Principal Investigators
Wouter van den Bos (PI)

I have a broad background in both neuroscience and developmental psychology and my research broadly investigates the relation between the developing brain and changes in behavior. More specifically, my research is focused on how changes in brain function and structure relate to typical and atypical development of learning and decision-making. To approach these questions, I use computational models, social network analyses, and methods form experimental economics. Computational models are used to quantify behavior and the complex processes underlying learning and decision-making. The parameters from these models support spanning the bridge between developmental theories and neurobiology, and enable to identify more specific processes that underlie developmental change. Using these techniques I have investigated the neurocognitive development of risky & intertemporal choice ,  basic learning mechanisms , social decision-making, and social learning{for more info and CV}

Currently I am an Associate Professor at the Developmental Psychology Department of the  University of Amsterdam & Director of the Connected Minds Lab,  Adjunct Research Scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development Center for Adaptive Rationality, and Faculty at the Max Planck UCL Centre for Computational Psychiatry and Ageing Research

Lucas Molleman (PI)

Lucas studies how people learn from others:  when are people influenced by others, and how do people use information from their social environment to change their behavior? To answer those questions, he uses knowledge from biology, behavioral economics, and psychology. After his PhD in Biology at the University of Groningen in 2014, Lucas started working at the Centre for Decision Research and Experimental Economics in Nottingham (UK). In 2016 he started at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin, and he joined the Connected Minds Lab at the University of Amsterdam in 2018. 



Lieke Hofmans

I started as a postdoc in the Connected Minds lab in 2021, after completing my PhD in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Donders Institute in Nijmegen. I study i) how distinct social environments, e.g. different types of individuals, influence someone’s cognitive performance, decision making processes and learning and ii) how this changes over the course of adolescence. With a background in psychology and neurobiology, I am interested in behavior as well as the underlying neural processes. To answer my research questions, I use computerized tasks, computational modeling and fMRI.

Karlijn Hoyer

Karlijn started as a postdoc in the Connected Minds lab at the beginning of 2023 after completing her PhD in Economic Psychology at the department of Social Psychology at Tilburg University. There she focused on greed in (economic) decision making. At the Connected Minds lab, she researches why and when people follow rules. She looks at, for example, the relative importance of economic incentives (e.g., fines) and social information (e.g., seeing others violating the rules). She is part of an interdisciplinary team with Lucas Molleman (Developmental Psychology; Connected Minds lab), Jan Hausfeld (Economics) and Christin Scholz (Communication Science).



Ana Pinho (UvA)

I am a PhD candidate in the Connected Minds Lab, and my project will focus on how adolescents search for and select information in a social network, and how neuro-cognitive development might influence information selection and decision making. Prior to my PhD, I completed my MSc in child development where I specialized in developmental psychopathology. During my master, I conducted research on two topics: (1) emotion processing in infancy, and (2) effects of adolescent and child personality on parenting and delinquency. 

Scarlett Slagter (UvA)

Scarlett earned her Bachelor’s degree in Psychobiology and pursued her Research Master’s in Developmental Psychology and Psychological Methods at the University of Amsterdam. Her primary interest lies in the cognitive and psychosocial development of adolescents. As a researcher she hopes to contribute to fostering a healthy development in children.
In February 2019, Scarlett commenced her Ph.D. as part of Wouter van de Bos’s SOCIAL SMART project. Her current focus involves exploring the social learning strategies employed by adolescents—specifically, investigating when and whom adolescents turn to for behavioral guidance. By the end of her project, she hopes to help adolescents navigate their social environment in an smart way, enabling them to make well-informed decisions with the support of selective social guidance.

Damien Fleur (UvA)

Since November 2018 I am a PhD student in an interdisciplinairy project at the Institute of Informatics and the department of Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam.  My research focusses on the development of metacognition (i.e., the knowledge of your own knowledge). I am also interested in how we can improve the metacognition of pupils with technology and how the development of metacognition relates to performance. Technology gives us the chance to give personalized feedback on the study behavior of pupils, a.o. with visualizations.

Andrea Gradassi (UvA)

My background is in Philosophy and Neuroscience, and my broad research interests are in the field of decision making and social learning. I study how information is sampled, shared and used by human agents. In my PhD project, I am looking to investigate how these mechanisms emerge and eventually change during the course of development.

Maud Hensums (Co-Supervisor)

In my work as remedial educationalist and researcher, I am constantly working on the question how young people can develop optimally within their (social) environment. I think about the function of certain behaviour and how this behaviour fits within a social context. Thereby, I think it’s important to keep investigating how we can help young people move forward. In my opnion, the input given by young people is essential and I, therefore, like to work as much together with them as possible. 

Federica Nisini (Co-supervisor)

I have a background in Psychology (BSc) and Cognitive Neuroscience (MSc).
Since autumn 2020, I am a PhD candidate in Cognitive Neuroscience at the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENs) in Bonn (Germany), working on the effect of social information on decision-making and its neural correlates. Specifically, I will investigate how these cognitive processes may be impacted by the modern – often heavy – usage of social technologies, from a behavioural and neural point of view. I am also interested in the role that social information has on the attribution of veracity and the spread of online news on social networking sites.


(Inter)national Collaborations

Simon Ciranka (MPI Berlin)
Ralf  Kurvers (MPI)
Barbara Braams (VU)
Anna van Duijvenvoorde (Universiteit Leiden)
Simon Gächter (University of Nottingham)
Daniele Nosenzo (Aarhus University)
Cristina Bicchieri (University of Pennsylvania)
Björn Lindström (Karolinska Institutet)
Pieter van den Berg (KU Leuven)
Rob Nelissen (Tilburg University)
Christoph Kogler (Tilburg University)
Essi Viding (UCL)
Florian van Leeuwen (Tilburg University)

Lab Managers

Laura Tiersma
Ethan Dampf (MPI)
Bachelor Students
Fay Looman (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Mandy Voorbij (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Gaia van Munster (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Milyska Uhlhorn (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Sophie Lucassen (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Selini Vergotis (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Sofie Hament (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Daan Hooij (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Sophie Nicolaï (BSc Psychobiology, UvA)
Master Students
Nanda Jafarian (Research Master, VU)
Chiara Richardt (Research Master, UvA)
 Hannah Armstrong (Research Master, UvA)
Tim Vervenne (Research Master, UvA)
Ella Andriessen
Britt Plantenga