Clinical testing of cerebellum on autism (ASD) patients

ID: MSCA-19-VanOverwalle06


fMRI scans of autism (ASD) patients and matched controls

ID: MSCA-19-VanOverwalle07


Social cerebellum and reading other mental states

ID: MSCA-19-VanOverwalle08


Intervention program to train action sequences

ID: MSCA-19-VanOverwalle09


Brain, Body and Cognition

The Brain, Body and Cognition (BBCO) research group focuses on the comprehensive study of mental processes and their biological (brain and body) correlates in different domains of human functioning and behavior, such as cognition, social judgment, affect, well-being and sleep. Without doubt, the study of the brain and body, and its related mental processes is at the forefront of current research in many disciplines of psychology. Together with behavioral (experimental – observational) approaches, novel neurobiological methodology is becoming increasingly used in psychological research, and allows unprecedented insights in human mental processes.

These novel techniques include:

  • brain imaging including electroencephalography (EEG), and functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI),
  • (virtual) lesions studies,
  • brain stimulations techniques such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) which is used at the forefront of neural treatment in order to alleviate symptoms of patients with neural or psychological dysfunctions,
  • biological measures that investigate the role of the body, including neurotransmitters, hormones and genes on psychological functioning.

It is expected that the field of neurobiology (brain and body) will continue to grow strongly in the coming years by developing more and more advanced applications and theoretical approaches, discovering more about the functions of the brain and body, and hereto unknown neurobiological processes that impact on psychology. Especially the deeper brain areas are still largely unexplored, including the function and structure of the cerebellum, and genetic origins of psychological functions, structures, and pathologies.

The BBCO group responds to this ever-growing evolution with closer collaborations between the different experts who share thier complementary insights and methods. One of the main strengths of our research group is the fact that it incorporates many different subfields of psychology (cognitive, social cognitive, affective and biological psychology, both at a behavioral and biological scientific level). This results in a dynamic and unique group of young and senior researchers with multiple domains of expertise. This yields many opportunities for research innovation on some current research topics, and will further extend the research group’s international prestige.




University governance and leadership



Blended Learning and MOOC research



The EU-China Higher Education Research Center (ECHE)

The EU-China Higher Education Research Center (ECHE) is a research group and platform at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel dedicated to research and cooperation on higher education issues among European and Chinese HEIs. The mission of ECHE is to conduct research in the area of higher education, to facilitate research collaborations between European and Chinese higher education institutions, and to promote mutual understanding about the educational systems, policies, governance, innovations, practices, and cultural issues related to higher education in the EU and China. ECHE has coordinated three EU-funded projects engaging both European and Chinese universities on collaboration and joint actions in the area of doctoral education, university governance and academic leadership. In recent years, more than 10 PhD researchers have been engaged in research at ECHE and has completed their PhD research projects.

Visit website: https://www.vub.be/en/research/eu-china-higher-education-research-center#eche

Online and Blended Learning Competence Center

The Online and Blended Learning Competence Center is an international joint research group established at VUB. OBLC group is collaboratively building the Online and Blended Learning Competence Center as a knowledge and transfer center to offer expertise and advice for teachers and the society regarding digitalization of education and the guidelines for designing online and blended learning. OBLC group has led a few OBL projects and MOOC projects.

Examples of publications:




‘Participation and Learning in Detention (PALD)’



PArticipation and Learning in Detention (PALD) Research group

Research conducted by the interdisciplinary PALD research group focuses on such education, learning and training activities. PALD brings together researchers from Educational Sciences, Criminology and Movement and Sport Sciences and has attention for various types of participation and learning activities during imprisonment (e.g. educational courses, library, prisoner councils, sport activities, vocational training, involving prisoners in the organization of prison life and taking up a role as active citizen). The PALD research group investigates the lived experiences and insights of different actors working/ living in prisons: prisoners, prison officers, and people working for organizations that offer prison activities. Because the prison population is very divers, for instance in terms of gender, age and nationalities, also specific attention is paid to the different learning needs and possibilities, both in terms of content as learning methods.






Social innovation for social inclusion: participatory practices



Social Gerontology: Inclusive communities and civic engagement in later life



Belgian Ageing Studies

The Belgian Ageing Studies project (BAS) was developed by researchers at the Free University of Brussels (Vrije Universiteit Brussel) and University College Ghent (Hogeschool Gent). Established in the early 2000s, the BAS team engages in the scientific study of the social aspects of ageing. The team’s research focuses on a range of social gerontological issues, including social, cultural and political participation in old age, volunteering, inclusion and exclusion, age-friendly environments, feelings of safety and the social policy of later life.

The BAS refers to a project which seeks to monitor local challenges and opportunities, as well as issues of quality of life, among home-dwelling older people in order to provide tools for evidenced-based ageing policies at local level. The project is a result of a close collaboration between the research team, the regional government and councils of all participating municipalities, senior advisory boards, and other stakeholders. Through a participatory method, the older people themselves are actively involved as actors in all stages of each study. They play a crucial role in the planning, the design, and the realisation of the research project, as well as in the development of local policy plans on the basis of the findings of the research.

Since 2002, the Belgian Ageing Studies have conducted a number of such studies in various municipalities in Belgium.






Towards dimensional assessment of personality disorders (and psychopathology)...

ID: MSCA-19-Rossi01


Psychological treatment of personality disorders (PDs) in older adults



Assessment of psychopathic traits across the life-span



PEPS Research Group

The research group personality and psychopathology (PEPS) focuses on personality and the connection with psychopathology (especially personality pathology) across a person’s life span. Both theoretical and measurement models, as well as clinical practice and treatment, are examined. The research is grouped around a number of subjects such as dimensional approaches, life course phases, information processing, test validation (e.g. APD-IV, PID-5 etc.), connection with psychopathology, somatic problems and forensic aspects (e.g. psychopathy).


Personality Dynamics at Work: Integrating between-person stability and within-person change



The affective dyadic processes underlying leadership



Using dynamic systems theory to gain a better understanding of workplace processes



Trapped by Poverty: Unraveling the Career Consequences of the Working Poor

ID: MSCA-19-Schreurs01


WOPS Research Group

Work and Organizational Psychology studies the behavior of people when executing a job, in a variety of organization types. Work is surely more than earning money in itself.

At VUB’s WOPS lab, we approach our domain not only from an individual point of view, but also include social psychological insights. Within this field of psychology, ‘human resource management’ receives major emphasis in our education program from a scientific as well as from a practical point of view, based on insights from work, personnel and organizational psychology, but also from ergonomics, and taking account of health issues. Teamwork, dealing with conflicts, organizational culture and change, leadership and political or ganizational behavior are but a few of the various topics being dealt with. But also how one chooses the most fitting employees, trains and develops them, motivates and rewards them, are all investigated, besides current societal issues such as mobbing at work, emotional labor, work in non-profit organizations, managerial career development, etc.