PhD Thesis Successfully Defended

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On 12 January, Jorien van Hoorn successfully defended her thesis titled "Hanging out with the right crowd: Behavioral and neuroimaging studies of peer influence on decision-making in adolescence," which was supervised by Prof. Evelien Crone, Prof. Erik van Dijk, and Prof. Carolien Rieffe.

Adolescents influence each other in decision making. This may not just lead to risk-taking behaviors but also more pro-social behaviors. It is important to acknowledge both the negative and positive effects of peer pressure, says Jorien. Furthermore, adolescents with autism are also influenced by the opinions of peers. In a division game, Jorien found that adolescents with autism were influenced by their peers to the same extent as those without autism. 

You can read more about her research here (in Dutch) or here (in English).


Talk on Free Play at Kennis Café

KennisCafe play 2016

Children use a substantial part of the day to play. Play is not only fun, but also important for children’s development in many ways. On December 12, Carolien was a guest at the ‘Kennis café’ in the Balie in Amsterdam, an event organized monthly in collaboration with KNAW, the Volkskrant, and science museum NEMO. After an opening in which a columnist expressed his antipathy for playing, the discussion with the four invited guests concentrated on the importance of play, the role of the toy industry on gender stereotyping, gaming, and new developments in play research.

The evening can be followed (in Dutch) through this link.


Paper Published: Empathy in Toddlers with Moderate Hearing Loss


Our latest findings on empathy in toddlers with moderate hearing loss have recently been published by the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education! The study was done by Evelien Dirks, Lizet Ketelaar, Rosanne van der Zee, Anouk Netten, Johan Frijns, and Carolien, and was a collaboration between our lab at Leiden University, the University Hospital (LUMC), and Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK).

The results show that toddlers with moderate hearing loss and with hearing have similar levels of affective empathy, yet toddlers with moderate hearing loss lag behind on some precursors of cognitive empathy, such as intention understanding and joint attention. It suggests that toddlers with moderate hearing loss are at risk for problems in their empathy development. Although they are aware of other people's emotions, they show a delayed development of more complex skills required for an adequate empathic response in comparison with their hearing peers.

Click here if you would like to know more about our research on deaf and hard-of-hearing children!




Who are we?

Left to right: Naqi Dahamat Azam, Tirza van der Straaten, Neeltje van den Bedem, Thijs Jansen, Anouk Netten, Wendy van Vlerken, Carolien Rieffe, Mariska Kret (Cognitive Psychology), Marieke Bos, Rosemarij van Veen, Yung-Ting Tsou, Evelien Broekhof, Boya Li
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Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child (NSDSK), the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), and the Centre for Autism.Our group is dedicated to examining the emotional development of children and adolescents of all walks of life. We have a strong focus on the functionality of emotions, and its impact on children's social development. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, we are interested in the development of those with hearing impairments, with autism spectrum disorders, or with specific language impairments.

On this site we regularly post news items about new publications, events, and so on. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about and download questionnaires we have developed, see an overview of our publications per topic, or read about opportunities for students to join our team.






Lecture in Birmingham

EvelienB Birminham Jan2017

This Monday (9 January), Evelien Broekhof gave a lecture for a Hearing Impairment programme at the University of Birmingham, UK. The programme is designed for teachers of the deaf. Evelien's session, Learning emotions in children and adolescents with hearing loss, focused on the emotional competence in DHH group. The lecture was very well-received. In the picture, Evelien is with programme leader Dr. Emmanouela Terlektsi (right) and co-coordinator Angela Wootten (left).

Happy holidays!


On the 22th of December, our lab members gathered together and had an wonderful Christmas lunch. All of us brought food to share with each other. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone!

Two new articles published


Two new articles of our lab have been assigned to the latest issue of European Journal of Developmental Psychology! One is about the psychometric properties of the Italian-version Empathy Questionnaire for 18- to 36-month-old toddlers, an output from our collaboration with University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. The other article is about preschool children being alone at the playground, and the relation between non-social behaviors and social-emotional skills. Solitude was assessed through Radio Frequency Identification Devices, an innovative measuring method developed by Leiden University and University of Évora.