Michelle Achterberg, PhD.

I am Michelle Achterberg, a developmental neuroscientist with an interest in social development and appointed as Assistant Professor in Pedagogical Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam.


For collaborations, questions and/or knowledge utilization, you can contact me by email at achterberg@essb.eur.nl 



I am an ambitious, eager and passionate young researcher with a strong vision that science becomes better when using an interdisciplinary approach, which I accomplish by integrating theories and methods from Developmental Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience, and Pedagogical Sciences, and by consulting societal stakeholders. It is my ambition to combine fundamental top science with societal impact using citizen science.


Research line

Our current generation of youth is unique in their social development: Growing up in the digital age, contemporary youth are hyperconnected with their peers as social interaction nowadays takes place both offline and online, without restrictions of time and place. This also brings new challenges for developing social relations and dealing with social rejection (i.e., regulating aggression following negative feedback). While some socially rejected children suffer from widespread and persistent impairments in mental health, other children seem more resilient in dealing with social rejection.


Why are some children better at dealing with social rejection than others? When across development do these individual differences emerge? And are individual differences in dealing with social rejection related to social experiences and well-being later in life? These questions are the driving force behind my research line on social competence development.