Societal outreach & impact

I greatly enjoy investing in creative ways to engage society in science. I am passionate about sharing scientific knowledge and sparking society’s curiosity, through media interviews, video's, populair-scientific papers, blogs and public lectures.

Media appearances

Populair-Scientific publications

De Haan, A., Vreeker, A. & Achterberg, M. (2023). Pleidooi voor breder perspectief op jeugdzorg. Sociale here for the article (in Dutch)


Achterberg, M. (2021). Lockdown-stress raakt kwetsbare pubers en ouders het hardst. Tijdschrift voor Orthopedagogiek, 60. click here for pdf (in Dutch)


Achterberg, M. (2022). Het puberbrein in beweging. Hersenontwikkeling en sociaal gedrag in relatie tot lichamelijke opvoeding. Lichamelijke Opvoeding Magazine, 9. click here for pdf (in Dutch)


Topdoks is a Dutch educational TV programme about science and technology. In this episode Mara van der Meulen and I are showing the presentor how the MRI works, and how the brain processes emotions

Child development and traffic safety

Together with Veilig Verkeer Nederland I developed short video clips with tips and tricks for parents regarding traffic safety and traffic education, based on solid scientific findings. There are four video's aimed at parents with children aged 0-4, 4-8, 8-12 and 12-16. The video's are in Dutch.  

I really liked working on this project and learned so much of it. I think this is a great example of how we can bridge the gap between scientific findings and practical implications for everyday life!


In June 2021, the Oudewater newspaper published an article about the initiative proposal that I founded together with the local political party VVDenD66 Oudewater. Within the initiative, we advocate for more attention to the negative impact of the COVID-19 measures on the (social) well-being of young people.  The initiative has been enthusiastically received by the municipality of Oudewater.

Public lectures 

On may 19th I gave a lecture during the general members meeting of the Leiden division of the Koninklijke Vereniging voor Lichamelijke Opvoeding (KVLO). In my lecture I explained how the brain changes and matures during puberty and development, and discussed how this biological and psychological changes might reflect certain behaviors during the physical education classes at primary - and high school. 


The adolescent brain & financial risks

I gave a lecture for Schouders Eronder & Zorgverzekeringslijn on their theme day: How do we reach young people with financial issues (i.e., health insurance debts) 

In my lecture I discussed that in order to help youth with debts, it is important to take into account knowledge from developmental neuroscience. We know why adolescents often take more risks, they crave for independence and are more sensitive to peer pressure. We often see that interventions try to reverse this kinds of behaviour - However, I propose professionals can try to use these underlying motivations of young people in dealing with debt correctly, for example by setting healthy financial group norms or introducing buddy-systems. 

PhD thesis vlog

In this 7 minute video I highlight the most important findings of my PhD project!