Leiden Psychology Blog

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Category: Child and Adolescent / Developmental Psychology

  • How to resist your smartphone

    How to resist your smartphone

    Notifications on your phone – like a nice WhatsApp message – trigger the reward system in the brain, which makes you want to check your phone constantly. Being aware of the processes underlying phone addiction can help you resist the temptation!
  • Questions to a student with autism

    Questions to a student with autism

    A student with autism once confided in me that she no longer told anyone at the university that she had autism, because she’d noticed that people immediately associated it with Raymond from the film Rainman.
  • What motivates adolescents?

    What motivates adolescents?

    Adolescence is marked by a peak in activity in the reward center of the brain. In our recent study, we found that various motivational factors contribute to these developmental changes from early adolescence to early adulthood.
  • Are you afraid of being found out?

    Are you afraid of being found out?

    Imagine a random person coming up to you, saying he “knows”. Knows you’re not actually that intelligent; that you’re not good at your job; that you’ve been faking it all along. And it’s only a matter of time until you’ll be exposed for everyone to see.
  • Tempted to skip your workout today?

    Tempted to skip your workout today?

    When you’re super busy, or tired after a long day at work, is the first thing you cross off your schedule your workout? (“I’ll hit the gym tomorrow instead, I promise!”). Well, that’s exactly what you should not be doing…
  • Shy parent, shy child?

    Shy parent, shy child?

    Not only extreme shyness runs in families, but also an early brain response related to shyness, our family study shows. This finding can inform future research on genetic and environmental factors that play a role in the development of extreme shyness.
  • Brains over biases

    Brains over biases

    Is there a biological basis in the brain for the increasing number of boys that perform worse at school than girls?
  • Grief: The shock of losing a loved one

    Grief: The shock of losing a loved one

    An intense and overwhelming feeling of shock, disbelief, and pain surged through my body. I couldn’t comprehend the implications of what I’d heard. I couldn’t believe it. My father had died and it was all over the news. It couldn’t be true.
  • How to deal with the threat of terrorism in children?

    How to deal with the threat of terrorism in children?

    News of terrorist attacks is on TV almost daily, and the threat of terrorism affects everyone, including children. Being aware of our reactions and enhancing our sense of control may help us to handle both children’s fears of terrorism and our own.
  • Sinterklaas: Gratitude or lies?

    Sinterklaas: Gratitude or lies?

    It’s almost December: Sinterklaas is now in town and children are eagerly waiting for him, or probably for his gifts. Most children receive many gifts in December, but did you know that children sometimes feel the need to lie in response to Sinterklaas?
  • Should research always be fun?

    Should research always be fun?

    Sometimes it is necessary to elicit negative feelings in studies. For example, by getting socially anxious participants to give a speech that will be judged by peers. A difficult task for participants, but it results in important insights in this disorder.
  • The Horrors of Halloween: Trick or Treat?

    The Horrors of Halloween: Trick or Treat?

    Falling leaves, days getting darker: the end of October is approaching! While some people prefer to stay warm by the fire, there are others who would rather go out in search of a good scare during Halloween. But why do some people enjoy being scared silly?
  • Could you recognize our future Einstein?

    Could you recognize our future Einstein?

    Did you know Einstein didn’t talk till he was four or read till he was seven? Or that Edison’s parents and teachers thought him retarded? Today we consider Einstein and Edison geniuses. How come their giftedness was not recognized when they were children?
  • Shark sighted: I think I’ll go for a swim!

    Shark sighted: I think I’ll go for a swim!

    Risk-taking has a bad reputation. Although it’s natural to be concerned about the high levels of risk-taking among young people, with adverse consequences including death and injuries, we shouldn’t forget that risk-taking can also have a positive side.
  • Love is in the… brain!

    Love is in the… brain!

    Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? Even if you don’t, you probably express your love to your partner on other occasions. Love is something we all experience in life. What happens in the brain when we’re in love?
  • Why risk takers are mostly young

    Why risk takers are mostly young

    At Leiden University's Brain and Development Lab, Barbara Braams studied adolescents' risk-taking behaviour in connection to the brain's development. Examples of risk-taking behaviour are: drinking a lot of alcohol and acting really funny on your scooter.
  • Bridges between education and neuroscience

    Bridges between education and neuroscience

    Educational science and neuroscience - can they benefit one another? Researchers in both fields are enthusiastic to build bridges, but the expectations must be realistic. An educational neuroscience meeting was hosted in Leiden to get the dialogue going.
  • Twins: similar and unique?

