Personal information

Tjeert  Olthof

Research interests

My research interests concern the development of children's conscience and the factors that hinder that development or that prevent conscience from affecting behavior. I am interested in questions like: Which are the cognitive, affective and other processes that constitute conscience? How does the development of conscience occur? Which personal and social factors impede this development? Which factors lead children to acting consistently or inconsistently with their conscience? How does the nature of their conscience affect children's relations with their peers and vice versa? How can this knowledge be used to improve detection and diagnostics of inadequate conscience development?

Current activities

Currently, I am assistant professor in developmental psychology. Together with colleagues from VU University and from other Universities in the Netherlands, I am involved in a large scale longitudinal study on bullying in children (DCOB) that focuses on striving for power as a motive for bullying. In addition, I am involved in several small scale studies that focus on topics like: inadequate development of conscience in bullies; normal and autistic children's motives for bullying; effects of being victimized on children's moral awareness; stimulating bystanders to stand up for victims of bullying and moral and affective correlates of children's food preferences. Further information on my research and publications can be found at