dr. (Michelle) M Achterberg


Dr. Michelle Achterberg is a postdoctoral researcher in the SYNC-lab and is interested in social emotional development. In her studies, she focusses on the underlying neural mechanisms of, and environmental influences on, social emotion regulation in childhood.

Michelle collaborates on a large longitudinal twin study on brain development in childhood and emerging adolescence, as part of the Leiden Consortium on Individual Development (L-CID)). Within this study Michelle specifically focusses on longitudinal brain development and its relation to social information processing and behavioral control. Additionally, she is expanding her knowledge of functional and structural brain connectivity and investigates how brain development is influenced by genes and the environment.

On her personal website, dr. Achterberg regularly updates news on ongoing research projects and outreach activities: www.michelleachterberg.nl


Research interests: Behavioral control, Social Emotion Regulation,  Brain Development

Onderzoeksinteresses: Gedragscontrole, Sociale emotie regulatie, hersenontwikkeling



Michelle has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Research Master’s degree in Neuroscience. During her masters, Michelle worked as a research intern at the department of (child) psychiatry, University Medical Center Utrecht, where she gained her first experience with neuroimaging in children. Following her passion for developmental neuroscience, Michelle joined Eveline Crone’s Brain and Development Lab in 2014. In 2016 Michelle received a KNAW ter Meulen grant and Leiden University Fund to visit Prof. dr. Nim Tottenham at Columbia University New York. Michelle has presented her work on numerous national and international conferences and has received several trainee and travel awards.

In March 2020, Michelle defended her PhD thesis on “the nature, nurture and neural mechanisms of social emotion regulation in childhood”, for which she received the highest distinction (cum laude).

Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences

Assistant professor | Youth and Family
Burg. Oudlaan 50, Rotterdam


  • D (Daphne) van de Bongardt, R (Rianne) Kok, M (Michelle) Achterberg, SI (Sari) Hogye, FM (Frank) Weerman, J (Joran) Jongerling, MC (Miranda) Lutz & LP (Linda) Dekker (2021) - Annual Peer Relations Onderzoekers (PRO) conference

  • Michelle Achterberg, Lysanne te Brinke & Miranda Lutz (2022) - Dragon's Den Seed Fund

2.1C Biological Determinants

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News regarding dr. (Michelle) M Achterberg

Thanks to research by Michelle Achterberg, we better understand how children grow up to become social adults

Dr Michelle Achterberg researches the development of social behaviour in children. For her work, she received the Research Prize 2022 at the 109th Dies Natalis.
Michelle Achterberg, researcher at ESSB

Dissertation prize for Michelle Achterberg for research into social emotion regulation in children

Michelle Achterberg receives the Dissertation Award of the Dutch Association of Developmental Psychology for her doctoral research.

"Living labs can really reduce the gap between science and society"

Lysanne te Brinke, Michelle Achterberg and Karlijn Hermans talk about how they make impact through living labs and how the Impact Dialogue contributes to this.
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