Rita Vuyk Lectures

Developmental Psychology

Since January 2009 the department of Developmental Psychology has been organizing the "Rita Vuyk Lectures".


These lectures are in honour of prof.dr. Margueritha Vuyk. She was the first full professor in Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam. See the Album Academicum of the University of Amsterdam for more information.

These monthly lectures will have a diverse character with a wide range of eminent speakers and could be of interest to both students and employees from all departments. Here, the dates, speakers and topics for the Rita Vuyk lectures are listed.

For the most recent past lectures see below. For a full overview see the Archive.

May 22th 2018, 16:00-17:00 in REC-A2.06. dr. Delphine Sasanguie - Ontwikkelingspsychologie - KU Leuven. The key role of cognitive control in the relation between basic numerical skills, math anxiety and math performance.

In this talk, I will start with discussing the (predictive) association between the performance on basic numerical processing tasks and mathematics achievement. I will show that, to date, it is clear that symbolic number processing is far more predictive for future math development than non-symbolic processing. Next, I will focus on symbolic processing per se. Based on the results of several studies, I will show that the dominant hypothesis which states that symbols are ‘mapped’ onto their non-symbolic counterpart can be questioned and instead propose the existence of distinct mechanisms for processing symbolic and non-symbolic number. Subsequent, I will show that, if symbolic number processing is further unraveled, in both adults and children, especially number ordering in this processing is responsible for the association with mathematics achievement. Finally, I will argue that in this ordering ability, cognitive control might play a role and that a deficiency in cognitive control also has been reported in theories explaining math anxiety. I will present a first study demonstrating the key role of cognitive control in the interaction between cognitive and affective factors predicting math achievement, and implications for our understanding of symbol grounding and focus in math instructions will be discussed.

This lecture is hosted by Brenda Jansen.


June 5th 2018, 16:00-17:00 in REC-E0.03. Claire Goriot, Centre for Language Studies, Radboud University Nijmegen. How early-English education influences pupils’ cognitive and linguistic development 

The number of Dutch primary schools that provide early-English education has grown tremendously in the past decades. These schools provide English education from the moment that children enter kindergarten at the age of four. Generally, they provide one hour of English per week. The main goal of this type of education is to increase children’s knowledge of English, and their abilities to communicate in that language. It may be that early-English education has a beneficial influence on multiple other domains of development, too. Previous research has shown that growing up with two languages instead of one may affect children’s linguistic and cognitive development. However, these studies mainly focused on children who acquired the second language in a (relatively) naturalistic way. The question remains if the same benefits also hold for early-English pupils in the Netherlands, who acquire a second language in an instructed setting, and who are getting relatively little exposure to that language. I will present the results of multiple studies investigating whether the linguistic and cognitive development of early-English pupils differs from that of mainstream pupils and resembles that of early Dutch-English bilingual children. The focus will be both on children’s cognitive development (executive functions), and language development (vocabulary, perception of English phonetic contrasts). The results show that early-English education may be beneficial to some of the investigated developmental domains, but certainly not all of them. 

Published by  PRI

15 May 2018