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Sylvie Bernaerts

Sylvie Bernaerts

Care and Well-being - People and Well-being

Sylvie Bernaerts (PhD) is a researcher in the People and Well-being research group, research line Psychology and technology. Her areas of expertise are immersive technology in (mental) health care and ethics committee applications.

About Sylvie

Sylvie holds a master's degree in psychology (clinical and health psychology) and obtained her PhD in biomedical sciences from KU Leuven with research on the behavioural and neural effects of oxytocin in adult males with autism spectrum disorder. Sylvie mainly conducts practice-based research on the use and implementation of immersive technology, such as virtual reality, augmented reality and 360° video, in (mental) health care. In recent years, for instance, she worked on the Immersive Care project and currently on the Immersive Mental Health project, both funded by VLAIO (Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen). With the knowledge and expertise gained from these projects, she advises the professional field on the implementation of immersive technology in their organisation.


Articles in internationally reviewed scientific journals

  • Alaerts, K., Bernaerts, S. & Wenderoth, N. Effects of single- and multiple-dose oxytocin treatment on amygdala low-frequency BOLD fluctuations and BOLD spectral dynamics in autism. Transl Psychiatry 12, 393 (2022).
  • Bernaerts, S., Bonroy, B., Daems, J., Sels, R., Struyf, D., Gies, I., & van de Veerdonk, W. (2022). Virtual Reality for Distraction and Relaxation in a Pediatric Hospital Setting: An Interventional Study With a Mixed-Methods Design. Front. Digit. Health, 4, 866119.
  • Van Daele, T., Mathiasen, K., Carlbring, P., Bernaerts, S., Brugnera, A., Compare, A., Duque, A., J., Gosar, D., L., Karekla, M., Larsen, P., G., Nordgreen, T., Salgado, J., Schwerdtfeger, A.R., Van Assche, E., Willems, S., & De Witte, N.A.J. (2022). Online consultations in mental healthcare: Modelling determinants of use and experience based on an international survey study at the onset of the pandemic. Internet Interventions, 30, 100571.
  • Bernaerts, S., De Witte, N.A.J., Van der Auwera, V., Bonroy, B., Muraru, L., Bamidis, P., Frantzidis, C., Kourtidou-Papadeli, C., Azevedo, N., Garatea,. J, Muñoz, I., Almeida, R., Losada, R., Fung, J., Kehayia, E., Lamontagne, A., de Guise, E., Duclos, C., Higgins, J., Nadeau, S., Beaudry, L., Konstantinidis, P. on behalf of the VITALISE consortium. (2022). Rehabilitation Supported by Technology: Protocol for an International Cocreation and User Experience Study. JMIR Res Protoc, 11(3): e34537.
  • Santonen, T., Petsani, D., Julin, M., Garschall, M., Kropf, J., Van der Auwera, V., Bernaerts, S., Losada, R., Almeida, R., Garatea, J., Muñoz, I., Nagy, E., Kehayia, E., de Guise, E., Nadeau, S., Azevedo, N., Segkouli, S., Lazarou, I., Petronikolou, V., Bamidis, P., & Konstantinidis, P. (2022). Cocreating a Harmonized Living Lab for Big Data–Driven Hybrid Persona Development: Protocol for Cocreating, Testing, and Seeking Consensus. JMIR Res Protoc, 11(1): e34567.
  • Alaerts, K., Bernaerts, S. & Wenderoth, N. (2022). Effects of single- and multiple-dose oxytocin treatment on amygdala low-frequency BOLD fluctuations and BOLD spectral dynamics in autism. Transl Psychiatry 12, 393.
  • Alaerts, K., Steyaert, J., Vanaudenaerde, B., Wenderoth, N., Bernaerts, S. (2021). Changes in endogenous oxytocin levels after intranasal oxytocin treatment in adult men with autism: An exploratory study with long-term follow-up. Eur. Neuropsychopharmacol, 43, 147–152.
