Universiteit Leiden

nl en

Carolien Rieffe

Associate Professor

Prof.dr. C.J. Rieffe
+31 71 527 3674

Carolien Rieffe is a professor by special appointment in the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University. Rieffe is also a visiting professor at the UCL Institute of Education in London. As from 1 September 2020 Rieffe is full professor Social Interaction Technology at the group Human Media Interaction, Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at Twente University.

More information about Carolien Rieffe

Carolien Rieffe is PI of the research lab Focus on Emotions, Associate Professor in the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology at Leiden University; and Visiting Professor at University College London (UCL – Institute of Education), UK. Projects in her lab focus on the functionality of emotions and its impact on social development and mental health in children of all ages, from babies to adolescents. Children with hearing loss and autistic children are of special interest within this research line, whereby the influence of individual differences on their development is taken into account.

Carolien not only collaborates multidisciplinary with related areas, such as psychiatry and educational sciences, but also grounds her research projects beyond the social sciences, connected to computer science, architecture, and policy making. Within that context, Carolien set up a new research paradigm to move schools, playgrounds, and municipalities towards more social inclusion, also for the young and vulnerable. She is an active member of the BOLD (Big, Open and Linked Data’) Cities, a LDE center focusing on using big data to generate solutions for urban problems.

Short CV

Carolien received her MSc Degree (with honours) in Psychological Methodology from the University of Amsterdam, which included an exchange scholarship at Hofstra University (NY, USA) and obtained her PhD from VU University Amsterdam. She had a tenured position at the Institute of Education (5* ranking in the UK), University of London, UK, as an assistant professor (2001-2004), until she started at Leiden University in 2004. In 2010 the NSDSK (Dutch Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Child, Amsterdam) installed an endowed chair for Carolien at Leiden University, who then became professor by special appointment in social and emotional development. Since 2015, she is also Honorary Professor at UCL, University of London, UK. 

Carolien obtained different grants (e.g. NWO (VIDI laureate); ZonMw) and won several prizes (e.g. the most influential research paper in 25 years in Kind and Adolescent; best teacher award; and Award for Smartest City Project of the Netherlands). 

She is chair of the Honours College advisory board, member of the LCDS (Leiden Center for Data Science) and is a member of several committees on a national level, such as Female Autism Network of the Netherlands, Smart Cities advisory board, Dutch Commissariat for the Media, and works in longstanding close collaborations with professional organizations, e.g. NSDSK, Kentalis, ENT-LUMC (Leiden University Medical Center), Center for Autism, and Anne Frank Foundation, and academic institutions abroad.

CV in pdf


Carolien is PI of the Focus on Emotions research lab. Research in this lab is dedicated to the functionality of emotions and its impact on social development and mental health in children of all ages, from babies to adolescents. Current research focuses on the various aspects of emotional intelligence, such as emotion awareness, coping, display rules, empathy, and anger expression. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, the group has a strong interest in the social and emotional development of those with autism, deafness, or specific language impairments. Another line of research in this area is focused on cultural differences. Over the last couple of years, Carolien’s lab also developed a close collaboration with Computer Science (LIACS (Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science) and TU Twente, enabling researchers in her lab to apply new techniques for monitoring children’s social behavior, such as the use of Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs).

For more information, visit the website of the Emotional Development research lab.


Rieffe teaches courses in social and emotional development, with a special focus on clinical groups, such as children with autism or hearing loss, and at different levels, i.e. Bachelor, Master, PhD, and Honours level.

Media outreach (most recent)

Relevant links

Leiden Psychology Blog
LinkedIn profile
Research Gate profile
UCL profile

Associate Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Ontwikkelings- & Onderwijspsychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3B47A



  • National Autism Congress Organizing committee member
  • Wetenschappelijk Tijdschrift Autisme Scientific advisory board member
  • Musea Bekennen Kleur Expert group
  • Department of Education, Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy External board member
  • Female Autism Network of the Netherlands Core group member
This website uses cookies.  More information.