Universiteit Leiden

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Kiki Zanolie

Assistant Professor

Dr. C.K.K. Zanolie
+31 71 527 3838

Kiki Zanolie is an assistant professor in the unit Developmental and Educational Psychology of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University. Kiki’s research focuses on neurocognitive development and the role of social relations and social status on prosocial decision making, executive functions, and risk-taking in gifted and typically developing children and adolescents. She studies these processes with experimental designs using techniques such as Event Related Potentials (ERPs) and fMRI. Kiki received a personal grant from the AXA Research Fund to investigate the neural correlates of developmental differences in social cognition during social rejection and risk-taking.

More information about Kiki Zanolie

Short CV

Kiki Zanolie is an assistant professor in the Developmental and Educational Psychology unit of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University. 

She obtained her PhD at the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2012 at the Biological and Cognition Psychology Department. She studied, from an embodied cognition viewpoint, how people represent abstract concepts by means of conceptual metaphors. She used psychophysiological measures such as ERPs and eyetracking. In 2012 she started as a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University, studying fairness considerations and social status in adolescence. She was promoted to assistant professor in 2014.


Kiki’s research interests are focused on cognitive and social development during adolescence and it’s relation to brain development. She has been interested in the role of social status in risk-taking behavior and sensitivity to rejection. Recently she initiated the BrightWave project in which 200 gifted and non-gifted adolescents participate (brightwaveonderzoek.nl). The BrightWave project focusses on the social and emotional development of gifted and non-gifted adolescents by examining prosocial behavior and achievement striving in relation to puberty. In her research Kiki takes an experimental approach and often uses neuroimaging techniques, such as EEG and fMRI.

Since 2012 Kiki is appointed lab coordinator for the Unit Developmental and Educational Psychology. As of 2019 she also serves as coordinator and freezer coordinator advising the Institute Beta Policy Committee of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University.

Kiki values translation of scientific results to the general public and engages in outreach by writing blogs, making vlogs and giving lectures at schools. She loves to interact with adolescents inspiring her to formulate new research questions tailored to their curiosity. Kiki is dedicated to mentoring the next generation of scientists.


  • 2013: AXA Research Fund Postdoctoral fellowship (125K)
  • 2006, 2008, 2009: Travel grants of Leiden University Fund and Vereniging Trustfonds Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam (total € 2550)
  • 2006: Leiden University Fund: Grant for pilot study: Practice makes the brain work better: A developmental training study (as co-applicant of Prof. Dr. Eveline Crone & Prof. Dr. Wilma Resing) (€ 25K).


Kiki received her Basic qualification for teaching (BKO) in 2016. Surrently she is involved in several courses including:

  • School Psychology coordinator and lecturer
  • Master Thesis Project coordinator
  • Supervision of (research) master thesis students
  • Supervision of (honours) bachelor projects
  • Advance Psychodiagnostics lecturer

Supervision PhD candidates

Suzanne van de Groep, The neural basis of prosocial development in adolescence
Nathalie van Kordelaar, Social and emotional development of gifted adolescents

Assistant Professor

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

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3B36



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