Universiteit Leiden

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Dietsje Jolles

Assistant Professor

Dr. D.D. Jolles
+31 71 527 6683

Short CV

Dietsje Jolles is an Assistant Professor at the programme group of Educational Sciences and a 2019-2021 Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow. She is also a board member of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC) and a principal investigator in the sellSTEM Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (2020-2024). 

Dietsje has a background in developmental cognitive neuroscience, with a specific expertise in learning and cognitive skill acquisition. During her doctoral research at Leiden University, she examined the effects of cognitive training on behavior, brain function, and neural connectivity in children and adults. As a postdoc at Stanford University, she extended this line of work into the domain of education, examining the cognitive and neural mechanisms that contribute to math learning in childhood. For this research she received a Rubicon grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In 2014, she started the position of Assistant Professor at the Institute of Education and Child Studies in Leiden, and from summer 2017 to spring 2019 she was a visiting research associate at the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA). 

CV Dietsje Jolles (2021)


In her current work, Dietsje employs an interdisciplinary approach to study the complex interplay between learning and (neurocognitive) development, integrating insights from cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and the educational sciences. She is particularly interested in the extent to which academic performance and cognitive skill acquisition are influenced by brain maturation, individual differences in cognition, and prior experience. She studies this question from different angles and using different research methodologies, including behavioral experiments, cognitive and academic assessments, questionnaires, and neuroimaging techniques. 

Her work primarily focuses on late childhood/early adolescence, an important transition phase in children’s development. Knowledge and skills acquired during this period set the stage for an individual’s future academic and professional career. Yet, students are not always challenged in a way that maximizes their learning potential. Moreover, it is not yet clear how we can help students strengthen the fundamental cognitive abilities that provide the basis for successful learning in the future. The ultimate goal of Dietsje’s research is to create a better understanding of the way children and young adolescents learn, and to provide new insights for interventions that improve foundational cognitive and academic abilities.

Specific topics that Dietsje is currently working on:

  • The role of executive functions in learning and academic performance
  • Developmental differences in learning and the role of instruction
  • Neural mechanisms contributing to developmental and individual differences in learning
  • Cognitive training and transfer, specifically in the domain of spatial cognition and mathematics


  • Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, consortium member (2020)
  • Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship (2019)
  • Rubicon Fellowship, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) (2012)


  • Flux Society
  • Psychonomic Society
  • Interuniversity Center for Educational Sciences (ICO)

Relevant links



See Dutch profile Dietsje Jolles

Assistant Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Pedagogische Wetenschappen
  • Onderwijswetenschappen

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 4B07



No relevant ancillary activities

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