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Research interests

Marilisa Boffo is associate professor in clinical psychology and digital behavioral health at the Faculty of Social and Behavioral Sciences of the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Trained as a clinical psychologist and research methodologist, she combines the two worlds into the design and empirical investigation of digital interventions for behavior change. 

The core focus of her research across her career has been the translation of behavioral science insights into creative digital solutions to bring tangible influence in the lives of the people engaging with them. This also transpires in the contents of the courses she coordinates (i.e., Design of Digital Interventions master course). In the past 10 years, her applied research has evolved around leveraging the power and affordances of digital technology to bring a positive impact. She recently launched together with an exciting team of colleagues at the Erasmus University Rotterdam the Wellbeing and Virtual Environments Lab (Wave Lab), an interdisciplinary team of behavioral scientists and designers collectively bringing behavioral science, design, and technology to stimulate positive behavioral change and wellbeing in people's lives.

During her PhD, Marilisa focused on the validity of implicit measures in psychopathology and, in collaboration with Prof. Reinout Wiers and the AdaptLab at the University of Amsterdam, explored the innovative application of these measures, creating digital training interventions in support of cognitive control in the field of alcohol addiction (i.e., Cognitive Bias Modification interventions). She further specialized in the design and systematic evaluation of digital interventions for behavior change, implementing a diverse spectrum of behavior change techniques, interventions, and approaches within a digital environment, primarily in the alcohol and gambling addiction field. This included the design and evaluation of a portfolio of web and/or mobile serious games in collaboration with the Technological University of Deft (NL), mental health care institutions, and a serious games company (&RanJ). She co-developed a line of research into the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying gambling addiction (e.g., approach bias) and on designing and testing novel interventions for problematic gambling (e.g., CBM, web-based motivational feedback, e-CBT). She has recently expanded the focus of interventions not only for secondary prevention of gambling problems, but also for primary and indicated prevention promoting responsible gambling practices for all gamblers.

Next to her research work in the digital behavior change field, Marilisa is the coordinator of the master track in Health Psychology and Digital Interventions, in collaboration with Prof. Semiha Denktas and Dr. Paul Kocken, and coordinator and teacher of two courses: Design of Digital Interventions and Research Methods for Behavior Change. 

Since 2019, Marilisa has taken up the role of Academic Leader of the EUR Student Wellbeing Program, a university-wide comprehensive programme devoted to the promotion and support of students' wellbeing, (mental) health and student success during their journey along their university years. 

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Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

ERMeCHS research clusters

  • STiCS - Sustainable Transitions in Culture & Societies
  • VEGAS - Virtual Environments, Games and Society


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