Mariƫtte Huizinga, Ph.D.

Research

I am PI of the NIHC-granted research project 'A neurocognitive perspective on the struggle between socio-emotional impulses and cognitive control among adolescents who attend pre-vocational secondary education.' The shortened title (in Dutch) of the project is 'Slim naar school'. 

The project examines questions such as:

- Why is it that some adolescents attend school virtually effortless, while others experience delay or even drop-out? 
- Why is it that the one adolescent is perfectly able to balance his/her homework and social life, while others are not? 
- Which factors are related to an adolescent's ability to resist the attraction of the internet and social media?


Goal of the project
The focus of the project is on the development of ‘goal-directed behavior’ in adolescents. Goal-directed behavior includes, for example, planning of homework, showing up on time, or prepare for a presentation. Many adults experience difficulties in this area, but for adolescents, reaching goals is even more complicated. In daily life, they are exposed to many impulses (such as social media, mobile phones, and the internet), possibly leading to distraction. In addition, their friends are very important, and some adolescents even take risks in order to belong to a peer group. So-called cognitive control helps us to show goal-directed, adaptive, behavior. In most children, the cognitive control system and the socio-emotional system get into balance during adolescence. Great differences in this ‘balancing process’ between children however exist. The goal of the project is to examine these differences, and their underlying factors.