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Neurobiologist Dr Harm Krugers has been awarded a grant from the UvA Amsterdam Brain and Cognition Grant. The awarded project studies the relationship between social behavior and early life events.

Harm Krugers
Dr. Harm Krugers. Photo: UvA

This grant has a total of €250,000, A part of which will be spent in the research group of 'Structural and functional plasticity of the nervous system' of the Swammerdam Institute of Life Sciences, at the University of Amsterdam. Harm Krugers is awarded this grant together with Valeria Gazzola and Christian Keysers from Psychology (FMG, UvA), both are from the programme group Brain and Cognition.


With this grant Dr. Krugers is able to study the relationship between social behavior and early life events. Empathy and prosocial behavior are critical to social animals. Why individuals differ so substantially in these traits – ranging from psychopaths to philanthropists - however remains poorly understood.

An influential theory associates early life adversity with abnormal social behavior in adulthood. The project titlled: ‘Does early life adversity shape adult empathy and prosocial behavior?' aims to determine the causal relationship between early life adversity and empathy / prosocial behavior later in life, and whether these effects can be trans-generationally transmitted and prevented.