(Prosocial) Risk Taking 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, besides the negative forms of risk-taking like binge drinking and substance abuse, it is also expected that adolescents show more prosocial risk-taking behaviour, where you help someone else even though this may impose a risk for yourself.
This project focuses on expanding the knowledge on prosocial risk-taking in adolescence, as more insight in the phenomenon of prosocial risk-taking and the characteristics associated with that can positively stimulate this behaviour over negative and antisocial risk-taking behaviour. This is investigated using an online data collection.
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 data collection, participant recruitment and data analysis. The research team has a different dataset available that can be used as the subject for the thesis, as the current data collection is just starting.
We are also testing for a fMRI study, for which data collection would also be part of this Mthesis.

Command of the Dutch language is a must. Good interpersonal skills and affinity to work with youth. For the fMRI data collection availability in weekends for testing.

Dr. Barbara Braams, drs. Rebecca van Rijn

Do, K. T., Moreira, J. F. G., & Telzer, E. H. (2017). But is helping you worth the risk? Defining prosocial risk taking in adolescence. Developmental cognitive neuroscience, 25, 260-271.

Armstrong-Carter, E., Do, K. T., Moreira, J. F. G., Prinstein, M. J., & Telzer, E. H. (2021). Examining a new prosocial risk-taking scale in a longitudinal sample of ethnically diverse adolescents. Journal of adolescence, 93, 222-233.


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