sanderbegeerprofIn 2005, Sander defended his thesis as Carolien’s first PhD student – and now he is Professor at the Vrije Universiteit (VU) Amsterdam!  

His research focuses on theory of mind and related topics in children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. His inaugural lecture “Achter de Spiegel: Het Spectrum van Autisme” takes place on the 20th of May 2022 at 15:45 at the VU Aula and will be livestreamed online (find the link here). Congratulations, Prof. Begeer!




Focus on Emotions at CERE 2022

Collage CERE2022 30 small

On the 10th & 11th of June, the 8th Consortium of European Research on Emotion (CERE) took place in the sunny Granada, in the south of Spain. Of course, the Focus on Emotions lab was well represented with four presentations and one poster. 


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Unlocking Diversity Awareness at FestiWell – through an Escape Room Game!


A group of postdoc and PhDs at our Focus on Emotions lab organized an escape room for staff and students to increase their awareness of diversity and accessibility matters. It was designed particularly for this year’s EUniWell FestiWell, which ran under the headline “Towards global sustainable well-being”. Leiden University, as a partner of the EUniWell (European University for Well-Being) hosted part of this cross-university festival on 13 May. Read the full article here!

Tirza successfully defended her PhD dissertation on DHH children and adults

tirza1On May 12th, Tirza van der Straaten successfully defended her PhD dissertation at Leiden University: "Opportunities within and after Rehabilitation for Patients with Hearing Loss".

Her PhD included a groundbreaking, nation-wide study on how on deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children do in primary and secondary education. An important step towards more awareness and knowledge on what is needed for better social inclusion and equity in education for all children. You can read Tirza’s dissertation here.

Congrats, Dr. Tirza!

Can tech make cultural heritage more inclusive?

incl cult heritageCultural heritage is an indispensable part of society, and plays a role in shaping our values and the way we interact with the world. Thus, it is important that we anchor diversity and inclusion in this sector - sustainably and effectively.

Finding out how modern technology can play a role in this is the goal of the "Interactive Inclusive Heritage" project, which exists within a larger collaboration between the University of Twente (UT) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU)The research is led by Jacco van Ossenbruggen and Claudia Libbi on behalf of VU and by Carolien Rieffe, Shenghui Wang and Dirk Heylen on behalf of the UT.

 Want to know more? Continue reading here.

Recent & Upcoming Events

01.10: Virtual keynote speech on social inclusion at playgrounds at CDFS 2022

lnk00001 On October 1st, Carolien will be speaking about our lab's most recent developments and updates at the 2022 International Conference on Child Development and Family Studies (CDFS). The keynote will be ONLINE and is entitled "Social inclusion at playgrounds – how to include children with communication difficulties". There is no registration fee! 

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15.09.: Carolien's Keynote "What are emotions, and what to do with them"

On the 9th of September, Carolien will present at the Kennisdag 2021 of Eetexpert, a knowledge centre for eating and weight problems in Leuven. The event will be themed around identity development and growth, and what can be done to support that growth - emotions play an important role of course!

June 30th: Carolien spoke about emotion skills, stress and burnout in young people

On June 30th 2022 Carolien gave a lecture at the Euregionaal Congresburo (ECB) online conference on over-questioning, stress and burn-out in children and adolescents. 

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April is for Autism Acceptance

Autism Acceptance

Every year, April 2nd is World Autism Day. And in that week - and really, the whole month -  it's time to celebrate Autism Acceptance! 

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The Focus on Emotions lab, featuring Fotis!

Fotis joined the Focus on Emotions lab for one year as a Master student, Intern and Research Assistant, while completing his degree in Developmental Psychology at Leiden University.

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Padova joined the chat: Double the lab, double the insights!

padove lab meet

Last Friday, 18 February, the weekly Focus on Emotions lab meeting was a bit bigger than usual, joined by researchers in Developmental Psychology from the University of Padova, in Italy! 

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Who are we?

FOE group 2019 crop

Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University and at the Human Media Interaction at the technical University of Twente, both in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), the mental health organisations INTER-PSY (Groningen) and Curium-LUMC, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), and TU Delft. Our group is dedicated to examining the development of emotional intelligence of children and adolescents from a very young age; with a strong focus on 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 (DHH), with autism, or with a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Currently, we have an ongoing project on social inclusion at schools that utilises sensor technology with DHH and autistic children. Since 2017, our team has also been working in close collaboration with a centre for DHH children in China.

On this site we will post regular news items about new publications, events, and other important news. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about/download questionnaires we have developed, peruse the list of our publications per topic, or learn about opportunities for students to join our team.