Neurocognitive Development

Our brain and our cognitive functions develop from complex interplays between genetic and environmental factors. Improved insight into these developmental processes can help us understand the mechanisms underlying emerging mental health problems.

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Many mental disorders emerge in childhood and adolescence, but our understanding of the underlying mechanisms remains limited. We aim to improve our understanding of why, how, when and for whom different influencing factors and neurocognitive developmental processes lead to mental ill-being or well-being.

  1. The socioeconomic and environmental conditions in which they are raised.
  2. New demands and challenges associated with adolescence, such as increasing independence from parents and complexity in relationships with peers.
  3. Subtle sex differences in brain development.

Increased insight into the neurocognitive developmental processes can provide us with a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the development of mental health, and thereby contribute to improve effective preventive measures and interventions. This can improve the mental health of children and adolescents.

Our research questions:

  • How is brain and cognitive development connected to the development of mental health and well-being?
  • How do genetic, socioeconomic, environmental, and psychosocial factors affect our neurocognitive development and lead to increased risk or resilience towards mental health problems?
  • How do genetic and different environmental influences vary as a function of context and development?
  • Can sex differences in the brain and brain development help us understand sex differences in the prevalence, clinical presentation and course of mental disorders?

How we work:

We study the development of the brain’s structure and functioning through brain imaging techniques, mainly magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG). These are used both in our own longitudinal studies where the same individuals are followed over time as well as in large, open international datasets that we make use of. The brain imaging data is analysed using advanced software and combined with computational methods to identify patterns in data and structural equation modelling.


Increased insight into neurocognitive developmental processes can provide us with a better understanding of the mechanisms behind the emergence of mental health problems, and thereby contribute to improving effective preventive measures and interventions.

Published Apr. 15, 2019 3:16 PM - Last modified May 19, 2022 10:50 AM