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Research Projects

Yield: The Bioecology of Human Development

Yield comprises both a Graduate Programme, which runs from 2014 to 2021 and is funded by NWO, as well as a Signature Project on self-regulation (YSP - 2018-2023). Both employ four PhD students each conducting one of the subprojects. Signature Project PhD students are also members of the Yield Graduate Programme and will collaborate with other members of the YSP to align their projects with the overarching theme of self-regulation.

Current PhD Projects

Please find an overview of the current PhD projects below

  • Ceren Abacıoglu | Teachers’ role in classroom’s cultural climate and its effects on minority pupils’ school engagement

    With the influx of migrants, the integration of ethnic minority children in the Dutch school system has become an urgent societal matter. This project investigates the role of cultural integrity in the classroom in promoting school engagement of pupils from ethnic minorities. We focus on teachers’ cultural tolerance and emotional sensitivity and investigate how these influence pupils’ school engagement. We hypothesize that this relationship is mediated by pupils’ perceived social and cultural integration. We also aim to develop and test an intervention strategy that can improve classrooms’ cultural climate and pupils’ school engagement.

    Dr C.S. (Ceren) Abacioglu

    Faculty of Law


  • Rutmer Ebbes | Self-regulated learning in the elementary classroom

    Self-regulated learning (SRL) is considered a key competence, influencing both students’ motivation and achievement in elementary school. SRL depends on student skills and characteristics but also on characteristics of the learning environment. This project includes studies examining (a) reliable and valid measurement of SRL, from the student and the teacher perspective, (b) teachers’ perceptions of students’ self-regulating preferences in relation to teacher instruction and support during a math task, against the background of peer influences, and (c) the effect of self-regulation supporting math instruction on cognitive, affective, and motivational factors in an in-class intervention experiment. Special attention is paid to student characteristics explaining differences in SRL.

    R. (Rutmer) Ebbes MSc

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group: Educational Sciences

  • Hend Eltanamly | Parenting in times of war

    Growing up in times of war is a fact many children and adolescents are experiencing on a daily basis. The negative effects of war exposure on children have been intensively studied, yet we do not fully understand how war exposure casts its adverse effects on children. Unraveling the contributions of changed family dynamics to this process seems an important part of the puzzle of understanding how war affects children. In addition, experiences of war are not limited to war exposure in home countries. Many war exposed families face a multitude of stressors until they reach resettlement in other countries, eventually becoming refugees. Can we unravel how the accumulation and dissipation of stressors in different phases, along the road to refuge, shape parenting among refugee parents?  Moreover, the new environment in resettlement might pose numerous stressors ranging from a loss of status, loss of financial resources, acculturation difficulties, and possibly an acculturation gap with their children. How do such stressors relate to parental self-efficacy and the use of autonomy-supportive parenting practices among refugee parents?  Can we strengthen parental self-efficacy in a micro-intervention, which in turn, might translate into more autonomy supportive parenting? Would improving parental self-efficacy weaken the link between daily stressors and parental self-efficacy among refugee parents? By doing so, we hope we can support a vulnerable population trying to build a new life after having faced extreme adversity.

  • Karen Fischer | Children’s genetic- and endophenotype-based differential susceptibility to parenting

    Some children are differentially susceptible to parenting. They suffer strongly from parents’ punitive behavior, but also profit strongly from reward-based parenting. This differential susceptibility has shown to have genetic and biophysiological underpinnings. We hypothesize that based on this biological-based susceptibility, children differ in the magnitude of their reactivity to parents’ use of reward and punishment strategies. Thus, susceptible children develop more positive behaviors when cherised, but when confronted with punitive parenting develop more disruptive-defiant behavior than non-susceptible children. We test this novel biological-based reward-punishment-sensitivity hypothesis among at-risk families with children (4-8 years), in a large-scale RCT and in a lab study.

  • Cisem Gürel | Be the best I can be: Reducing narcissistic aggression in youth by encouraging self-comparison

    Over the past decades, Western youth have become increasingly narcissistic. Narcissistic youth are at risk for aggression and violence, including such extreme acts as school shootings. Yet little is known about how to curb narcissistic aggression. The aim of this project is to contribute to the reduction of narcissistic aggression in youth by encouraging self- over social-comparison, using socialization and intervention strategies. We combine experimental, longitudinal, and intervention methods across laboratory and field settings. The project cuts across several disciplines, from pedagogics to social/personality, developmental, and clinical psychology.

