen, K., Puzyn, T., Sanchez Jimenez, A., Scott-Fordsmand, J. J., Streftaris, G., Van Tongeren, M., Voelcker, N. H., Voyiatzis, G., Yannopoulos, S. N., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2018). The essential elements of a risk governance framework for current and future nanotechnologies. Risk Analysis, 38, 1321-1331. link to article


Van Asselt, M., Poortvliet, P. M., Ekkel, E. D., Kemp, B., & Stassen, E. N. (2018). Risk perceptions of public health and food safety hazards in poultry husbandry by citizens, poultry farmers and poultry veterinarians. Poultry Science, 97, 607-619. link to article


Hoeksma, D. L., Gerritzen, M. A., Lokhorst, A. M., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2017). An extended theory of planned behavior to predict consumers' willingness to buy mobile slaughter unit meat. Meat Science, 128, 15-23. link to article


Hunecke, C., Engler, A., Jara-Rojas, R., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2017). Understanding the role of social capital in adoption decisions: An application to irrigation technology. Agricultural Systems, 153, 221-231 link to article


Van der Heijden, A., Mulder, B. C., Poortvliet, P. M., & Van Vliet, A. J. H. (2017). Social-cognitive determinants of the tick check: A cross-sectional study on self-protective behavior in combatting Lyme disease. BMC Public Health, 17, 900. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M. (2016). Mastery goals. In V. Zeigler-Hill & T. K. Shackelford (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Dordrecht, the Netherlands: Springer. link to chapter


Poortvliet, P. M., Duineveld, M., & Purnhagen, K. (2016). Performativity in action: How risk communication interacts in risk regulation. European Journal of Risk Regulation, 7, 213-217. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., & Lokhorst, A. M. (2016). The key role of experiential uncertainty when dealing with risks: Its relationships with demand for regulation and institutional trust. Risk Analysis, 36, 1615-1629. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Anseel, F., & Theuwis, F. (2015). Mastery-approach and mastery-avoidance goals and their relation with exhaustion and engagement at work: The roles of emotional and instrumental support. Work & Stress, 29, 150-170. link to article


Mulder, B. C., Poortvliet, P. M., Lugtig, P., & De Bruin, M. (2014). Explaining end-users intentions to use innovative medical and food biotechnology. Biotechnology Journal, 9, 997-999. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., & Darnon, C. (2014). Understanding positive attitudes toward helping peers: The role of mastery goals and academic self-efficacy. Self and Identity, 13, 345-363. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., & Perdeck, J. (2014). Mastery-approach doelen en zelfeffectiviteit als voorspellers van burnout en werkbevlogenheid: De adaptieve rol van het vormen van uitwisselingsrelaties met collega’s [Mastery-approach goals and self-efficacy as predictors of burnout and work engagement: The adaptive role of team-member exchange quality]. Gedrag en Organisatie, 27, 188-211. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M. (2013). Harming others’ task-related efforts: The distinct competitive effects of ranking information on performance and mastery goal individuals. Social Psychology, 44, 373-379. link to article


Darnon, C., Dompnier, B., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2012). Achievement goals in educational contexts: A social psychology perspective. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6, 760-771. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Anseel, F., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2012). Perverse effects of other-referenced performance goals in an information exchange context. Journal of Business Ethics, 106, 401-414. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., & Giebels, E. (2012). Self-improvement and cooperation: How exchange relationships promote mastery-approach driven individuals’ job outcomes. European Journal of Work and Organizational Psychology, 21, 392-425. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., & Darnon, C. (2010). Toward a more social understanding of achievement goals: The interpersonal effects of mastery and performance goals. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 324-328. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M. (2009). Examining the effects of mastery and performance goals on information exchange processes. Netherlands Journal of Psychology, 65, 51-63. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M. (2009). Socio-cognitieve conflictregulatie: Constructie en validatie van een Nederlandstalige vragenlijst [Socio-cognitive conflict regulation: Construction and validation of a Dutch instrument]. Gedrag en Organisatie, 22, 136-145. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2009). Low ranks make the difference: How achievement goals and ranking information affect cooperation intentions. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45, 1144-1147. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2009). The joint impact of achievement goals and performance feedback on information giving. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 31, 197-209. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2007). Achievement goals and interpersonal behavior: How mastery and performance goals shape information exchange. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1435-1447. link to article


