Universiteit Leiden

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Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences

The group Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences has expertise in individual differences in child development, in particular the development of psychopathology, ranging from mild to severe neurodevelopmental disorders. Focus is on etiology, developmental course, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders and psychopathology.

In understanding the mechanisms driving risk for psychopathology, child-related factors as well as environment-related factors are considered. With regard to child-related factors that are anchored in early development, there is a specific interest in neurocognitive functions that underlie social behavioural functioning. These include the perception and understanding of emotions and social interactions, as well as executive functions that help regulate behaviour, such as attention, inhibition, working memory, fluency, and mental flexibility.

Biological factors

In addition, there is a focus on biological factors that impact brain maturation and -functioning, such as genetic background and biorhythm systems. With regard to environment-related factors, there is a specific interest in understanding and influencing caregiver-child interactions in the context of family or school. Core to the research programme and educational programme is the understanding of neurocognitive and biological factors that, in interaction with such environmental factors, positively or negatively impact child development. This knowledge is crucial to improving clinical care for vulnerable children.

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