Consortium on Individual Development


Newly appointed assistant professor Mariëlle Zondervan-Zwijnenburg

“One of my favourite things is working with an interdisciplinary team of CID reseachers on challenging projects that play towards my strengths. I enjoy bringing together: longitudinal development, structural equation modelling, Bayesian evidence synthesis, multi-cohort data.”

During a student assistant position at the department of Methodology and Statistics I realized the field of statistics was not vague or abstract, but could actually be extremely practical when staying close to researchers and the challenges they encounter. So in addition to the Development and Socialization in Childhood and Adolescence (DaSCA) master, I also succesfully (cum laude) completed the Methodology and Statistics research master.

During my master Herbert Hoijtink scouted me for a CID PhD project. The project focussed on replication and research synthesis by means of Bayesian methods in collaboration with CID researchers from various work packages. It was a perfect match, and in 2019, I finished my dissertation “Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Formalizing and Evaluating Prior Knowledge”


Updated evidence for one of the confirmatory phase analyses, here the evidence indicated that maternal age most likely has a negative association with behavioural problems.

One of the studies, a multi-cohort study on parental age in relation to offspring’s mental health, was a huge success. Not only because of the media attention, but  also because of what we learned by bringing the datasets together. Some surprising between cohort results made us wonder and we delved deeper, which made this project much more interesting! At the same time, we disentangled robust findings to make an important scientific contribution.

As you might have guessed, this type of work had to be continued. So my CID postdoc focused on Bayesian evidence synthesis with multi-cohort data. As a developmental researcher, I felt a strong urge to apply this method in a longitudinal project. Our self-control development paper is the first result (see animation below), and soon we hope to submit a manuscript on bidirectional relations between prosocial skills and behavioural problems in early and middle childhood.

As an assistant professor I will have more teaching responsibilities, but CID projects and collaborations are always high on my priority list. I am grateful to be part of this community with such diverse expertises and impressive output!


Read more

Zondervan-Zwijnenburg M. (2019) Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: Formalizing and Evaluating Prior Knowledge. Persistent identifier URN:NBN:NL:UI:10-1874-383981

About Mariëlle’s multi-cohort method.

Recent paper applying this method to examine self control.