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Krabbendam Lydia

Department of Clinical Neuro and Developmental Psychology
Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Science
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
The Netherland

Short bio:

I am full professor of Developmental Neuropsychology at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Faculty of Behavioral and Movement Sciences, where I am head of the department of Clinical, Neuro- and Developmental Psychology. I also hold a registration as clinical neuropsychologist (Dutch Health Register BIG). I obtained my PhD in 2000 at the Institute of Mental Health and Neuroscience (Maastricht University, the Netherlands) and continued working at this institute before moving to the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2009. My research focuses on the neural and behavioural mechanisms of social cognitive development in adolescence. To this end, I have adapted game-theoretical approaches to study the neural and behavioural mechanisms of real-time social interactions in typical and atypical development. My recent work focuses on the associations between social-economic background, social-cognitive development, and mental health and wellbeing in adolescence. This research is embedded in three ongoing projects: ALIVE (Improving Adolescent mentaL health by reducing the Impact of poVErty, 2021-2026) funded by the Wellcome Trust); the IMPROVA consortium (funded by the EU Horizon Health program 2022) and the GUTS consortium (Growing Up Together in Society, funded by NWO Gravitation, 2023-2033).


Lydia Krabbendam — Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (
About me (

Social cognitive development in adolescence


Adolescence is a period of social change. Adolescents become increasingly concerned with the opinions of others, friendships with peers become more intense, and social relationships become more important. As a result, peer acceptance becomes a powerful motivator, and adolescents become more sensitive than adults to social exclusion, and ostracism. This increased social sensitivity has been linked to various forms of psychopathology.

With age, adolescents become increasingly adept at reading emotional cues as well as modulating emotional responses and taking other’s perspective. Improvements in social cognitive abilities, such as perspective-taking, allow adolescents to experience more complex emotions. Perspective-taking abilities during adolescence have also been related to interpersonal trust. The changes in social competence and social behavior during adolescence are paralleled by extensive development of the network known as the social brain.

In my presentation, I will give an overview of social-cognitive and brain development in adolescence, and how these are related to the risks and opportunities of this important developmental phase.

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