  • De Witte, N. A., Carlbring, P., Etzelmueller, A., Nordgreen, T., Karekla, M., Haddouk, L., Belmont, A., Øverland, S., Abi-Habib, R., Bernaerts, S., Brugnera, A., Compare, A., Duque, A., Ebert, D. D., Eimontas, J., Kassianos, A. P., Salgado, J., Schwerdtfeger, A., Tohme, P., Van Assche,  E., & Van Daele, T. (2021). Online Consultations in Mental Healthcare During the Covid-19 Outbreak: An International Survey Study on Uptake and Experiences. Internet Interventions, 25, 100405.
  • Van Daele, T., Best, P., Bernaerts, S., Van Asche, E., & De Witte, N. A. J. (2021). Dropping the E: the potential for integrating e-mental health in psychotherapy. Current Opinion in Psychology, 41, 46-50.
  • Bernaerts, S., Boets, B., Steyaert, J., Wenderoth, N., & Alaerts, K. (2020). Oxytocin treatment attenuates amygdala activity in autism: a treatment-mechanism study with long-term follow-up. Transl Psychiatry, 10, 383.
  • Alaerts, K., Bernaerts, S., Prinsen, J., Dillen, C., Steyaert, J., & Wenderoth, N. (2020). Oxytocin induces long-lasting adaptations within amygdala circuitry in autism: a treatment-mechanism study with randomized placebo-controlled design. Neuropsychopharmacol. 45, 1141–1149.
  • Van Daele, T., Karekla, M., Kassianos, A. P., Compare, A., Haddouk, L., Salgado, J., Ebert, D. D.,  Trebbi, G. (on behalf of the EFPA Project Group on eHealth), Bernaerts, S., Van Assche, E., & De Witte, N. A. J. (2020). Recommendations for policy and practice of telepsychotherapy and e-mental health in Europe and beyond. Journal of Psychotherapy integration, 30(2), 160-173.
  • Bernaerts, S., Boets, B., Bosmans, G., Steyaert, J., Alaerts, K. (2020). Behavioral effects of multiple-dose oxytocin treatment in autism: A randomized, placebo-controlled trial with long-term follow-up. Molecular Autism, 11, 6.
  • Alaerts, K., Bernaerts, S., Vanaudenaerde, B., Daniels, N., & Wenderoth, N. (2019). Amygdala–Hippocampal Connectivity Is Associated With Endogenous Levels of Oxytocin and Can Be Altered by Exogenously Administered Oxytocin in Adults With Autism. Biological Psychiatry : Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 4(7), 655–663.
  • Di Martino, A., O’Connor, D., Chen, B., Alaerts, K., Anderson, J., Assaf, M., Balsters, J., Baxter, L., Beggiato, A., Bernaerts, S., Blanken, L., Bookheimer, S., Braden, B.B., Byrge, L., Castellanos, F., Dapretto, M., Delorme, R., Fair, D., Fishman, I., Fitzgerald, J., Gallagher, L., Keehn, R.J J., Kennedy, D., Lainhart, J., Luna, B., Mostofsky, S., Müller, R-A., Nebel, M.B., Nigg, J., O’Hearn, K., Solomon, M., Toro, R., Vaidya, C., Wenderoth, N., White, T., Craddock, C., Lord, C., Leventhal, B., Milham, M. (2017). Enhancing studies of the connectome in autism using the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange II. Scientific Data, 4, Art.No. 170010.
  • Bernaerts, S., Prinsen, J., Berra, E., Bosmans, G., Steyaert, J., Alaerts, K. (2017). Long-term oxytocin administration enhances the experience of attachment. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 78, 1-9.
  • Prinsen, J., Bernaerts, S., Wang, Y., De Beukelaar, T., Cuypers, K., Swinnen, S., Alaerts, K. (2017). Direct eye contact enhances mirroring of others’ movements: A transcranial magnetic stimulation study. Neuropsychologia, 95, 111-118.
  • Bernaerts, S., Berra, E., Wenderoth, N., Alaerts, K. (2016). Influence of oxytocin on emotion recognition from body language: A randomized placebo-controlled trial. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 72, 182-189.