News

Discovery of a unique silver bowl from the Early Middle Ages

On an excavation site in Oegstgeest Leiden University archaeologists discovered a very rare silver bowl from the first half of the seventh century. The bowl is decorated with gold-plated representations of animals and plants and inlaid with semi-precious stones. The discovery suggests the existence of an elite with a wide international network in Oegstgeest.


The role of insults in an honour culture

People from an ‘honour culture’ often respond more aggressively to insults and provocations than those from a ‘dignity culture’. Saïd Shafa examined the underlying mechanisms and discovered how such responses can be avoided. PhD Defence 26 June.


Extra year infant school really necessary?

When learning to read and do arithmetic it is important for a child to be able to remember instructions and complete assigned tasks. The development of these sorts of functions is a good predictor for reading and arithmetic skills, concludes Neely Anne Davidse. Hyperactivity and lack of concentration do not necessarily mean a child should spend longer in infant school. Dissertation defence on 25 June.


Leiden University lends South Africa a hand

In five years, South Africa should have access to a wide range of scientific information, raw material for determining what direction the country needs to move in. Leiden University is participating in the Centre of Excellence (CoE) set up especially for science and innovation. Leiden professor Robert Tijssen: ‘We are going to produce a clear picture.’


Lecturers struggle to integrate research into teaching

Lecturers are not always successful at integrating research into their teaching, despite the popularity of this trend around the globe. Is that sort of integration always desirable and possible? PhD candidate Yanjuan Hu interviewed Dutch and Chinese lecturers and found that they did not differ much from each other. Dissertation defence on 26 June.


An eye for asymmetry reveals major patterns in evolution

Evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen looks for evolutionary patterns behind asymmetric forms in animals. In practically no animal is the left half exactly the same as the right half. This is what Schilthuizen, professor of Character Evolution and Biodiversity at Leiden University and working at Naturalis, will talk about in his inaugural lecture on 27 June.


Leiden Egyptologist unravels ancient mystery

It is one of the greatest archaeological mysteries of all times: the disappearance of a Persian army of 50,000 men in the Egyptian desert around 524 BC. Leiden Professor Olaf Kaper unearthed a cover-up affair and solved the riddle.


Persuasive communication has pitfalls

Industrial organisations often use communication to convince the public of their good intentions concerning the environment, writes organisational psychologist Gerdien de Vries in her dissertation. But this strategy has some pitfalls. Dissertation defence on 18 June.


Democratic basis lacking with most European regulations

The Lisbon Treaty (2007) was partially intended to bolster the European Union’s democratic legitimacy. But regulations are increasingly originating from the European Commission, an institution with no democratic mandate. This is what Leiden legal scholars Wim Voermans and Josephine Hartmann write in the Journal of Theory and Practice of Legislation.


Leiden study on Europe in the Dutch media

Researchers and students in Journalism and New Media at Leiden University have presented a study on Europe in the Dutch media. Their report was published just two weeks before elections for the European parliament.


Waking sleeping antibiotics

Soil bacteria can produce a wealth of antibiotics that are new to us, claims Gilles van Wezel. His group has developed a method that can rapidly identify and produce these unknown compounds. In Chemistry & Biology (Cell Press, online from 8 May) the researchers demonstrate that the approach works.


Does Ehealth therapy work for physical conditions?

Can online treatment benefit patients with chronic physical disorders? Cognitive behavioural therapy via internet has been shown to be effective. Health psychologist Sylvia van Beugen writes in the 'Journal of Medical Internet Research' about the effects of Ehealth therapy for physical disorders.


Were Neandertals really so inferior to modern humans?

Archaeologist Wil Roebroeks and his American colleague Paola Villa dispute the validity of the arguments for the supposed inferiority of Neandertals to modern humans. Their main objection is that Neandertals are usually compared with their successors, and not with their contemporaries. Publication in PLoS ONE on 1 May.


You can think too much

People can think too much about their capabilities. Once you've mastered something, it's not a good idea to spend too much time thinking about it. Leiden cognitive psychologists Bruno Bocanegra and Bernhard Hommel have published an article on the subject in Psychological Science.