Personal Page | Dr. Laura W Wesseldijk

My interest and expertise lie in the field of behavioral genetics, psychology and music and cultural engagement. My work addresses factors that influence mental health and musical expertise as well as the relationship between the two, with a focus on gene-environment interplay. By using genetically informative designs, I am able to strengthen causal inferences and adjust for familial confounding when studying risk and protective factors.

I obtained my PhD in 2018 at the Biological Psychology Department of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. I studied genetic and familial factors that influence the development and persistence of childhood psychopathology. During my final PhD year I spend 6 months at the University of Queensland in Brisbane. After obtaining my PhD, I continued research in the field of behavioral genetics as a post-doc at the Department of Neuroscience at the Karolinska Instititute in Stockholm. I turned to investigating the relationship between music engagement and mental health and gene-environmental interplay underlying musical expertise. Since 2022, I continued this line of work as an Assistant Professor at the Behavioral Genetics unit of Dr. Miriam Mosing at the Max Planck Institute for Emperical Aesthetics in Frankfurt in collaboration with Prof. Karin Verweij at Amsterdam UMC, location University of Amsterdam, Department of Psychiatry. Additionally, since obtaining my PhD, I have worked one day per week for Prof. Josh Tybur at the Social Psychology Department of the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, conducting genetic analyses for a variety of research projects.

Dr. Laura W Wesseldijk

1. Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 2. Department of Psychiatry, Amsterdam UMC, location University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands. 3. Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden.

#Behavioral Genetics #Mental health #Music engagement #Culture #Gene-environment interplay


Key publications

Wesseldijk, L. W., Mosing, M. A., & Ullén, F. (2021). Why Is an Early Start of Training Related to Musical Skills in Adulthood? A Genetically Informative Study. Psychological Science, 32(1), 3–13.

Wesseldijk, L.W., Ullén, F. & Mosing, M.A. The effects of playing music on mental health outcomes. Sci Rep 9, 12606 (2019).

Wesseldijk LW, Lu Y, Karlsson R, Ullén F, & Mosing MA (2022). A comprehensive investigation into the genetic relationship between music engagement and mental health (in press). Translational Psychiatry.

Wesseldijk LW, Mosing MA, Ullén F. Gene-environment interaction in expertise: The importance of childhood environment for musical achievement. Dev Psychol. 2019 Jul;55(7):1473-1479. doi: 10.1037/dev0000726.  

Wesseldijk, L.W., Abdellaoui, A., Gordon, R.L. et al. Using a polygenic score in a family design to understand genetic influences on musicality. Sci Rep 12, 14658 (2022).


All publications

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