Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Educational Neuroscience

The research programme of the section Educational Neuroscience is divided into four themes.

See the four themes below:


  • Social cognition

    Prof. dr. Lydia Krabbendam

    To perform effectively in social situations we use a variety of skills, from understanding emotions and intentions, to assessing whether someone is trustworthy. We are carrying out research into these skills, in the context of the Social cognition and learning programme. We are interested in the fundamental mechanisms of social cognition - the ways in which people think about themselves and about the world around them - and in how individual differences in social cognition are associated with well-being and success at school.

    Full description of Social cognition and learning

  • Brain, learning and development

    Prof. Jelle Jolles

    The Brain, learning and development program focuses on the learner in relation to education, upbringing and development. The programme group perform their work from a multidisciplinary perspective. They have backgrounds in neuropsychology, education, developmental psychology, educational theory, or neuroscience.

    Their interests cover a range of subjects, such as neurocognitive functioning and perception, motivation and social behaviour in relation to school performance. Experts in pure and applied research cooperate with educational professionals dealing with everyday issues in primary, secondary, vocational, and higher education. The programme group overlaps with the Brain & Learning Centre. It has been incorporated into the LEARN! research institute as a separate programme.

    Four lines of research
    There are four lines of research

    • The learning child
    • The learning teenager
    • The learning student
    • The learning teacher and the learning parent

    Our pure research projects focus on the development of executive functions and skills in the period spanning primary school, adolescence, and young adulthood to middle age. Research projects of this kind focus either on cognitive neuropsychological research or on studies involving structural and functional brain imaging. The subjects include teenagers, young adults and middle-aged people, and the techniques used include MRI scanning. Executive functions and other neurocognitive functions are related to biopsychological processes such as sleep, nutrition, exercise, or differences between boys and girls. The research addresses brain functions and different phases of development.

    Our applied research projects focus on science-based educational innovations and on the development and evaluation of interventions (instructional and teaching methods) for use in teaching and education. The major themes dealt with in this context are continuous learning, dropping out, excelling and underachievement. The focus is on language, literacy, and numeracy, as well as spatial thinking, reasoning, and talent development. Various studies address “normal scholarly development” as well as appropriate education, learning issues and excellence.
    Applied research and the social dialogue

    The programme group’s goal is to contribute to innovation in the practice of teaching and upbringing. To this end, the group works closely with community organizations such as primary schools, secondary schools, vocational training schools, universities of applied sciences, publishers and other partners. Working closely with others in our network, we translate our research results into practical applications for use in educational institutions. The value of new interventions is evaluated using scientific methods. For this reason, the programme group does not focus solely on pure and applied scientific research. It also addresses the transfer of knowledge and expertise in the area of professionalization of the teaching profession, as well as the improvement of everyday practices in upbringing and teaching.

    Full description of Brain, learning and development

  • Executive functions

    Dr Mariëtte Huizinga

    The research being carried out under the theme of Executive functions focuses on the development of “targeted behaviour” among young people (the lower forms in secondary schools), and how this corresponds to academic performance. Some perform well while others make no progress whatsoever, and even appear to be at risk of dropping out. What causes this difference?
    Research questions:

    • How is it that some children complete their school careers successfully, seemingly without effort, while others have to repeat a year or may even drop out?
    • Why is it that some children can easily combine homework with a social life, while others absolutely cannot?
    • What factors determine how a child deals with the temptations of the internet and social media?

    Project website: (in Dutch)

  • Literacy & Numeracy

    Dr Menno van der Schoot

    The theme of Literacy and numeracy can be broken down into three sub-themes:

    Reading comprehension
    Increasing numbers of primary school pupils are achieving substandard scores for reading comprehension. They are also getting less pleasure from reading. These are worrying developments because, in today´s information society, good reading comprehension skills are essential for success, both at school and in later life. One contributory factor may be a lack of focus on ‘perceptual reading’, which involves reading as a sensory experience. This line involves both pure and applied research. The focus here is very much on reading strategies that are essential to the development of a personified situation model, such as mental simulation, making inferences, and monitoring comprehension.

    Solving arithmetic word problems
    In this theme, we investigate the problems that primary school children encounter when solving arithmetic word problems. This involves focusing both on the relevant characteristics of children and on the characteristics of arithmetic word problems. How much do individual pupils differ in terms of their ability to form an adequate mental representation of the problem situation hidden in the arithmetic word problem? Also, which linguistic characteristics of the arithmetic word problem itself influence these and other problem-solving processes?

    Development of numeracy
    Numeracy skills are important for an individual’s cognitive development and for success, both at school and in later life. Within this line, we examine the development of children’s numeracy skills from a cognitive perspective. The goal is to understand the cognitive processes that underlie numeracy.