Welcome to the Brain and Development Research Center

The Brain and Development Research Center is located in the Psychology department of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Leiden University.

Our center explores the relations between the brain and various aspects of cognitive and social development. A special focus of the center is to investigate how brain development, including changes in function, structure, and connectivity, relates to development of cognitive control, emotions and risk-taking, and social decision-making during childhood and adolescence.

Our research projects aim to examine the fundamental changes in brain function that underlie our ability to anticipate, produce and evaluate complex decisions in daily life. Our goals are to shed light on classic developmental questions related to mechanisms underlying developmental change, with a particular focus on the role of social and environmental influence, such as parent-child and peer interactions, on how brain development takes place.

We participate in the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC), which is an interfaculty center for interdisciplinary research on brain and cognition, supported by the Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC) and the Faculties of Social & Behavioral Sciences, Arts, and Mathematics & Natural Sciences of Leiden University (see www.libc-leiden.nl). Within the LIBC, we are part of the LIBC-Junior hotspot (see www.libc-junior.nl).


January 2019: Brain and Development Researchers develop Qoala-T tool

Researchers within the Brain and Development Research Center recently developed the Qoala-T tool, to automatically check the quality of MRI images processed in FreeSurfer. Researchers used to do this by hand, which was subjective, time consuming (may take weeks) and makes it difficult to compare studies between labs. Checking the quality of your data is an highly important step, since image quality issues lead to unreliable results. 

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February 2019: Neeltje’s defense and adolescent risk taking symposium

neeltjeOn February 14, 2019, Neeltje Blankenstein will defend her dissertation: “Risky business? Behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying risky decision-making in adolescents”. As part of the festivities surrounding her defense, we are organizing a Current Perspectives on Adolescent Risk Taking symposium on February 15, 2019.This symposium brings together several international researchers working on the topic of adolescent risk taking. Read on for more information!

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Research openings