I have a broad background in both neuroscience and developmental psychology and my research broadly investigates the relation between the developing brain and changes in behavior. More specifically, my research is focused on how changes in brain function and structure relate to typical and atypical development of learning and decision-making. To approach these questions, I use computational models, social network analyses, and methods form experimental economics. Computational models are used to quantify behavior and the complex processes underlying learning and decision-making. The parameters from these models support spanning the bridge between developmental theories and neurobiology, and enable to identify more specific processes that underlie developmental change. Using these techniques I have investigated the neurocognitive development of risky & intertemporal choice , basic learning mechanisms , social decision-making, and social learning.
I am specifically interested in the interaction between the social environment and developmental processes. For instance, I study social influence on decision-making and information search in social networks. In addition, I am interested in how the social environment is represented in the brain, and how this impacts behavior. For this I rely on social network analyses to quantify social relations and use multi voxel pattern analyses (MVPA) to link these to neural representations. In my current research supported by the NWO (Vidi) and ERC (StG) I focus on social networks in schools in order to understand the reciprocal influence of environment and behavior in the context of risk taking and prosocial behavior (visit the social smart project website for more information). More recently we are also expanding this research the digital environment focusing on big data from social media (e.g. from Instagram or twitter) within the context of the H2020 framework (DIGYMATIX). This project also focusses on the impact of social media use on development of brain and cognition and self-regulation.
I teach multiple courses in Psychology and Brain and Cognition Research Master, and the Artificial Intelligence Bachelor (Growing a Mind, Cognitive Modeling, Current Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, Computational Cognitive Neuroscience). In addition, I supervise Bachelor's and Master's students from Psychology, Artificial Intelligence, Brain and Cognition and Psychobiology.
2020-2023 Federica Ninsi (co-promotor)
2019-2024 Ana Phino (Promotor)
2019-2024 Scarlett Slagter (Promotor)
2018-2023 Andrea Gradassi (Promotor)
2018-2022 Damien Fleur (Promotor)
2018-2022 Maud Hensums (Co-supervisor)