Dietsje Jolles is Assistant Professor at the Institute of Education and Child Studies and board member of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC). In her research, Dietsje employs an interdisciplinary approach to study the complex interplay between learning and (neuro)cognitive development, integrating insights from cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and the educational sciences.
Dietsje Jolles is Assistant Professor at the programme group of Educational Sciences and one of the principal investigators in the Brain & Education lab. She is also a board member of the Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition (LIBC).
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). Since 2021, she is one of the coordinators of the Earli Special Interest Group 22: Neuroscience and Education. Her current research is funded by a Jacobs Foundation research fellowship (2019-2021) and a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network grant (2020-2024).
In her current work, Dietsje employs an interdisciplinary approach to study the complex interplay between learning and (neuro)cognitive development, integrating insights from cognitive neuroscience, psychology, and the educational sciences. Her research can be summarized in two main topics: (1) training and transfer of foundational cognitive abilities, including working memory, numerical abilities, and spatial cognition, and (2) developmental and individual differences in learning and academic performance, with a specific focus on children’s cognitive control abilities, learning strategies, and the role of prior knowledge. She studies these questions from different angles and using different research methodologies, including behavioral experiments, intervention studies, and neuroimaging techniques.
Dietsje’s 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 skills.
- Gewaardeerd! (KNAW Pilot fund for science communication, with members of the Brain & Education lab and Change Leiden, 2021)
- Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network, consortium member (2020)
- Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship (2019)
- Rubicon Fellowship, Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) (2012)
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