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.  

New developments using sensor techniques at school playground

November 6th, 2019

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On November 5th, our team was invited by Joost Kok, Dean of Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) at the University of Twente, to discuss new developments using sensor techniques at the school playground over lunch with Nirvana Meratnia, who is part of the Pervasive Systems Group. The visit was completed with a tour through the lab at the Behavioural Management and Social Sciences (BMS) faculty. 


Developmental Language Disorder Awareness Day

October 18th, 2019


October 18th is the International Developmental Language Disorder (DLD) Awareness Day. Approximately 5-7% of the children experience severe problems acquiring and using their first language. However, these problems are often not recognized and understood. DLD affects schooling, socio-emotional development, self-esteem, and behaviors of children. With suitable support, these children are able to overcome many of these obstacles. Neeltje van den Bedem did her PhD project on social-emotional development of children and youngsters with DLD. The defense will follow soon! If you are curious about the results, click here to register for her lectures!


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The Week Against Bullying: How do we stop bullying?

September 23rd, 2019

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Being bullied is not only bad at the moment itself, but also affects children in the long term. Carolien talks about this in a recent news item (in Dutch) on the Week Against Bullying, September 23-30, 2019. 


Bobbie received MSc in Developmental Psychology

September 19th, 2019

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On September 18th, Bobbie van Zessen graduated cum laude for her master in Developmental Psychology. She worked with Adva on the inclusion of Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing children in mainstream education. Congratulations, Bobbie!


Do autistic teenagers spontaneoulsy help a clumsy researcher?

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September 18th, 2019

Spontaneously helping one another, why do we bother? It is believed that lending a hand to others promotes social bonding, helping us to connect with each other and even build friendships. Click here to read more about Rachel's newly published paper on spontaneous helping behavior of autistic adolescents. The paper is available open access in Autism Research, click here to read it.



Recent & Upcoming Events

December 18th: Naqi's PhD Defense

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November 22th: VNOP-CAS Research Days

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November 20th: Mini-Symposium "Theory of Mind, from Theory to Practice"

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Welcome Hanna and Esther!

October 29th, 2019

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Hanna Hutten and Esther Wit are two enthusiastic high-school students from The Hague, participating in the Pre-University College programme at Leiden University from September 2019.

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Danique received MPhil in Psychology

September 20th, 2019

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Danique Willems, our former research master student and student assistent, received her MPhil in Psychology today, cum laude. Congratulations Danique, we are very proud of you!

Autism Europe Congress 2019

September 18th, 2019

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Rachel attended the Autism Europe Congress in Nice, France from the 13th – 15th of September. She presented research on expressions of empathy of autistic and non-autistic girls and boys, which suggested that these groups express empathy in different ways. 

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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.