Why should I help?  

If your child is between the ages of 12-16, we are seeking their involvement in an important study that will help us to understand more about how young people spend their free time. This will help us to identify which activities affect young people’s health and wellbeing.  

Will my child’s answers to these questionnaires be kept private?  

All data will be kept confidential. No personal information (name or identification number) will be recorded in this research and no information about individuals will be given to the schools that participate. All data will be processed anonymously. The results of this study might be presented online or in a scientific journal, but the data is not traceable to an individual.

What does participation involve?  

Children will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire every evening for a week in which they will answer questions about how they spent their leisure time during that day. This will take around 15 minutes to complete. Before the children start, we will ask them once a series of questions about other aspects of their lives such as their friendships, mood, and bullying. This will take about 30 minutes to complete.  

Your child’s participation in this survey is voluntary. If you agree to them participating in this study, you or your child can indicate at any time that you wish to withdraw, without having to give an explanation.  

How can I help?  

If your child’s school has been invited to participate in the research, a letter with a consent form will have been given to you by your child’s teacher, or you can download it here from the website. Depending on the age of you child, we may also need your consent for your child to take part in this study. Please refer to the consent form for more information.    

What if I have more questions?

If you need more information about the study, you could send an email to this address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..      


Project lead: Prof. Carolien Rieffe This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

How do children with hearing loss “read” emotional faces and social information? New papers now online!

January 5th, 2021

little boy with magnifying glassUnderstanding emotions from other people’s faces and from social situations is essential for daily social interaction. But how is that for children with hearing loss? Can they learn to understand emotions just as easily as hearing children?Through a collaboration between Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, and Otorhinolaryngology (LUMC and Chang-Gung Memorial Hospital Taiwan), Yung-Ting’s unique eye-tracking studies show that daily "exposure" in the social environment in which emotions take place is essential for the development of this aspect of emotional intelligence. The results are now published in Emotion and Ear & Hearing


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Webinar on Chinese deaf or hard-of hearing children's social-emotional development

December 17th, 2020


On December 17th, the webinar with the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Hearing and Speech Impairment in Beijing (北京中国听力语言康复研究中心) was held successfully. With the common goal of promoting the development and having the same enthusiasm for benefitting the wellbeing of children with hearing loss, this collaboration began in the year 2017, sponsored by the KNAW grant for China Exchange Program. Since then, this collaboration has achieved excellent results, including launching three new China Scholarship PhD projects and largescale longitudinal research tracking the social and emotional development of Chinese preschoolers with hearing loss. During the meeting, ideas on ongoing research and preliminary results were discussed in context with observations made by teachers at the centre.

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New book release: Life hacks for autistic girls

November 25th, 2020

Screenshot 2020 11 25 at 11.18.46The book 'Lifehacks voor meiden met autisme: Handige tips voor dagelijkse problemen' is newly released! Edited by board members of the Female Autism Network of The Netherlands (FANN), Els Blijd-Hoogewys, Marleen Bezemer, and Audrey Mol, this book consists of multiple tips to navigate daily life for girls 8-18 years old with autism and their friends or family on prominent topics for this age such as puberty, sexuality, and gossiping. Carolien wrote two chapters for this new book on emotion regulation and friendship.

Click here to take a look, and also see an introduction here.



Yung-Ting successfully defended her PhD thesis

November 11th, 2020

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Yung-Ting successfully defended her dissertation on November 11th on social information processing in deaf or hard of hearing children. In a live setting, with some opponents questioning the candidate online, Yung-Ting calmly and professionally debated with the different committee members, not only showing her knowledge and skills on the topic, but also impressing the committee with her thoughtful responses. It was a great opportunity that the defence was streamed online for Yung-Ting's family to also tune in from Taiwan. Congratulations Dr. Tsou with this wonderful achievement! Read more about her research here.


Recent & Upcoming Events

December 17th 9.30 (CET): Webinar DHH Children’s Social-emotional Development (听损儿童社会情绪机能与发展)

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November 11th 13.45: Yung-Ting's PhD defense

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October 23rd 15.00: Webinar 'Social Participation Observation Scheme' (postponed)

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New wave of data collection in China

November 27th, 2020

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Starting in December, the China project team (Qi, Shannon and Zijian) will collect the 2nd wave of data about social-emotional development in DHH children online. We are once again working closely with the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Hearing and Speech Impairment (北京中国听力语言康复研究中心) in Beijing.

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Maayan has received her diploma for the Research Master (MPhil)

October 14th, 2020

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On October 14th, our star-student Maayan Cohen received her diploma for the Research Master (MPhil), cum laude! Maayan did her research with Carolien and Evelien on empathy in autistic adolescents.

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Carolien in the documentary on Elijah Delsink, a 17-year-old student with autism

September 22nd, 2020

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The September 21st broadcast of De Monitor was a documentary on Elijah Delsink, and his action to the Second Chamber to ban alternative treatments for "curing" autism. Carolien comments in the documentary: "Cease therapy is harmful, because the message is that you should cure autism."

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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), the Centre for Autism, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), TU Delft, and University of Twente. 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 who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, 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.