Prof. Dr. Maarten van Zalk

Osnabrück University
Institute of Psychology

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I am a Full Professor of Developmental Psychology at Osnabrück University. I received my PhD (Summa Cum Laude) in Developmental Psychology at Utrecht University in 2009, for which I was awarded the Best National Dissertation Award by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science (KNAW) in 2009 and also the Young Scholar Award by the European Association for Research on Adolescence (EARA) in 2010. I became a RUBICON fellow (awarded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research; NWO) in 2009 which allowed me to work at Stockholm University, Sweden. In 2011, I became Associate Professor and was granted a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship (funded by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research) at Örebro University, Sweden. In 2013, I was elected as VENI Laureate for the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme Award at Utrecht University, after which I was awarded the Pro Futura Fellowship by the National Bank of Sweden in 2015. Since then, I successfully applied for various externally funded Fellowships, which for instance allowed me to work with Prof. Tom Snijders at Nuffield College, Oxford University between 2014 and 2016 and Prof. Miles Hewstone at the Department for Experimental Psychology, Oxford University between 2016 and 2017.

Prior collaborations with other PI’s

The current group of PIs collaborated successfully previously through the European Collaborative Research Project “Social Influence in Dynamic Networks” (PI’s Van Zalk and Lubbers) between 2010 and 2015 and through the Open Research Area Plus Funded project „Positive-negative asymmetry of intergroup contact: A dynamic approach“ (PI’s Van Zalk, Christ, and Jaspers) between 2016 and 2019.

Description of research

My main line of research concerns socialization processes that underlie mental health, personality, and social development. I was commissioned by the UK Department for Education through the Newton Fellowship Award between 2014 and 2016 to implement preventions targeting these at-risk youths in schools in England. I received two external research grants to implement interventions in over 150 Swedish communities (i.e., the Pro Future Award and the FORTE grant) and was commissioned by the Swedish government on developing national school-prevention projects to promote adolescent health. Based on this work, I have implemented a series of social referent interventions in three countries (e.g., Sweden, the UK, and Germany). I was also an invited visiting fellow at the University of Connecticut, Nuffield College, Oxford University, and Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge University. I have also established official collaboration partnerships with various policy makers in seven EU countries to translate the findings of my work into social and educational policy, to maximise its impact.

Selection of relevant publications

*van Zalk, M. H. W., Kotzur, P. F., Schmid, K., Al Ramiah, A., & Hewstone, M. (2021). Adolescent development of interethnic attitudes following a social intervention to increase intergroup contact: The moderating role of affective forecasting. Developmental Psychology, 57(6), 1000.

*Kros, M., Jaspers, E., & van Zalk, M.H.W. (2021) Avoidance, antipathy, and aggression: A three–wave longitudinal network study on negative networks, status, and heteromisos. Social Networks, 64, 122–133.

*Hewstone, M., Ramiah, A. A., Schmid, K., Floe, C., van Zalk, M. H. W., Wölfer, R., & New, R. (2018). Influence of segregation versus mixing: Intergroup contact and attitudes among White–British and Asian–British students in high schools in Oldham, England. Theory and Research in Education, 16, 179–203. 10.1177/1477878518779879

*Wölfer, R., Schmid, K., Hewstone, M., & van Zalk, M. H. W. (2016). Developmental dynamics of intergroup contact and intergroup attitudes: Long–term effects in adolescence and early adulthood. Child Development, 87(5), 1466–1478.  

*Dahl, V., & van Zalk, M. H. W. (2014). Peer networks and the development of illegal political behavior among adolescents. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 24(2), 399–409. https://doi:10.1111/jora.12072

*van Zalk, M. H. W., & Kerr, M. (2014). Developmental trajectories of prejudice and tolerance toward immigrants from early to late adolescence. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43, 1658–1671.

*van Zalk, M. H. W., Kerr, M., van Zalk, N., & Stattin, H. (2013). Xenophobia and tolerance toward immigrants in adolescence: Cross–influence processes within friendships. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 41, 627–639. https://doi:10.1007/s10802–012–9694–8

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