ERC grants for Leiden scientists
Leiden research on psychology and archaeology will boosted by two subsidies. Both research projects focus on children.
The European Research Council (ERC) has awarded two Leiden researchers, Niko Steinbeis (psychology) and Andrea Waters (archaeology), an ERC Starting Grant. The grants, each up to a maximum of 1.5 million euros, will give these young scientists the opportunity to expand their career further.
Niko Steinbeis: self-control in children
Psychologist Steinbeis will be carrying out research on self-control in children in the coming years. He aims to find out whether this is something for which you can train children. Steinbeis combines his psychology research with brain science. Using an MRI scanner he looks at the effect of training on the structure of the child brain. This is the first time that research on self-control has been carried out using this method.
‘By looking at which children make more progress than others we can find some important starting points for interventions in daily life,' says Steinbeis in an interview on training children in self-control. ‘It's also of interest in other areas, for example, children's willingness to share. That also calls for self-control as well as the ability to empathise.'
Andrea Waters: the influence of breastfeeding
The way we feed our children has a major impact on their health. Archaeologist Waters conducts research on the consequences of breastfeeding in ancient times. She studies this practice in different population groups in history. She looks, for example, at Dutch people since the Middle Ages, Nicaraguan farmers from the time of Columbus and Siberian hunter-gatherers from the Holocene era.
Waters developed a new method for her studies: she uses an advanced particle accelerator machine, a synchotron, to examine the chemical composition of the tooth enamel of these historical population groups. The major benefit of this method is that it is not destructive; the machine radiates only the tooth to determine its composition. Waters: ‘This research grant will allow us to continue our multidisciplinary research on the consequences of child nutrition for health, demographics and social cognition.’