Adolescence and the social brain

  • Dutch language proficiency required
  • Amsterdam

Website Vrije Universiteit

Adolescence is a critical period in social development. So Connect is a longitudinal study investigating the relationships between (the development of) social networks, social behavior, and neural mechanisms underlying social cognition in adolescents. In 2017, the study included around 600 adolescents in the first year of secondary school. In the behavioral study part of So Connect, this large cohort is tested twice a year at schools on social cognitive functioning, social network positioning, psychological wellbeing, and interpersonal relationships. A subsample of 85 participants is included in So Connect-fMRI to investigate the development of the neural mechanisms of social cognition. In this part of the study, brain activity is measured once a year during two social cognitive tasks (trust game and mentalizing task) using functional MRI. Additionally, brain activity is measured during resting-state to probe intrinsic brain connectivity that may underlie inter-individual differences in social cognition.


In January, the third measurement of So Connect-fMRI will start. We have internship positions available for two highly motivated, Dutch-speaking students who want to assist in fMRI data acquisition (providing instructions, assisting with scanning, contacting & planning participants) and want to learn how to analyze (longitudinal) fMRI data in combination with data of the behavioral study part. Given the wealth of data many research questions can be investigated, depending on the interest and experience of the student. You will be supervised by dr. Mariët van Buuren, Assistant Professor Clinical Developmental Psychology VU Amsterdam.


Available in weekends between January (or start of February) to end of April for MRI data acquisition  | Dutch-speaking | Good social skills and affinity with testing teenagers

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