Neural effects of feedback valence and cognitive load on learning and effort in adolescents

  • Dutch language proficiency required
  • English language proficiency required
  • Anywhere

University of Amsterdam, Department of Developmental Psychology


Name researcher(s): Prof. Dr. Hilde Huizenga, Anne-Wil Kramer, PhD candidate (daily supervisor)

E-mail address:,



When learning from feedback, some research shows better learning from negative than positive feedback, as negative feedback informs you about errors and leads to increased neural responsivity to prediction errors (PE), subsequently leading to faster value updating in (vm)PFC. However, especially during adolescence, positive feedback might be better due to its motivational aspects, leading to more cognitive effort investment, which then promotes learning by increasing PE related striatal activity. In this experimental model-based fMRI study, we will investigate how feedback valence and cognitive load affect learning and cognitive effort investment in adolescents.


Start date – end date:

November/December – June 2021 or February – June 2021


What will you be doing?

·        Broad literature review (reinforcement learning, effort-discounting, prediction errors)

·        Help think about experimental design

·        Adolescent MRI data-collection (speaking Dutch is required: non-Dutch students can still participate in the project but cannot (individually) collect data)

·        Statistical analyses (behavioural and fMRI)


What do we expect from you?

·        Basic knowledge of fMRI data-analysis and fMRI experimental design

·        Interest in adolescent development

·        Precise and highly motivated


We also provide the possibility to co-author the paper

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