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Research Clinical, Neuro- & Developmental Psychology

Our research is aimed directly or indirectly at the onset and diagnosis of mental disorders and the subsequent treatment and prevention. Cooperation with institutions that provide care to people with mental or developmental problems is of the highest importance.

We focus on all age groups from conception to old age. Our research is always directly or indirectly aimed at improving the quality of life of people with mental health problems. Our education is focused on educating psychologists who will find employment in health care or continue in research on mental health problems from a life course perspective.


  • Clinical Psychology

    The research in the section Clinical Psychology is aimed at the improvement of prevention and treatment of common mental disorders, and the reduction of the disease burden of these disorders. Many of the studies in the Department are aimed at examining the effects of innovative interventions through randomized controlled trials, but we also aim to conduct epidemiological and cohort studies, experimental testing of components of interventions, meta-analyses of intervention studies, and the development and implementation of innovative treatments. At this moment we have several more specific research programmes:

    • Prevention and treatment of depression and anxiety disorders (prof. dr. Pim Cuijpers)
    • Internet-based treatments of common mental disorders (prof. dr. Heleen Riper)
    • Suicide and suicide prevention (prof. dr. Ad Kerkhof; description is in Dutch)
    • Primary mental health care (prof. dr. Annemieke van Straten)
    • Living together with cancer (prof. dr. Irma Verdonck)
    • Emotion regulation (dr. Sander Koole)
    • Psychotherapy in specialist care (prof. dr. Marcus Huibers & prof. dr. Jack Dekker)

    Apart from these research programmes, there are several other researchers who are working parttime at the section Clinical Psychology on the following research topics:

    • Psychosis (prof. dr. Mark van der Gaag; description is in Dutch)
    • Clinical geropsychology (prof. dr. Anne Margriet Pot)

    Projects at the department

    • IT4Anxiety
      IT4Anxiety aims to support the implementation of innovative solutions through start-ups with the objective of reducing the anxiety of patients suffering from mental disorders. Read more about IT4Anxiety. 
  • Clinical Neuropsychology

    What makes our educational program unique? 

    The core of our educational program consists of the fundamentals within clinical neuropsychology, including diagnostics, interventions and neuroimaging. Additionally, we focus on timely and cutting-edge topics,  “Aging and age related disorders” (a research master course) and  the fast development of novel measurement techniques in neuropsychology, such as remote assessment of cognitive function to capture early cognitive decline in adults with neuropathology.  Moreover we aim to focus on pressing societal issues such as the underrepresentation of various minority groups in neuropsychological research.  

    With this knowledge and skills, students are not only trained for a career as a scientist-practitioner, who are prepared for the future developments in the field,  but also as teachers or policy makers.

    What makes our research unique? 

    Our focus is fundamental and clinical research across the lifespan. This includes early childhood until the highly aged, both in healthy populations, as well as populations in which brain functions are affected by negative factors such as psychological burden. We study behavior and brain functioning using innovative techniques, with a focus on motor functions, cognition, emotional functioning, interpersonal behavior and daily functioning. Our research has a strong clinical impact as our scientific questions are based on important issues in the clinical field, and our research is aimed to improve the care of different patient groups, by the development of diagnostic instruments and (internet-based)interventions. Many of our research colleagues are also working in the clinical field.

    For more information regarding the different research groups, place see the following links:

  • Clinical Developmental Psychology

    The research of the Clinical Developmental Psychology section aims to identify social and biological influences in the development of common emotional and behavioral problems and behavior in children and adolescents. We want to understand which factors contribute to or protect against a deviant development, and how these factors can influence further development during important development transitions. In addition to fundamental research aimed at the mechanisms through which problem behavior arises, we also conduct intervention research with pregnant women, children, young people and their parents, and (young) adults. We examine the effectiveness of interventions and also gain more insight into the effectiveness of modifiable factors in the development of emotional and behavioral problems and health behaviour. The section's more fundamental research consists of research in longitudinal cohorts from pre-birth to young adulthood, often supplemented with intensive and experimental lab studies. We currently have a number of specific research programs: