Suzanne van de Groep is an assistant professor at the department of Psychology, Education, and Child Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam and affiliated with the Erasmus SYNC Lab. Her research mainly focuses on the behavioral and neural development of prosocial behaviors in adolescence.
Prosocial behaviors (i.e., behaviors that benefit others) such as giving, cooperating, and helping are essential for forming and maintaining social relationships, which is an important developmental goal in adolescence. Suzanne’s work specifically focuses on the development of different types of prosocial behaviors, and how this is shaped by social contexts and individual differences. Her most recent endeavors include the investigation of social temporal discounting, online prosocial behaviors, longitudinal brain development within individuals related to giving, as well as adolescents’ wellbeing.
Suzanne has a background in developmental psychology and completed her research masters in Leiden in 2016 (cum laude). During her PhD, Suzanne has played a large role in setting up an ERC consolidator project called ‘Brainlinks’, a longitudinal three-wave fMRI study in which 142 adolescents and their parents were followed over the course of several years. To gain a better understanding of prosocial development, this project includes fMRI tasks, experimental tasks, questionnaires, hormone data, and daily diaries (see Projects for a video on the Brainlinks project). In February 2022, she defended her PhD dissertation called ‘Growing in Generosity? Unraveling the effects of benefactor-, beneficiary-, and situational characteristics on the development of giving and its neural correlates in adolescence’, which was supervised by Prof. Eveline Crone and Dr. Kiki Zanolie. After her PhD, she did a 9-month postdoc at the Erasmus SYNC lab to extend her fundamental developmental neuroscience research with citizen science projects and a broader perspective on how adolescents’ role in society shapes their social behavior and wellbeing.
Apart from gaining a better understanding of prosocial development, Suzanne has a passion for connecting science and society, for example through science communication and citizen science projects, as well as mentoring, talent development, and recognition and rewards in academia.
Suzanne was awarded several grants and prizes, including a grant to visit UCLA during her PhD, two EGSH PhD Excellence Awards (best societal impact and best poster), a DPECS Dragon’s Den seed fund, and a NWA Science Communication Grant (together with her YoungXperts colleagues).