Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences
Research in the group Clinical Neurodevelopmental Sciences is focused on understanding and influencing developmental mechanisms in children and adolescents, 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. Core to the research program is gaining insight in developmental mechanisms underlying (severe) psychopathology, and identification of factors that impact these mechanisms of vulnerability. There is specific interest in neurocognitive functions that are fundamental to social behavioural functioning that, in interaction with environmental factors, positively or negatively impact child development and related risk for psychopathology.
Research studies include clinical as well as non-clinical populations, studying 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. There is also a focus on biological factors, including structure and functioning of the brain, genetic background, biorhythm and psychophysiology.
A range of techniques, including behaviour observations, neurocognitive assessment, eyetracking, heartrate or skin conductance measurements, MRI, EEG and neurobiological parameters are used to investigate this. 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, with several research projects studying efficacy of intervention strategies targeting cognitive and behavioral development.
There are 4 lines of research, covering a range of research projects: