(Prosocial) Risk-taking behavior in adolescents

  • Dutch language proficiency required
  • Amsterdam

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Department: Department of Developmental Psychology, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Aim of the study:
Adolescence, the phase of the lifespan between childhood and adulthood, is a period of life associated with wide-ranging social, emotional, and cognitive development. During this time, there are normative changes in social attunement, reward-related motivation, and future-oriented thinking. One manifestation of these complex processes in an increase in risk-taking behaviour. Excessive amounts of risk-taking behaviour can lead to adverse consequences in the long term. However, it is currently not well understood what processes lead to an increase in risky decision making in adolescence.
This project focuses on how decision making in adolescence differs from decision making in childhood and adulthood and how these differences in decision making strategies give rise to increases in risky decision making. This is investigated using functional MRI, where participants visit the Spinoza Centre for Neuroimaging and perform behavioural tasks in the MRI scanner and fill in several questionnaires. Over a time span of two weeks, they visit the Spinoza Centre three times and fill in a short diary questionnaire every day.
Start date:
September 2022 (but project continues so later is also possible, contact us for possibilities)

End date:
Flexible (duration at least 6 months, longer is possible as well)

You will work in a team and together you are responsible for all aspects of the data collection. This includes MRI data collection, participant testing and participant recruitment.

Command of the Dutch language is a must. Good interpersonal skills. Affinity to work with youth (16-17 year old) and learning fMRI analysis. Available in weekends for testing.

Dr. Barbara Braams, drs. Rebecca van Rijn

Braams, B. R., Davidow, J. Y., & Somerville, L. H. (2018). Developmental patterns of change in the influence of safe and risky peer choices on risky decision‐making. Developmental science, e12717.

Braams, B. R., van Duijvenvoorde, A. C., Peper, J. S., & Crone, E. A. (2015). Longitudinal changes in adolescent risk-taking: a comprehensive study of neural responses to rewards, pubertal development, and risk-taking behavior. Journal of Neuroscience, 35(18), 7226-7238.

Somerville, L. H., Jones, R. M., & Casey, B. J. (2010). A time of change: behavioral and neural correlates of adolescent sensitivity to appetitive and aversive environmental cues. Brain and cognition, 72(1), 124-133.


To apply for this job email your details to r.van.rijn@vu.nl