News

Better memory at ideal temperature

People’s working memory functions better if they are working in an ambient temperature where they feel most comfortable. That is what Leiden psychologists Lorenza Colzato and Roberta Sellaro conclude after having conducted research. They are publishing their findings in Psychological Research.


Difference between brain hemispheres not so strict

The difference between the rational left hemisphere and the emotional right hemisphere is by no means as strict as the popular view would have us believe. PhD candidate Jurriaan Witteman has published a study on this topic in Cognitive, Affective and Behavioural Neuroscience.


Tyrosine helps you stop faster

A child suddenly runs out into the road. Brake!! A driver who has recently eaten spinach or eggs will stop faster, thanks to the amino acid tyrosine found in these and other food products. Leiden cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato publishes her findings in the journal Neuropsychologia.


More sensitive to social exclusion

Children who experience chronic rejection and exclusion by their parents can become more sensitive to social exclusion later on in life and suffer the effects for a longer period of time. This is the subject of an online publication on the website Plos One by Anne-Laure van Harmelen and her Leiden University colleagues.


How autistic children learn to control their emotions

Children with autism spectrum disorder often suffer from social and mental health problems. PhD research by Lucinda Pouw (Developmental and Educational Psychology) has shown that how they deal with their emotions is an important factor. PhD defence 14 January.


Verbal abuse does hurt

Emotional child abuse has negative effects on cognition and the structure and functioning of the brain, as Leiden PhD-student Anne-Laura van Harmelen has discovered. Her PhD defence is on 10th of December.


Need inspiration? Let’s get physical!

People who exercise regularly are better at creative thinking. This is the outcome of research by Leiden cognitive psychologist Lorenza Colzato. She published an article on this subject in the scientific magazine Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.


Reduced cognitive control in passionate lovers

People who are in love are less able to focus and to perform tasks that require attention. Researcher Henk van Steenbergen concludes this, together with colleagues from Leiden University and the University of Maryland. The article has appeared in the journal Motivation and Emotion.


Speed-dating to find your thesis supervisor

Four talented students will have the opportunity to progress smoothly from their master’s study programme into a research career. Master’s students in Applied Statistics can compete for one quarter of the € 800,000 grant recently awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The students get to choose their supervisor via speed-dating.


Trust through food

People’s trust in others increases after eating food that contains the amino acid tryptophan, found in fish, soya, eggs and spinach. Leiden psychologist Lorenza Colzato and her colleagues at the Universities of Leiden and Münster published their findings in Psychological Science.


Social equality as a moral ideal

How do you motivate people to strive for equal opportunities? According to social psychologist Serena Does, by appealing to their sense of morality. PhD defence 14 May.


How do deaf children develop in a hearing environment?

Deaf and hard-of-hearing youngsters often grow up in a hearing environment. Does this have consequences for their socio-emotional functioning? Maartje Kouwenberg (Developmental and Educational Psychology) concludes that there is no simple answer to this question. Her PhD defence was on 18 April 2013.


Gaming: bad or good for your memory?

Violent video games, such as First Person Shooter games, are often accused in the media of making people more aggressive. However, the question is: do these games have also positive effects for our mental processes? Could gaming be a fast, easy way to improve your memory? 


How does a nuclear physicist become a dementia expert?

Serge Rombouts, Professor of Cognitive Neuro-imaging, works at Leiden University, both at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and at the LUMC: a perfect combination of his two specialist fields. He has been awarded a Vici grant for research on early-stage dementia.


‘Children with autism do see that someone is sad’

Leiden autism expert Carolien Rieffe discovered that children suffering from Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are most definitely moved by another person’s emotions, but that they react to it differently from their more normally developing peers. This insight leads to a different type of diagnosis and treatment.


Young researchers with a Rubicon grant going abroad

Quentin Bourgeois, Jan Dahlhaus and Kim de Jong will be going to a foreign university for one year to do research. The promising young Leiden researchers have been awarded a Rubicon grant for this purpose from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).


How do children learn complex language?

If you want children to understand what you say, use short, simple sentences and talk about things that they can test against reality. This is the conclusion of research by cognitive psychologist Jun Lai. Defence on 26 February 2013.