  • Maud Hensums | Antisocial behaviour in adolescence

    Is antisocial behaviour in adolescence the result of poor or sufficient self-regulation? What if bullying and peer aggression are very effective tools for adolescents to gain the social rewards that they so often desire - status and respect in the form of acceptance, friends, popularity, and influence. From this perspective, the peer group is extremely important in rewarding bullying behaviour and it could be valuable to change social norms within the peer group in order to decrease antisocial behavior. Therefore, a randomized-controlled trial and follow-up experiments are conducted to investigate how changing social norms affect self-regulation and so fosters effective behavioral change and improved health in youths. By doing so, we hope to contribute to healthier peer networks and happier adolescents within high-schools.

    M. (Maud) Hensums

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Powl Docenten OWI/UPvA

  • Jolanda Kossakowski | The PsychoGraph: Developing a seismograph for psychopathology

    The research is focused on developing a system that assesses the risk for the onset of psychopathologies, and give guidelines to prevent it. We believe that the onset of psychopathologies like depression, occurs through what is called a critical transition: a discontinuous jump from one steady state (healthy mood) to another (depressed state). By analysing time-series data by means of a mean field approximation, the risk that individuals may have in developing a depression is assessed. A methodology will be developed with which a causal network can accurately be estimated, based on the both observational and experimental data, where individual variables are manipulated.

  • Mae Nuijs | Context matters: The role of emotional states during ABM targeting social anxiety

    Social anxiety is often characterized as an attentional bias for socially threatening stimuli. Cognitive models suggest that attentional bias plays a role in the etiology and maintenance of social anxiety. In order to reduce attentional bias and social anxiety, ‘Attentional Bias Modification’ (ABM) training paradigms were developed. Even though initial ABM studies were promising in this regard, several meta-analyses revealed mixed evidence. One potential factor that moderates ABM effectiveness is the context during training. The aim of this project is to establish whether the context during training influences the effectiveness of ABM.

  • Daan van Renswoude | How do infants distribute their attention over complex real-world scenes?

    In order to learn about the structure and properties of the world, infants must select useful information from their environments and use that information to identify objects, categories and, later on, more abstract concepts. Allocating attention towards objects instead of perceptual saliency is therefore a crucial step in human development, as object-based attention indicates the availability of some conceptual knowledge to recognize objects as such.

  • Maien Sachisthal | ASAP Science – Motivation in science video watching

    Videos are a promising tool to increase learners’ motivation and interest towards learning in general, and sciences, such as chemistry, in particular. Not much is known about science video watching by adolescents, however. The proposed project will investigate the role of individual differences in initial levels of interest and video characteristics on adolescents’ video watching behaviors to ultimately define a model of video watching. This model may be employed to personalize science education both in formal and informal context based on individual differences of science interest and motivation as well as video characteristics.

    M.S.M. (Maien) Sachisthal PhD

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group Developmental Psychology

  • Eline Wagemaker | Same problem, different causes: Individualized explanations for susceptibility to peer influence in adolescents with mild-to-borderline intellectual disabilities

    Adolescents with mild-to-borderline intellectual disabilities (MBID, 50<IQ<85) are more susceptible to peer influence than adolescents without MBID, leading to heightened real-life risk-taking. This project aims to establish the importance of three factors (inhibition, theory of mind, and interpretation bias) that may contribute to this increased susceptibility and assesses how each adolescent with MBID functions on each factor. With this information, a new intervention targeting these underlying factors in an individualized way will be developed and tested. This new individualized approach has great potential in mental health care for the MBID population, as well as for mental health care in general.

    E. (Eline) Wagemaker MSc

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group Developmental Psychology

  • Christiane Wesarg | Don't get stressed, baby!

    Don't get stressed, baby! Investigating the effects of early childhood adversity on the development of self-regulation. Investigating the effects of early childhood adversity on the development of self-regulationThe hypothesis is tested that effects of adversity, especially adverse family functioning,  on suboptimal development of self-regulation are mediated by dysregulation of the HPA-axis. Also, the project investigates whether the negative impact of early adversity can be mitigated by a parenting intervention.

    C. (Christiane) Wesarg

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group Developmental Psychology

  • Martina Zaharieva | Modeling the dynamic emergence of self-regulation from infancy into toddlerhood

    Among the central aspects of this project will be the development of novel eye-tracking measures to capture early individual differences in executive attention processing, both as a constituent and a longitudinal predictor of self-regulatory capacities later in life.

    M. (Martina) Zaharieva

    Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

    Programme group Developmental Psychology