World Autism Awareness Week 2018!

April 3, 2018


More and more young people with autism are coming forward to create a better awareness about the different sides of autism. Check this YouTube film by a teenage boy, explaining how he wants people to understand what autism is, but not to change or “cure” him. The film was put online in 2013, but still valid today. The first week of April is the world-wide Autism Week held every year to do exactly that: increase awareness about autism. In their most recent study, Marieke Bos and Carolien found that rumination plays an important role in the development of mental health issues in adolescents with autism. You can read more about their study here.


What social-emotional behaviours do you see in chimpanzees?

March 20, 2018

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Social and emotional behaviours are not unique to human beings. During the past 8 weeks, the students of the Pre-University Class at Leiden University learned various aspects about emotions, from typical and atypical development in children to primate behaviours. As a closing activity, they went to Artis zoo in Amsterdam on 19 March to have a hand-on experience of primate observation study. With the guidance from primatologist Xuejing Du (rightmost in the left photo), Carolien, and Yung-Ting, the students had an inspiring afternoon learning to observe, code, and interpret the behaviours of chimpanzees as well as the other primates in the zoo.


New ways, new gains

February 13, 2018

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Thanks to innovations in sensing technology, we can now observe social behaviours in an unobtrusive manner. In a "playground" study conducted in Portugal by Guida Veiga (University of Évora), wearable sensors based on radio-frequency identification devices (RFID) recorded peer interactions of preschool children. The interactions were linked to social and emotional competence of children. On 8 February, Carolien Rieffe, Matthijs van Leeuwen (the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science and the Leiden Centre of Data Science) as well as Master students Daniela Gawehns and Tamara Lorenz met to discuss the key information gained from the innovative sensors. Click here to read more.



Who are we?

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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.






Paper in print!

April 15, 2018


Sheida and Carolien's new paper on adolescents' responses to online conflicts is now in print in the most recent issue of Infant and Child Development. They found that young people with a strong sense of control over the social environment around them reacted less angrily to those who irritated them during an online game. You can download this Open Access article here

Teaching white lies

March 7, 2018

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How can parents teach children with autism about the social function of white lies? In a recent interview with the newspaper Trouw, Carolien explains that you can switch focus to avoid saying something harmful. Yet, understanding when something can be harmful does not come automatically to children with autism. You can read the article here.

First Asian PhD Workshop Held at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science

December 21, 2017

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To mark the opening of its new Asian Library, Leiden University celebrated Asia Year in 2017. The aim was to put Leiden more firmly on the world map as a leading knowledge hub on Asia. This formed the impetus for the Graduate School of Social and Behavioural Science to organize its first Asian PhD Workshop, held on Thursday 14 December.

Read more ...