Laura van der Aar
Laura van der Aar is an outreach employee in the SYNC lab at Erasmus University Rotterdam. She currently works on writing a popular science book on self-concept development during adolescence, together with Renske van der Cruijsen and Eveline Crone. This project is an extension of her PhD research, which she completed at the Brain and Development Research Center of Leiden University in 2021, under supervision of prof. Eveline Crone and Dr. Sabine Peters.
Her PhD research focused on self-concept development in adolescence within the context of future-oriented educational decision-making; e.g finding a major in higher education that fits your interests, abilities and goals. For her project, Laura followed a specific group of adolescents who experience difficulties with academic and career choices. These adolescents participated in a training program developed in the Netherlands for adolescents who have dropped out of higher education, named “the Gap Year program” (www.breekjaar.nl). Participants of this program follow a 10-month training focused on personal development and start working on improving their self-esteem and decision-making abilities. Laura examined how self-concept can be improved by training, and whether training related changes in self-concept can predict future successful educational decision-making.