Why should I help?  

If your child is between the ages of 12-16, we are seeking their involvement in an important study that will help us to understand more about how young people spend their free time. This will help us to identify which activities affect young people’s health and wellbeing.  

Will my child’s answers to these questionnaires be kept private?  

All data will be kept confidential. No personal information (name or identification number) will be recorded in this research and no information about individuals will be given to the schools that participate. All data will be processed anonymously. The results of this study might be presented online or in a scientific journal, but the data is not traceable to an individual.

What does participation involve?  

Children will be asked to fill out an online questionnaire every evening for a week in which they will answer questions about how they spent their leisure time during that day. This will take around 15 minutes to complete. Before the children start, we will ask them once a series of questions about other aspects of their lives such as their friendships, mood, and bullying. This will take about 30 minutes to complete.  

Your child’s participation in this survey is voluntary. If you agree to them participating in this study, you or your child can indicate at any time that you wish to withdraw, without having to give an explanation.  

How can I help?  

If your child’s school has been invited to participate in the research, a letter with a consent form will have been given to you by your child’s teacher, or you can download it here from the website. Depending on the age of you child, we may also need your consent for your child to take part in this study. Please refer to the consent form for more information.    

What if I have more questions?

If you need more information about the study, you could send an email to this address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..      


Project lead: Prof. Carolien Rieffe This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

Sensor data enhancing social inclusion on playgrounds: paper by Maedeh won PhD Interdisciplinarity Award!

Maedeh PhD award 2022

On 19 December 2022, our PhD student Maedeh Nasri (MSc in Computer Science) won the Wild Card Award for Interdisciplinary Research by the Institute of Psychology, Leiden University, for her paper on a data-driven approach towards better social inclusion for all children on playgrounds.

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Expert meeting: Enhancing schoolyard culture and social inclusion – policy matters!

exp meet 22 0How can schools be organized to encourage social inclusion and promote respect for diversity and individual differences? On November 16th this was discussed by members of several stakeholder organizations during an expert meeting on “Effect of policy on schoolyard culture and social inclusion” (Effect van beleid op schoolplein-cultuur en sociale inclusie) in the beautiful Hortus Botanicus, Amsterdam.


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Maedeh talks about children's behaviour and complex network analysis at CNA 2022

maedeh palermo combinedOn the 8-10th the 11th International Conference on Complex Networks and their Applications (CNA) took place in Palermo, Italy, and Maedeh presented her research on the spatio-temporal social network of children in the schoolyard. This network provides important information about how the physical and social environment impacts a child's behavior. For example - how do children utilize the schoolyard for face-to-face interactions? Do children interact anywhere or do they prefer to stay in a fixed spot to socialize? Preliminary results will be published soon, in the abstract book of the conference. 

Throwback time! Yung-Ting on her experiences at the International Summer School in Affective Sciences 2022.


“I realized that ‘wellbeing’ is something more complicated – and thus also interesting – than I thought.” On July 7-15th 2022, our resident postdoc Yung-Ting Tsou participated in the International Summer School in Affective Sciences (ISSAS). 

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Recent & Upcoming Events

01.10: Virtual keynote speech on social inclusion at playgrounds at CDFS 2022

lnk00001 On October 1st, Carolien will be speaking about our lab's most recent developments and updates at the 2022 International Conference on Child Development and Family Studies (CDFS). The keynote will be ONLINE and is entitled "Social inclusion at playgrounds – how to include children with communication difficulties". There is no registration fee! 

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15.09.: Carolien's Keynote "What are emotions, and what to do with them"

On the 9th of September, Carolien will present at the Kennisdag 2021 of Eetexpert, a knowledge centre for eating and weight problems in Leuven. The event will be themed around identity development and growth, and what can be done to support that growth - emotions play an important role of course!

June 30th: Carolien spoke about emotion skills, stress and burnout in young people

On June 30th 2022 Carolien gave a lecture at the Euregionaal Congresburo (ECB) online conference on over-questioning, stress and burn-out in children and adolescents. 

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April is for Autism Acceptance

Autism Acceptance

Every year, April 2nd is World Autism Day. And in that week - and really, the whole month -  it's time to celebrate Autism Acceptance! 

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The Focus on Emotions lab, featuring Fotis!

Fotis joined the Focus on Emotions lab for one year as a Master student, Intern and Research Assistant, while completing his degree in Developmental Psychology at Leiden University.

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Padova joined the chat: Double the lab, double the insights!

padove lab meet

Last Friday, 18 February, the weekly Focus on Emotions lab meeting was a bit bigger than usual, joined by researchers in Developmental Psychology from the University of Padova, in Italy! 

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Who are we?

FOE group 2019 crop

Our team is located at the department of Developmental Psychology of Leiden University and at the Human Media Interaction at the technical University of Twente, both in the Netherlands. We work in close collaboration with the ENT department of the Leiden University Medical Centre (LUMC), the mental health organisations INTER-PSY (Groningen) and Curium-LUMC, the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS), and TU Delft. Our group is dedicated to examining the development of emotional intelligence of children and adolescents from a very young age; with a strong focus on its impact on children's social development. Besides typically developing children and adolescents, we are interested in the development of those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH), with autism, or with a Developmental Language Disorder (DLD). Currently, we have an ongoing project on social inclusion at schools that utilises sensor technology with DHH and autistic children. Since 2017, our team has also been working in close collaboration with a centre for DHH children in China.

On this site we will post regular news items about new publications, events, and other important news. You can also read more about our ongoing projects, read about/download questionnaires we have developed, peruse the list of our publications per topic, or learn about opportunities for students to join our team.