Applied Neuroscience in Human Development

Are you interested in the neurocognitive and biological roots of learning, behaviour and emotions in children? If so, the programme in Applied Neuroscience in Human Development might be the specialisation you are looking for.

Applied Neuroscience in Human Development is one of the eight specialisations of the Master’s programme in Education and Child Studies that you can choose at Leiden University.

The primary focus in the curriculum of the master specialisation Applied Neuroscience in Human Development is on how knowledge about brain functioning and stress regulation can contribute to educational practice, clinical work, family interventions, and – conversely – how these applications can contribute to optimal neurocognitive and biological functioning.

As a graduate you will have acquired knowledge and skills in:

  • The basics of the functional anatomy of the brain, the development of the brain and nervous system, and genetic and environmental factors influencing cognitive development and functioning;
  • Methods and instruments for measuring and studying the quality of the (central) nervous system, such as EEG, brain imaging techniques such as MRI, parameters of the arousal system such as heart rate and skin conductance, eye tracking, genetics and the hormone system;
  • Possibilities for prevention and intervention aimed at optimizing brain functioning and the regulation of thought, emotions and behavior.

Why choose this specialisation at Leiden University?

Knowledge of children’s normal development is a requirement to be able to design and understand research on problematic developmental processes and outcomes.

This master’s specialisation is intended for you if you wish to become an expert in the neurocognitive and biological correlates of emotions, learning, and behavior, both in non-clinical parents and children and in case of problematic development.

Master details

  • Dit is een afstudeerrichting van: Education and Child Studies
  • Graad Master of Science in Education and Child Studies
  • Onderwijsvorm Full-time and part-time. Part-time study is not possible for students requiring a visa or residence permit.
  • Duur 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
  • Start September, February
  • Taal English. In Dutch if only Dutch students attend classes
  • Vestigingsplaats Leiden
  • Croho/isatcode 60396

Prof. Paul van den Broek

“I study how successful reading takes place, as well as where things go wrong. We are using fMRI and EEG, but also a relatively new technique, magnetoencephalography.”

“What goes wrong in the brain of a struggling reader? Despite considerable efforts by researchers, educators and policy-makers, many children struggle to learn to read. Even in the Netherlands, where reading achievement approaches the top amongst European countries, 10-15% of group 6 children (9-10 year-olds) do not have adequate reading skills.

I study how successful reading takes place, as well as where things go wrong. Using behavioural and imaging techniques, I investigate the cognitive processes and the areas of the brain that are involved and connected when we are reading texts. We are using fMRI and EEG, but also a relatively new technique, magnetoencephalography (MEG).This measures the magnetic activity of the brain. One advantage of MEG is that it has very good temporal as well as good spatial resolution. Using this technique we can measure by the millisecond changes in the patterns of brain activity during reading.

Ideally, in the near future the results may inform diagnosis and intervention. Neurological investigation of learning-related activities is most developed in research into the specific disorder of dyslexia, but we will investigate what goes wrong in the brains of a much larger population, namely that of readers who struggle with comprehension.”

Ontdek een master die bij jou past!