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Dr JEssica Alleva

Dr Jessica Alleva is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychological Science at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, and Visiting Researcher at The Centre for Appearance Research in Bristol, the UK. As a researcher, her key mission is to improve the way people think and feel about their own body. Her research projects include, among others, the development of techniques for improving body image and investigating their underlying mechanisms that can explain body image improvement, putting the spotlight on topics such as (positive) body image, body functionality, sexual objectification, gender and women's psychology, the influence of media on body image and well-being, and social psychology.   

She is a lecturer and tutor for various MA & BSc courses, including Self-Regulation (Master of Health and Social Psychology, Maastricht University), Social Psychology (University College Maastricht), and Eating Disorders (Research Master Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience, Maastricht University). She is also the coordinator of “Mind Your Body" (Bachelor of Psychology, Maastricht University), a course about body image, media, eating disorders, and body positivity, and supervises MA and BSc theses and research projects on these topics. 

Dr Jessica Alleva has been honoured for her important work on improving body image. For example, she received the 2016 Seymour Fisher Outstanding Body Image Dissertation Award from Body Image: An International Journal of Research, as well as the Distinguished Women Scientist Fund 2016 from the Dutch Network of Women Professors. She was also included in the VIVA400 – a list of ambitious and inspiring women in the Netherlands who have made a difference in their field and the community.

Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has been presented at academic conferences around the globe. In addition, she regularly shares her research with the broader public via interviews with [inter]national media, community-based events, and her articles for Psychology Today.

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We live in an appearance-obsessed culture, which can encourage us to place far too much importance on how we look. This, in turn, can lead to a more negative body image. My research shows that focusing noton how our body looks, but rather on all of the amazing things that it can do, is one powerful way to reduce negative body image and feel more body positive.
— Jessica