Developmental Research Day
Doctor Honoris Causa, Professor Marian J. Bakermans-Kranenburg: Orchids and Dandelions - How We Differ in Our Susceptibility to the Environment
Some children and adults exposed to adversities suffer long-term negative consequences, whereas others develop relatively unscathed. Do individuals who are especially sensitive to environmental risks also benefit most from supportive environments? And what makes these ”orchids” more susceptible, whereas “dandelion” children seem to be unaffected?
Differential Susceptibility Theory paved the way for a radically new approach to the interplay between nature and nurture and its effect on human development. Correlational and experimental research, some of it carried it out in our lab, has provided support for the theory and identified specific markers of differential susceptibility. Thorny questions on mechanisms and ethical implications still remain.
Professor Marinus H. van IJzendoorn: A Tear Jerker - The Impact of Infant Crying
Infant crying elicits our empathy and drives us nuts. It alerts parents to the needs of the infant, but persistent infant crying has also been documented as a major trigger of maltreatment. But how do we perceive, interpret, and react to infant crying? What roles do gender, parenting experience, and oxytocin levels play in explaining the variance in reactivity to infant crying?
Together with Doctor Honoris Causa Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg and a team of Ph. D. students, Professor Marinus Van IJzendoorn has been studying the impact of infant crying at several levels of parental functioning: intended behavioral responses, handgrip strength, hormonal responses, and neural activation, moderated by genotype or child experiences. One of the themes throughout this series of studies is the way in which cognitive interpretations of acoustically similar crying sounds elicit diverging behavioral and neural responses.
Professor of Psychology Etzel Cardeña: etzel [dot] cardena [at] psy [dot] lu [dot] se
Associate Professor Elia Psouni, Head of the Developmental Psychology Division: elia [dot] psouni [at] psy [dot] lu [dot] se
(PHOTO: © Leiden University.)