Universiteit Leiden

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Ellen de Bruijn

Professor of Neurocognitieve Klinische Psychologie

Prof.dr. E.R.A. de Bruijn
+31 71 527 3748

Short CV

Ellen de Bruijn is professor of Neurocognitive Clinical Psychology at the department of Clinical Psychology. She studies the cognitive and neural mechanisms of action-control processes that are necessary to interact successfully with the environment and with other humans. In order to perform in a safe, efficient, and socially adequate manner, humans need to continuously monitor own and other’s behavior for errors and possible deviations from the goal. Research has identified the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in performance monitoring in non-social contexts, but social performance monitoring has only recently begun to receive attention. The relevance of this central process becomes evident when disturbances arise. In her research line on social cognitive neuropsychiatry, she investigates disturbed social performance-monitoring processes in different psychiatric disorders. To provide an integrated view of the different processes, she makes use of various approaches and methods, such as behavioral experiments, EEG, and fMRI techniques, as well as psychopharmacological manipulations (e.g., serotonin and oxytocin). Besides the investigation of performance-monitoring processes, she also studies other relevant processes that enable social action control, e.g., approach-avoidance behavior, the formation of shared task representations, and social decision-making. Finally, she examines possible disturbances of these processes in different psychiatric disorders with evident social dysfunctions, such as psychopathy, social anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia.

Research Interest

  • Social performance monitoring (e.g., making errors in a social context, detecting other’s errors, learning from other’s errors)

  • Involvement of neurotransmitters (e.g., dopamine, serotonin) and hormones (e.g., oxytocin)

  • Disturbed performance monitoring in psychiatric disorders (e.g., psychopathy, social anxiety, depression, schizophrenia)

More information on Ellen de Bruijn's research activities available at the Social Performance Monitoring Lab.


  • VIDI  (NWO 2013-2018; PI: “Me, myself, and… you: A social cognitive neuropsychiatry perspective on performance monitoring”)

  • VENI (NWO 2008-2012; PI: “Social modulations of adaptive behaviour: a neurocognitive approach”)

  • IWT (2010-2014, co-PI; “Social action control in schizophrenia”)

  • Grant from Niels Stensen Foundation (PI, 2004)


Selection of media that focused on my research:

  • TV: Ook getest op mensen, VRT (2011, November). “Op zoek naar het knuffelhormoon”. Flemish scientific television broadcast covering my research on the effects of oxytocin on social behavior. 

  • Newspaper: Algemeen Dagblad (26 november 2011). “Foutje? Goed zo!” Interview about my research on error monitoring and the pros and cons of making errors.

  • Labyrint Radio (2011, November). Link: Dutch radio interview about my research on Psychopathy 

  • OBA Live Radio (2011, September). “Oeps! Het nut van fouten maken”. Dutch radio broadcast covering my research on error detection and adaptive behaviour.  

  • Labyrint Radio (2011, Mei). “Knuffelen in het brein”. Dutch radio broadcast covering my research on the role of oxyotocin in social action control.

  • TV: Labyrint VPRO (2011, April). “Zonder geweten” Dutch scientific television broadcast covering my research on social cognitive neuropsychiatry and psychopathy.  

  • Hoe?Zo! Radio (2011, January). “Groepstherapie voor psychopaten zinloos?” Dutch radio interview related to publication in Biological Psychiatry (Brazil, .., & De Bruijn, 2011).

  • Hoe?Zo! Radio (2007, April). “Oeps-gebied in je brein” Dutch radio interview related to publication in De Psycholoog (De Bruijn, 2007).  

Professor of Neurocognitieve Klinische Psychologie

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Klinische Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2B47



No relevant ancillary activities

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