Development psychologist wins National Postdoc Prize

24 October 2018

Developmental psychologist Eddie Brummelman (University of Amsterdam) is the second postgraduate researcher to win the Academy’s National Postdoc Prize. The award was announced by The Young Academy and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. Brummelman, who studies the development of self-image in children, will receive 10,000 euros.

Dr Eddie Brummelman (born 1987) holds a PhD (hons.) in developmental psychology (2007) from Utrecht University. In his research, his explores how parents try to teach children self-esteem. Self-esteem is regarded as the foundation for a happy and successful life, but what Brummelman’s research shows is that parental interventions can also backfire; when parents put children on a pedestal and tell them they are special and unique, they are more likely to become narcissists, for example.

Photo Merlijn Doomernik

The jury considers that Brummelman’s research is highly innovative and of outstanding scientific quality. It is innovative because he has succeeded in showing that psychoanalytical theory falls short in explaining narcissism and that social learning theory offers a better understanding of the phenomenon. The outstanding scientific quality of Brummelman’s research is obvious in his longitudinal approach, which he combines with diary studies, experimental designs and intervention studies. The jury also appreciates the independence and originality of Brummelman’s research, as well as his high level of productivity and the fact that he has succeeded in embedding and refining his research in international networks. He shows enormous energy and skill in communicating his research to society.

Brummelman’s work offers a thought-provoking commentary on the standards and values underpinning our society. Narcissism is an urgent social problem of critical importance to many different scientific disciplines, not only the various branches of psychology but also educational science and the broader humanities.

National Postdoc Prize

The National Postdoc Prize was established in 2017 by The Young Academy and the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. The prize is intended for postgraduate researchers and assistant professors who conduct excellent research that has had a major impact on society or has the potential to do so. The researchers are nominated by professors and directors of Dutch research institutes.