Succesfull (self-)study: the role of cognitive and socio-emotional development

Mariëtte Huizinga (VU University, Amsterdam)

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-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.

In this presentation, I will focus on these differences, and their underlying factors – in relation to school performance.

Friday, August 30, 10.15-11.00
Thematic Session 3: practicing

About Mariëtte Huizinga

Mariette Huizinga is associate professor at the 'LEARN!' Research Insitute (Department of Educational Neuroscience), at the VU University of Amsterdam. The main focus of her research is on the development of executive functions, between childhood and young-adulthood. Executive functions are brain processes allowing someone to show goal-directed behavior, by flexibly adjusting to the changing circumstances in the environment. In doing so, we are, for example, able to show up on time, suppress outbursts for little reason, plan homework, or come up with alternative solutions. Together with Dr. Diana Smidts, she developed the Dutch adaptation of the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF) for children between ages 5 and 18. In addition, they co-authored a book on the development of executive function for the general audience: 'Gedrag in uitvoering'.