Carolien Rieffe PhD

Despite stereotypical ideas on autism, normally intelligent or ‘high functioning’ children with autism spectrum disorders (HFASD) often display an adequate understanding of basic emotions of others and of themselves. In the present line of research we examine their more advanced emotional abilities, e.g. using emotional display rules and understanding mixed or implicit emotions, and factors involved in the actual use of these abilities in daily life situations. Recent results include, for example, the finding that children with HFASD show an adequate ability to reason about emotions, but strongly rely on theoretical knowledge. Special attention is also given to children’s understanding of and coping with their own emotions, which has received little attention in the research literature to date.

See our list of publications on autism.

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The origins of emotion control
Social inclusion
In the media
News archive autism


The Origins of Emotion Control

In order to interact with others properly, you need to be able to control your emotions. This involves the ability to acknowledge your own emotions and to know how to communicate these most effectively. For autistic children this seems to be problematic but the origins of this lack of emotion control are unclear. Are these children more easily aroused than their peers? Do they lack insight into the communicative function of emotions? By using mood induction techniques and by varying the salience of a goal (i.e., reaching a personal or a social goal) we aim to study the origins of emotion control.

Researchers involved: Carolien Rieffe, Lizet Ketelaar, Boya Li

Prize for Carolien and Lizet for their article on Autism


Social Inclusion

Funded by NWO and Leiden-Delft-Erasmus (LDE) affiliated fellowships, this large-scale project aims to create an inclusive school setting for children and adolescents, including those with hearing loss or autism, during their unstructured leisure time at school, thus increasing the quality and quantity of their social interactions with peers. Click here for more information about this project. 


In the Media

Autism and bullying
Social motivation and prosocial behavior in autistic children and adolescents
School inclusion and the 2014 Dutch Appropriate Education Act for autistic pupils

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News Archive Autism

Boya successfully defended her second PhD dissertation! 11 Nov 2021
Carolien went live for the Autism TV Broadcast 25 Sep 2021
"When Life Gives You Lemons" - prototype computer game for autistic girls 03 Sep 2021
A is for Autism Awareness 01 Apr 2021
New book release: Life hacks for autistic girls 26 Nov 2020
Maayan has received her diploma for the Research Master (MPhil)  14 Oct 2020
Empathic responses between autistic and non-autistic adolescent girls and boys 25 Sept 2020
The Week Against Bullying: Carolien answers 10 questions about bullying and autism 21 Sept 2020
Carolien in documentary on Elijah Delsink, a 17-year-old student with autism 21 Sept 2020
23 June 2020
22 June 2020
27 Mar 2020
19 Nov 2019
The Week Against Bullying: How do we stop bullying? 23 Sept 2019
19 Sept 2019
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28 May 2019
13 May 2019
02 Apr 2019
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04 Jan 2019
25 Sept 2018
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10 July 2018
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12 May 2017
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04 June 2012
18 Apr 2012