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- +31 20 59 88253
- faculteit der gedrags- en bewegingswetenschappen ( onderw.wetensch )
- Associate professor
I am trained as a developmental psychologist, with a focus on experimental (neuro-)psychology.
The main focus of my research is on the development of executive functions, between childhood and young-adulthood. Executive functions are brain processes allowing someone to show goal-directed behavior, by flexibly adjusting to the changing circumstances in the environment. In doing so, we are, for example, able to show up on time, suppress outbursts for little reason, plan homework, or come up with alternative solutions.
Together with Dr. Diana Smidts, I developed the Dutch adaptation of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) for children between ages 5 and 18. In addition, we co-authored a book on the development of executive function for the general audience: 'Gedrag in uitvoering'.
My research interestes include self- and emotion regulation, peer influence, working memory, cognitive flexibility, inhibition, complex task performance, strategy application, risk-taking behavior, social development - in relation to school performance.
I am PI of the NIHC-granted research project 'A neurocognitive perspective on the struggle between socio-emotional impulses and cognitive control among adolescents who attend pre-vocational secondary education.' The shortened title (in Dutch) of the project is 'Slim naar school'.
The project examines questions such as:
- Why is it that some adolescents attend school virtually effortless, while others experience delay or even drop-out?
- Why is it that the one adolescent is perfectly able to balance his/her homework and social life, while others are not?
- Which factors are related to an adolescent's ability to resist the attraction of the internet and social media?
Goal of the project
The focus of the project is on the development of ‘goal-directed behavior’ in adolescents. Goal-directed behavior includes, for example, planning of homework, showing up on time, or prepare for a presentation. Many adults experience difficulties in this area, but for adolescents, reaching goals is even more complicated. In daily life, they are exposed to many impulses (such as social media, mobile phones, and the internet), possibly leading to distraction. In addition, their friends are very important, and some adolescents even take risks in order to belong to a peer group. So-called cognitive control helps us to show goal-directed, adaptive, behavior. In most children, the cognitive control system and the socio-emotional system get into balance during adolescence. Great differences in this ‘balancing process’ between children however exist. The goal of the project is to examine these differences, and their underlying factors.
Research teamWouter Weeda, Ph.D.
Nikki Lee, Ph.D.
Lisa van der Heijden, MSc.
Affiliate: Susanne Baumgartner, MA.
Publications of the research team
An overview of the publications of the research team can be found here: Publications Team .
For more information on the project (in Dutch), please see: www.slimnaarschool.nl .
For more information: please visit my personal website.