Thau, S., Aquino, K., & Poortvliet, P. M. (2007). Self-defeating behaviors in organizations: The relationship between thwarted belonging and interpersonal work behaviors. Journal of Applied Psychology, 92, 840-847. link to article


Van den Bos, K., Euwema, M., Poortvliet, P. M., & Maas, M. (2007). Uncertainty management and social issues: Uncertainty as an important determinant of reactions to socially deviating people. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 37, 1726-1756. link to article


Van den Bos, K., Poortvliet, P. M., Maas, M., Miedema, J., & Van den Ham, E.-J. (2005). An enquiry concerning the principles of cultural norms and values: The impact of uncertainty and mortality salience on reactions to violations and bolstering of cultural worldviews. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 41, 91-113. link to article

Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., & Van Yperen, N. W. (2004). Prestatiemotivatie in interpersoonlijke context: De betekenis van doeloriëntaties voor feedback zoeken en sociale uitwisseling met leidinggevenden en collega's [Achievement motivation in an interpersonal context: The meaning of goal orientations in feedback seeking and social exchange with leaders and co-workers]. Gedrag en Organisatie, 17, 6, 402-413. link to article


Other Publications


Knotters, M., Poortvliet, P. M., Verstoep, J., Van Wijk, J., & Bergsma, P. (2017). Communiceren van statistische informatie over onzekerheid in het tactisch-strategische waterkwantiteitsbeheer. STOWA-rapport 2017-21. Amersfoort, the Netherlands: STOWA. link to report


Poortvliet, P. M. (2015). Het sociale leven van kakkerlakken: Wat we van kakkerlakken kunnen leren over menselijk gedrag. Dierplagen Informatie, 18, 12.


Van Putten, M. J., Poortvliet, P. M., & Van Vliet, A. J. H. (2014). Bescherming tegen de ziekte van Lyme: Natuurbezoek en preventiegedrag om de ziekte van Lyme te voorkomen. Landschap, 31, 222-229.


Stikvoort, B. T., Poortvliet, P. M., & Elands, B. H. M. (2013). Wolven en zwijnen, acceptabel risico? Landschap, 30, 108-117.


Stikvoort, B. T., Poortvliet, P. M., & Elands, B. H. M. (2012). Risicoperceptie en risico-acceptatie van Nederlanders betreffende wolven en wilde zwijnen. In M. Strick, M. Baas, L. Van Dillen, R. Dotsch, D. Lakens, & M. De Vries (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2012 (pp. 211-214). Groningen, the Netherlands: ASPO Pers.


Poortvliet, P. M. (2011). Samen voor ons eigen: Hoe zelfeffectiviteit de relatie tussen leerdoelen en hulpvaardigheid kan verklaren. In B. Derks, R. J. Renes, K. Ruys, N. Van de Ven, & M. Vliek (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2010 (pp. 307-314). Groningen, the Netherlands: ASPO Pers.


Poortvliet, P. M. (2009). Motivatie en samenwerking: Hoe prestatiedoelen een effect hebben op informatie-uitwisseling. De Psycholoog, 44, 492-497. link to article


Poortvliet, P. M. (2008). Information exchange examined: An interpersonal account of achievement goals. Dissertation, University of Groningen.


Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2008). Waarom competente mensen met masterydoelen opener zijn: Het gezamenlijke effect van prestatiedoelen en competentie op informatieverstrekking. In B. Beersma, R. Custers, F. Van Harreveld, W. Van Rijswijk, & J. Karremans (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2007 (pp. 259-266). Groningen, the Netherlands: ASPO Pers.


Poortvliet, P. M. (2007). Zelfverbeteraars delen anders dan strebers. Published online at link to article


Poortvliet, P. M., Janssen, O., Van Yperen, N. W., & Van de Vliert, E. (2006). Laat je mij in de kou staan? De effecten van prestatiedoelen op informatie-uitwisseling. In R. Holland, J. Ouwerkerk, C. Van Laar, R. Ruiter, & J. Ham (Eds.), Jaarboek Sociale Psychologie 2005 (pp. 381-388). Groningen, the Netherlands: ASPO Pers.


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