The central aim of the research programme is the search for determinants and risk- or protective factors for neurodevelopmental problems in adaptive behaviour.
The central aim of the research programme is the search for determinants and risk- or protective factors for neurodevelopmental problems in adaptive behaviour. The detection of determinants, risk factors and protective factors of developmental problems during childhood is relevant for prevention, intervention, treatment and optimal coping.
Dysfunctional brain-behaviour interactions may lead to developmental psychopathology and result in social dysfunctioning (social inadequacy or aggression) and cognitive and emotional problems. Serious developmental problems can lead to very serious outcome, like psychosis, or other chronic problems that account for a lifetime of intensive use of care.
Focus of research is on early development, childhood and adolescence, mostly within the areas of autism and autism related disorders, ADHD, ODD/CD, Klinefelter syndrome and neurodevelopmental disorders in general.
The overall programme is inspired by a bio-psycho-social developmental framework for child psychopathology. The research and intervention projects are based on a multi-factorial model and focus on the biological and psychological vulnerabilities in children, which interact both with risk and protective factors in their daily living environment embedded in the wider social and cultural context of society.
In this framework, serious developmental behavioural problems result from underlying brain dysfunctions that are related to genetic or environmental influences. In our programme, especially those brain functions are studied that account for regulation of thought and behaviour, the functions that monitor processing of information and adaptation to the surrounding (social) world and the huge amounts of stimuli that are provided by it.
Foci of research are the neurobiological and neurocognitive functions that are involved in regulation as well as the environmental factors that facilitate or hamper the development of these functions. The integrity of brain development and brain functionality (neurocognition and neurobiology) is reflected in social and adaptive behaviour, which is a central theme in our research projects.