Current projects

  1. How beliefs and expectations influence (neural) error and feedback processing

Why do some adolescents avoid challenges, while others thrive at challenging school tasks? Students’ implicit beliefs (“mindsets”) about the malleability of their abilities have major impact on their learning behavior. Some students believe that their abilities are static and cannot improve much by effort, while others believe that they can improve their abilities by working harder. In this research line, we investigate how children’s beliefs shape their neural and behavioral learning processes, such as error and feedback processing. In collaboration with Lydia Krabbendam, Emmy de Kraker-Pauw, Nikki Lee, Karin vander Heyden and Mariette Huizinga (VU, dept Educational Neuroscience) and Sandra van Aalderen (University of Twente).

From March 2017 on, this project will be expanded by my ERC Starting grant. I will be recruiting PhD students soon!

  1.  How literacy transforms speech processing

In this research line, I’m continuing a series of fMRI studies started during my PhD research. Current ongoing studies include investigating how bilingualism shapes speech-script processing in superior temporal cortex (collaboration with Dr. Milene Bonte, Maastricht University and Prof. Daniel Ansari, University) of Western Ontario), unraveling the fine-scale organization of letter-speech sound representations using 7T fMRI (collaboration with Dr. Francesco Gentile, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Prof. Rainer Goebel, Maastricht University), and the early development of letter-speech sound integration during literacy acquisition (collaboration with Dr. Katarzyna Jednoróg, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology)

  1. Translation & communication of neuroscience

Neuroscience research, and neuro-imaging in particular, is a popular topic in the media, among the public and in diverse practical settings such as the educational practice. This makes it very important to safeguard accurate and realistic communication about neuroscience results. In 2015, I published  the book “Kijken in het brein” (together with Sandra van Aalderen and Meike Grol) to help the (Dutch) general public to separate myths from the promising directions in our field. In addition, I investigate neuroscience communication (in collaboration with Nel Ruigrok, Nieuwsmonitor) and the impact of developments in neuroscience on society (in collaboration with the Athena Institute).