An interdisciplinary perspective on developmental

sensitivities in dealing with social rejection

On Thursday November 16th 2023, SO-REBEL hosted an interdisciplinary meeting at the KNAW Trippenhuis. Participants from ten different universities and organisations with various backgrounds and disciplines joined to discuss with their research, vision and ideas on developmental sensitivities in dealing with social rejection. Leading scholars from various fields gave an overview of their research, followed by interactive brainstorm sessions with innovative live-drawn visualisations.  The successful  event was supported by the KNAW Early Career Partnership awarded to Dr. Michelle Achterberg. 

Aim of the day

The social development of our current generation of youth is unique, given that that social interaction does not only take place offline but also online, without restrictions of time and place. For some individuals, social interactions (both offline and online) and accompanied rejection can lead to negative emotions and even to decreased well-being, whereas other children and adolescents seem more resilient to such rejection, and are able to cope with negative feedback without adverse effects on wellbeing.


A broad range of developmental studies has shown that the association between offline and online social rejection and well-being varies substantially between individuals, but currently there is no scientific consensus on why some children are more sensitive to social rejection. Several research groups from multiple disciplines have investigated this scientific question, using various methods and statistical approaches. However, despite the joined aim, there is relatively little cross-talk across disciplines. Therefore, on November 16th we gathered forces to combine scientific insights on developmental sensitivities in dealing with social rejection from multiple disciplines, specifically the research fields of Developmental psychology; Developmental neuroscience; Media studies; Pedagogical sciences; and Child Psychiatry.


Keynote presentations

Three leading scholars gave presentations regarding their work on developmental sensitivities in social rejection: Prof. Dr. Eveline Crone from Erasmus University Rotterdam shared insights from Developmental Neuroscience; Dr. Amy Orben from the University of Cambridge shared insights from Developmental Psychology; and Prof. Dr. Patti Valkenburg from University of Amsterdam shared insights from Media Studies. The keynotes were visually summarised by Ineke Neutelings (Inktvisie), Puck ten Kate (Sketchworks) and Gijs Copic (Copic Business Cartoons) and can be viewed in detail here.

Brainstorm sessions

The keynote presentations were followed by brainstorm sessions, with the aim of computing an interdisciplinary research and impact agenda. Researchers from several backgrounds had fruitful discussions in small groups, which were summarised by the visual note takers. Below is an impression of the notes. The visual notes on the interdisciplinary research agenda can be viewed in detail here. The visual notes on the interdisciplinairy impact agenda can be viewed in detail here

Successful interdisciplinary meeting 

We look back on a successful interdisciplinary meeting and hope that we can stay connected and continue to have follow-up meetings to further disseminate our interdisciplinary perspective on developmental sensitivities in dealing with social rejection. Throughout the day, our photographer Serena de Wit captured the interactive, inspiring and interdisciplinary atmosphere of our meeting. You can view and download the photos here.