Universiteit Leiden

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Evin Aktar

Senior assistant professor

Dr. E. Aktar
+31 71 527 5228

Evin Aktar studies the environmental pathways in the transmission of emotional disorders (depression and anxiety) from parents to children.

More information about Evin Aktar

Evin Aktar studies the environmental pathways in the transmission of emotional disorders (depression and anxiety) from parents to children. 


Emotional disorders (depression and anxiety) run in families. Parents with emotional disorders may transmit anxiety to their offspring not only via genes but also in daily interactions, via social learning, by exposing their child to facial, bodily, and verbal signals of negative emotions in situations that are novel, ambiguous, or potentially threatening. Aktar studies the mechanisms and processes of everyday parent-to-offspring transmission of negative emotion and its prevention. This approach synthesizes insights into social fear learning from developmental, clinical, social, cognitive, and biological perspectives in lab-based studies.  Aktar's ultimate ambition is to generate easy-to-learn and easy-to-implement parental strategies to prevent or reduce everyday intergenerational transmission of anxiety.


Aktar is the coordinator of the course 'Advanced Topics in Experimental Psychology' and teaches workgroups in this course and in 'Experimental Clinical Psychology'. Furthermore, she supervises bachelor and master theses of Psychology students. With her teaching, she hopes to provide a positive, inclusive and safe learning environment  to help students find and follow their strength and passions by constructively challenging and encouraging them to realize their full potential.


Aktar obtained her bachelor's degree in Psychology at Bogazici University (Istanbul, Turkey) in 2008. She earned the Research Master of Science in Psychology at the University of Amsterdam in 2010 with a major specialization in clinical psychology and a minor specialization in psychonomics (cum laude). After that, she obtained her PhD at the Research Institute Child Development and Education at the University of Amsterdam in 2016. Her PhD research was about how being exposed to negative emotions from parents in everyday interactions in infancy can contribute to parent-to-child transmission of emotional disorders. Following her PhD, she continued to work as a post-doc researcher at the Developmental Psychopathology section in Amsterdam, where she extended her research on the learning of negative emotions from parents to childhood years. Since 2016, she followed up this line of work at Leiden University where she became a senior assistant professor in 2021. In the academic year 2017-2018, she was a visiting researcher at Cognition Affect and Temperament Lab of Professor Perez-Edgar at Pennsylvania State University. 

Since 2019, she is also a teacher of Mindful Parenting and of Mindful with Your Baby trainings  (certified by the International Centrum for Mindfulness in Amsterdam). 

Grants and Awards

  • 2018: NWO VENI Grant
  • 2017: Leiden University Funds Research Grants
  • 2017: NWO Rubicon Grant
  • 2014: Best Article Prize Institute for the Study of Education and Human Development (ISED)/ NL
  • 2010: Leiden University Spinoza Research Scholarships, Leiden University, Child and Family Studies
  • 2008 – 2010: Amsterdam Merit Scholarships, University of Amsterdam, Psychology

Senior assistant professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut Psychologie
  • Klinische Psychologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 2B28




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