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Meet the people

The Emergent Mind


Prof. Dr. Claudi Bockting is a clinical psychologist, psychotherapist and health psychologist, working at Amsterdam UMC and the UvA Institute for Advanced Studies. Her research program focuses on common mental health disorders (depression, anxiety). She studies potentially modifiable etiological factors of onset and recurrence/chronicity using an interdisciplinary complexity approach in order to explore new targets for prevention and treatment and relapse prevention.


Dr. Marie Deserno is a researcher at UvA. During her PhD project Autism as the product of an endless combination of factors. Marie studied the new possibilities and implications a complex-network approach to psychological phenomena could have for research into autism.


We are proud to welcome the following speakers:

Prof. Dr. Peter Sloot is professor of complex adaptive systems at UvA. He is also professor at ITMO (Russia) and NTU (Singapore). He is also the scientific director of the Institute for Advanced Study at UvA. His theoretical work focuses on out of equilibrium dynamics of Complex Adaptive Systems using Information Theory and Thermodynamics.

Dr. Kevin Mitchell is Associate Professor of Genetics and Neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin. His interests are in understanding the genetic program specifying the wiring of the brain and its relevance to variation in human faculties, especially to psychiatric and neurological disease and to perceptual conditions like synaesthesia. He writes the Wiring the Brain blog ( and is on Twitter @WiringtheBrain. He is the editor of "The Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders" (Wiley, 2015) and the author of: “INNATE – How the Wiring of Our Brains Shapes Who We Are” (Princeton University Press, 2018).

His lecture will look at The Genetics of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. It will consider the genetic architecture of these conditions, the concept of developmental brain dysfunction, cascading effects of mutations across development, and the emergence of pathophysiological and psychopathological states. 

Prof. Dr. Sarah Durston is professor of Developmental Disorders at UMC Utrecht, where she combines neuroimaging, psychology and genetics to reach a better understanding of conditions like autism and ADHD. She is interested in the underlying biological pathways and tries to understand the relationships between genetic dispositions and neural measures on the one hand , and those between neural and cognitive measures on the other.

Dr. Isidoor Bergfeld is a neuropsychologist and researcher at the Amsterdam UMC (University of Amsterdam). He has a strong interest in how neurobiology and cognitive functions affect the course and treatment of psychiatric disorders. His work focuses mainly on the effects of deep brain stimulation on depression and cognition. His lecture during ‘The emergent mind’ will introduce deep brain stimulation, its effects on neurological and psychiatric symptoms and assumed basic working mechanisms. He will then show how interfering with the dynamics of the brain affects cognitive functions, personality and the self.

Prof. Dr. Han van der Maas is head of the Psychological Methods group at UvA. He works on dynamical models of general intelligence to explain the so-called positive manifold: the finding that different cognitive tasks used in intelligence tests correlate with each other.


Dr. Ingrid van de Leemput is an assistant professor at Wageningen University, interested in the dynamics of complex systems, networks, social-ecological systems and (mental) health. Ecology and mental health: simple models as a tool to understand complex dynamics and resilience. There is common ground in analysing the mental health state of human beings and the state of ecosystems, especially in the need to identify conditions that dispose a system to be knocked from seeming stability into another, undesired state. In ecology, relatively simple models have proven to be valuable to understand such dynamics. Examples include lakes that unexpectedly shift from a clear to a turbid state, or coral reefs that are suddenly overgrown by macroalgae. Ingrid will introduce you to the world of dynamical models, and provide examples how they have proven their value in ecology. Based on that, she will discuss assumptions, benefits and limitations. Then, she will explain how the analysis of bifurcations has led to the development of Dynamic Indicators of Resilience (DIORs). Finally, we will make a bridge from ecology to mental health, and point to some recent developments and open questions in relation to DIORs, networks, and oscillating dynamics.

Dr. Greg Siegle, visiting professor on the Frijda Chair, is director of the programme in Cognitive Affective Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He examines neurophysiological substrates of cognition and emotion in depression and anxiety through the lifespan using self-report, behavioral, physiological, and neuroimaging (fMRI) assessment, as well as computational modeling. A specific goal of this work is to better understand what cognitive and brain processes predict and change with recovery, and how to improve treatments by targeting these mechanisms more directly.

Greg Siegle will receive the Honorary Frijda Chair in Cognitive Science during this year’s ABC Summer School.