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Social scientists well endowed with research talent

19 July 2013

Five of the seven research proposals submitted for a Research Talent grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) by researchers from the Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences have been honoured. ‘This is a high score, and we are naturally delighted,’ says organisational psychologist Prof. Nico van Yperen, director of the Graduate School for Behavioural and Social Sciences. Nationwide, 111 applications were submitted, 37 of which were approved.

The successful proposals from Groningen are:

A dynamic approach to analysing and predicting human behaviour after intervention
Principal applicant: Dr C.J. Albers, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Co-researcher: Ms S. Klooster BSc, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Thanks to modern technology, research designs with "big data" - large volumes of measurements over time - become more and more abundant. For such data, classical statistical techniques often are inadequate or, at best, suboptimal. The aim of this project is to develop novel statistical techniques for big data with a longitudinal compartment; thus measuring changes over time. These novel techniques will accurately describe the complicated underlying longitudinal patterns. The techniques will be applied to one of the most fundamental challenges of our time: that of influencing energy consumption. Software will be developed allowing these models to be used by applied researchers.

Sex Hormones, Lateralization and Cognitive Performance
Principal applicant: Dr R.H. Geuze, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Co-researcher: Ms T. Beking, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Between and within sexes individuals differ in lateralization of brain and behaviour that might affect cognitive performance. There is long standing debate to what extent variation in lateralization is due to variation in early or late exposure to sex hormones. We will use two unique data sets to test this by 1) correlating existing data on prenatal hormone exposure with brain lateralization and cognitive performance in healthy children of 14-15 years; 2) analysing the association between brain lateralization and cognitive performance in transgender persons both before and after hormone treatment in childhood/puberty and adulthood, and in matched controls.

Organic Growth Of Groups: When And How Do Bystanders Become An In-group
Principal applicant: Prof. E.H. Gordijn, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Co-researcher: Ms A. Mourik Broekman BSc, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
This research investigates group growth, in particular the transition from small to large groups. We focus on processes in small groups that enable such transition. Small groups are formed 'organically' around interactions and interdependencies. We aim to show that bystanders can get psychologically involved in this, even without participating actively. Through emotional; contagion and empathy, organic bonds can extend to bystanders. Psychologically, bystanders thus become part of an in-group. This process may, at a fundamental level, underpin a broad range of group growth phenomena and alter our understanding of large group formation.

Antecedents and consequences of adolescents' prosocial relationships: Peer group dynamics at the individual, dyadic, network, and contextual level
Principal applicant: Prof. D.R. Veenstra, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Co-researcher: Ms L. van Rijsewijk BSc, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
This proposal aims to investigate antecedents and consequences of adolescents prosocial relationships with peers. I extend previous research by focusing on prosocial relations rather than prosocial behavior as individual outcome, and investigating their development in the peer context. Using longitudinal social network analyses, the purpose of this project is examining (1) antecedents of prosocial relationships; (2) interplay of prosocial relationships with friendships and antipathies; (3) classroom norm influences on this interplay; and (4) consequences of prosocial relationships for behavioral adjustment. Together, the results of these studies provide key insights into initiation, development, and significance of adolescents? prosocial relationships with peers.

Peer influence on underachievement of excellent students in secondary education
Principal applicant: Prof. M.P.C. van der Werf, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Co-researcher: Ms J.I.S.M. van Leeuwen, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Approximately 30% of the students who are indicated as excellent at the end of primary education do not have optimal educational careers in secondary education; they either retain a class or graduate from lower educational levels than expected. Next to intelligence, self-regulation is an important predictor for academic achievement, suggesting that highly intelligent students with suboptimal educational careers might have self-regulation deficits during adolescence. At this age students are sensitive to peers who usually do not admire excellent study behavior. This study aims to explain underachievement of excellent students in secondary education through peer influence processes on self-regulating behavior
Last modified:15 September 2017 3.31 p.m.
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