Pronouns: he/him

Maximilian Scheuplein, MSc
PhD Candidate, Cognitive Neuroscientist at Leiden University

I am a cognitive neuroscientist studying how social support can help build resilience in young people with a history of early-life adversity. Specifically, I use behavioral experiments, fMRI, and endocrinology to investigate whether friendships aid mental well-being through reducing neurobiological stress responses in this vulnerable population.

Currently, I am completing my PhD in Education and Child Studies at Leiden University. Before moving to the Netherlands, I worked as a Graduate Research Assistant & Lab Manager at New York University and the University of Oxford where I explored learning and decision-making processes across development.
You can read more about my previous research experiences here.

I received my MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience from University College London and my BSc in Psychology from Goethe University Frankfurt. 

My CV is available here.


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Up to 50% of all children and adolescents growing up worldwide are exposed to at least one form of early-life adversity (e.g., abuse, neglect, bullying, or poverty), which is one of the strongest predictors for later-life psychopathology. However, not all individuals with such stressful experiences move on to develop mental health problems. Those individuals adapt well despite their early-life stressful experiences and can therefore be described as resilient. A growing body of research demonstrates the positive impact of adolescent friendship support on mental well-being after early-life adversity. However, the neurobiological mechanisms that may underlie this relationship are unknown. Hence, my research aims to uncover these mechanisms in order to support this vulnerable age group in coping better with current stressors and ultimately protect their mental health.

Journal Articles

* indicates joint first authorship | Google Scholar

Wittmann, M. K.*, Scheuplein, M.*, Gibbons, S. G., & Noonan, M. P. (2023). Local and global reward learning in the lateral frontal cortex show differential development during human adolescence. PLoS Biology, 21(3).

Saragosa-Harris, N.*, Chaku, N.*, MacSweeney, N.*, Williamson, V. G.*, Scheuplein, M., Feola, B., ... & Mills, K. (2022). A practical guide for researchers and reviewers using the ABCD Study and other large longitudinal datasets. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, 55(6).

Scheuplein, M. & Van Harmelen, A-L. (2022). The importance of friendships in reducing brain responses to stress in adolescents exposed to childhood adversity: a pre-registered systematic review. Current Opinion in Psychology,  45(6).
Article Pre-Registration Video: Flux Congress Poster Presentation 2022

Nussenbaum, K., Scheuplein, M., Phaneuf C. V., Evans, M. D., & Hartley C. A. (2020). Moving developmental research online: comparing in-lab and web-based studies of model-based reinforcement learning. Collabra: Psychology, 6(1).
ArticleData & CodeVideo: Flux Congress Poster Presentation 2020

Book Chapters

Scheuplein, M., Vermeulen, S., Van Harmelen, A. L., Alink, L. (in press, 2022). Child maltreatment and victimization. Handbook of Clinical Neurology: Brain and Crime


* indicates joint first authorship

González-García, N.*, Buimer, E. L.*, Moreno-López, L. Sallie, S. N., Vasa, F., Lim, S., Romero-Garcia, R., Scheuplein, M., Whitaker, K., Jones, P. B., Dolan, R., NSPN consortium, Fonagy, P., Goodyer, I., Bullmore, E., van Harmelen, A-L. (2023, May). Resilient functioning after childhood adversity is associated with altered structural brain network topology in adolescence. BioRxiv

Nussenbaum, K.*, Martin, R. E.*, Maulhardt, S., Yang, Y., Bizzell-Hatcher, G., Bhatt, N. S., Scheuplein, M., Rosenbaum, G. M., O'Doherty, J. P., Cockburn, J., Hartley, C. A. (2022, Apr). Novelty and uncertainty differentially drive exploration across development. PsyArXiv

Scheuplein, M., Chierchia, G., Ahmed, S. P., Foulkes, L., Griffin, C., Blakemore, S-J. (2021, Feb). Age-related changes in self-referential biases in memory and perspective taking in male adolescents and young adults. PsyArXiv

Science Communication

Scheuplein, M. & Van Harmelen, A. L. (2022, Sept). Help your foster child be resilient.
BIJ ONS thuis in een gezin (Dutch magazine for foster families)

Scheuplein, M. & Van Harmelen, A. L. (2021, Apr). Building resilience in young people.
Leiden Psychology Blog

Science Action and Advocacy Network (2020, July). Memo of support ending the arrest and prosecution of children under 12 as juvenile delinquents.
Policy Brief

Scheuplein, M. (2019, Feb). Learning, decision-making, and the adolescent brain.
Oxford Medium


Child Abuse and Neglect: Neurobiological Aspects and Interventions (6475ABUSE) Spring 2023
Seminar Teacher, Leiden University

Resilience to Violence (6478RTVY) Fall 2022
Guest Lecturer, Leiden University

Child Abuse and Neglect: Neurobiological Aspects and Interventions (6475ABUSE) Spring 2022
Seminar Teacher, Leiden University

Resilience to Violence (6478RTVY) Fall 2021
Guest Lecturer, Leiden University

Child Abuse and Neglect: Neurobiological Aspects and Interventions (6475ABUSE) Spring 2021
Seminar Teacher, Leiden University

Resilient Minds

I founded Resilient Minds with the intention to bring together researchers across disciplines and stimulate discussions about resilience research. Resilient Minds is an informal "journal club” style initiative and meetings take place bi-weekly on Thursday's between 4-5pm (CET) via Zoom. Everyone is welcome to join the group as well as present their research ideas.

Want to join the group? Sing up here and follow us on Twitter.
Recaps: Fall 2022Spring 2022Fall 2021Spring 2021

Speaker Information