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Development and Learning

During his or her lifespan, every human continues to develop and learn. The researchers within this theme investigate the biological, cognitive, motivational, social and emotional processes related to this ‘life-long learning’. Our aim is to produce insights that directly and indirectly help all members of society – regardless of age – to live fulfilling and productive lives.

We look at how people learn and the underlying processes that support their development. We focus on motor learning, language acquisition and peer relations as well as on teaching, coaching and training. While we specialise in infants as a target group, we also research all other age groups derived from normative and atypical populations, such as the gifted or physically/mentally handicapped.

Investigating biological, cognitive and behavioural processes

The various contexts and factors that shape development are investigated. Think of family ties, schooling, work environment, community, culture, media, and also physiological and genetic influences. We investigate many of these factors using longitudinal designs that monitor our target groups over several months or even years. Our researchers assess:

  • Neural and biological processes associated with development and learning (fMRI, EEG, cortisol reactivity, etc)
  • Cognitive processes (eye-tracking, reaction times, etc)
  • Behavioural processes (performance tests, observational measures, online surveys, etc)

We perform experimental and non-experimental studies that take place in various environments ranging from the lab to school, work and home.

Contributions to society

Our research has implications for prenatal consultancy, early childcare and primary and secondary education, including school interventions and gifted or special needs education. For example, we have developed many educational programmes (e.g. Samen Onderzoeken), media campaigns, educational applications and games for children (e.g. Letterprins), interventions, and guidelines.

Researchers actively collaborate with local and national partners, ranging from child-care centres, primary and secondary schools and the Radboud Teacher Academy to sports associations, police departments, and local and national governmental organisations. We also cooperate with knowledge centres such as the Royal Dutch Kentalis, OPM, and the Centre for the Study of Giftedness.