Patti Valkenburg, professor of Youth and Media at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), will receive the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Sciences 2011.
Valkenburg has developed her own field of study, namely the use and influence of media on children and young people. She has developed theories to understand, for example, the effects of media on children's imaginations, and devised a model to explain what media preferences children of different ages have. Her ideas have been an important starting point in developing the Kijkwijzer (the classification system for film, programmes and video games in the Netherlands). Her research explores how a child deals with social media, and what influence genetic predisposition and the environment within and outside the family have on this. Valkenburg is one of the leading figures in this field of study: she is the most cited European researcher in her field, has received numerous prizes, and plays an important role in the relevant international organisations.
About the laureate
Prof. Valkenburg (born 1958) began her academic career late on in life – she started studying when she was 30 – but then rapidly scaled the heights of academia. Since obtaining her doctorate in 1995, her research has been continuously funded by the Academy, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the European Research Council. Valkenburg has been Professor of Youth and Media at the UvA’s department of Communication Science since 1998, and she is the founder and scientific director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Earlier this year she was appointed the first Distinguished Research Professor at the UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Valkenburg was also appointed a member of the Academy this year.