I received my bachelor's degree in Psychology in 2008 at the University of Novi Sad, Serbia and my master's degree in Psychology in 2009 at Belgrade University, Serbia. I started my Ph.D. in 2013 at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam. I participated in the longitudinal project of prof. dr Susan Bögels on the intergenerational transmission of anxiety. My Ph.D. dissertation was focused on the development of social anxiety disorder (SAD). I investigated whether heightened self-conscious emotions and disturbances in social cognition contribute to the development of children's SAD symptoms. I discovered that not only inhibited children but also children with heightened self-conscious emotional arousal are at risk for developing SAD symptoms. During my Ph.D. track, I visited the Psychotherapy and Emotion lab led by Dr. Stefan Hofmann at Boston University, US and the Center for Emotional Health led by Dr. Jennie Hudson at Macquarie University, Australia. I also received a Kind & Adolescent travel grant to visit Emotion & Self Lab at the University of British Columbia, Canada. My Ph.D. thesis was awarded cum laude in June 2017 and was voted among the best three Ph.D. theses in the Netherlands in the field of child psychology (biennial doctoral thesis award of VNOP). My doctoral work has also been recognized internationally by the European Association of Developmental Psychology and their George Butterworth Young Scientist Award, which is awarded every two years “to young scholars who have made valuable contributions to the field of Developmental Psychology at an early stage of their career”. My post-doctoral work on neural mechanisms of self-conscious emotions in social anxiety has been supported by Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Talent grant. I have collaborated with Dr. Disa Sauter, Dr. Christian Keysers, and Dr. Valeria Gazzola on this project. In 2020, I joined the Comparative Psychology and Affective Neuroscience Lab in Leiden University led by Dr. Mariska Kret as a post-doctoral researcher working on emotion perception and expression in typically developing children and healthy adults as well as adults with social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder. Since then, I supervise PhD candidates Julia Folz, Iliana Samara, and Christopher Riddel together with Dr. Mariska Kret, who is their promoter. Their work focuses on mimicry, emotion perception, emotion expression, and cooperation. Since 2021, I have been appointed assistant professor in the developmental psychopathology group at the Research Institute of Child Development and Education, University of Amsterdam where I continue my work on the intersection between social cognition and emotion throughout human development currently supported by NWO Veni grant.
My research interests evolve around social cognition and emotions in social situations. I am interested in understanding how children and adults feel in social situations, how they think about other people, and how these feelings and thoughts influence their social behaviors. I investigate how socio-cognitive abilities such as Theory of Mind and self-conscious emotions, such as shyness, shame, and guilt develop in infants and young children and how they guide social behaviors. Considering that humans are a highly social species, I am interested in understanding these processes by taking into account the social context - for example, I examine how emotion expression is modulated by the presence of others and how these expressions affect others.