    Twins: similar and unique?

    'Who are the Ultimate Twins?' With this slogan a Dutch TV programme set out to find the twins who were most similar in looks, personality, and behavior. One pair had defeated 229 pairs, leaving viewers wondering about how they can be so similar yet unique.
  • Within five minutes, Nico Frijda is there…

    Within five minutes, Nico Frijda is there…

    Nico Frijda, professor emeritus University of Amsterdam, passed away on April 11, just before his 87th birthday. His legacy is enormous. His book The Emotions (1986) radically changed perspectives on emotions. The amazing thing, it is still doing so today!
  • Understanding risk-taking in adolescence

    Understanding risk-taking in adolescence

    Whether adolescence was relatively peaceful or full of teenage angst, none of us is likely to forget it. A special time in life, when we begin discovering who we might become, exploring possibilities and taking risks that accompany experimenting with life.
  • Empathy in adolescence: convenient or key?

    Empathy in adolescence: convenient or key?

    Not everybody is equally competent at reading intentions, sharing emotions, and in estimating the needs of others. Sandy Overgaauw investigated the role of individual differences in empathy. How and why do we differ from a brain and behavioral perspective?
  • Children have no self-control?

    Children have no self-control?

    Do children have self-control? MRI research shows they just need a little more neural activation to control their own behaviour than adults. Watch the video blog on intentional inhibition in normally developing children.
  • Piet and Prejudice: Why Change is Threatening

    Piet and Prejudice: Why Change is Threatening

    The debate about the racist nature of 'Zwarte Piet' ('Black Pete') as part of the Sinterklaas festivities reveals modern forms of prejudice. Recent research on the intersection of psychology, physiology, and neuroscience uncover this type of prejudice.
  • The Aha Moment

    The Aha Moment

    According to research by the Brain and Development Lab in Leiden, adolescents are better at finding creative solutions than adults. How can we explain that adolescents reach the so called 'aha moment' so quickly? Let's have a look into their brains!
  • Alternative medicine and the placebo effect

    Alternative medicine and the placebo effect

    A lot of money is spent on alternative medicine, even though there is no scientific evidence that its benefits are anything more than a placebo effect. But if it makes patients feel better, is there actually anything wrong with these treatments?
  • Bieber Fever - Why teens obsess over celebrities

    Bieber Fever - Why teens obsess over celebrities

    The arena is filled with excitement, lights go dim and an intense roar rises up from the stadium full of fans, as their idol enters the stage. Most of these fans are teenage girls - why are teenagers especially prone to obsessing over pop stars?
  • Neuroscience in the classroom?

    Neuroscience in the classroom?

    Neuroscientific results are increasingly popular amongst teachers. But what does it mean if children with learning disabilities show less activity in a certain brain area, and can we really use this information in the classroom?
  • Learning is a series of sprints, not a marathon

    Learning is a series of sprints, not a marathon

    Many students (and people in general) like to mass their efforts to boost short-term performance when an important exam or deadline is approaching. Scientific research points to a more functional and efficient long-term strategy to raise performance.
  • Brain scars

    Brain scars

    Abuse or neglect as a child may lead to the development of anxiety or depression related symptoms years later. Are traces of childhood adversities also visible in our brain? And if so, what does this mean?
  • Alcohol and adolescents: why do teens drink?

    Alcohol and adolescents: why do teens drink?

    Recently the Dutch government proposed to raise the legal drinking age from 16 to 18. High levels of alcohol use in adolescence are related to alcohol dependence later in life. Recent research shows that also pubertal hormones play a role.
  • Publishing open access: good or bad idea?

    Publishing open access: good or bad idea?

    On Wednesday 6 February 2013 the KNAW and the Young Academy organized a debate with the theme: ‘Publish Open access or perish’. The central question in this debate concerned the future of open access publishing. Is it a great new development or not?