Work package 1

Applying cognitive neuroscience to create optimal learning conditions.

The goal of this project is to advance insight into individual differences in the willingness to make an effort. We examine under which conditions of personal autonomy this willingness is optimal. In addition, we look at the influence of language structure in the brain on learning a second language. Based on these insights, we can develop a serious game for young people, in which they are optimally motivated to learn a language.

One of the main goals of this project is to investigate individual differences. The game will be designed such that the manner in which the user is motivated and the structure of the lesson is adapted to their online behavior. 

Everybody learns in his own way. Some people like to learn by practicing a skill, while others want to understand the underlying theory before applying their knowledge.

Neuroscientific research shows that motivation plays an important role in improving performance on difficult tasks. In this work package within the Startimpuls of NeuroLabNL, we look at the role of motivation in learning a new language.

Besides the fact that motivation can play an important role, we know that language processing in the brain is structured according to sound and meaning. Therefore, you can imagine that learning new words is easier if the way they are offered is the same as how your brain processes these words.

This research is carried out in collaboration with universities, applied universities, primary schools and secondary schools throughout the Netherlands.

Affiliated researchers

Prof. Dr. Lydia Krabbendam (Free University)

Prof. Dr. Hilde Huizenga (University of Amsterdam)

Dr. Anna van Duijvenvoorde (Leiden University)

Prof. Dr. Harold Bekkering/ Dr. Frank Leone/ Randi Goertz (Radboud University)

Dr. Peter Verkoeijen (Avans Applied University, Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Prof. Dr. Renate de Groot (Open University)

Dr. Anita Heijltjes (Avans Applied University)

Anne-Wil Kramer (University of Amsterdam)

A KNAW-research project under supervision of Prof. Dr. Pieter Roelfsema and Dr. Matthew Self is connected to this research

The list of affiliated researchers and societal partners is ever expanding. Are you involved in this Startimpulse work package, but not yet on the list? Send an e-mail to