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Professor of Psychology, Queen Mary University of London

I’m a chartered psychologist and reader in developmental psychology spending most of my day researching how environmental experiences shape the course of psychological development across the life course.

The predominant part of my research deals with questions related to Developmental Plasticity, the understanding that experiences while growing up affect developmental outcomes. More specifically, I’m interested in individual differences in the capacity for such developmental plasticity as a function of different individual characteristics (e.g., genetic variants, personality traits etc.), a notion brought forward in the Differential Susceptibility (Belsky & Pluess, 2009) and Vantage Sensitivity (Pluess & Belsky, 2013) frameworks.

According to Differential Susceptibility reasoning individuals differ fundamentally in the degree they are affected by environmental influences regarding their psychological development: Some people are generally more and some less influenced not only by negative but also by positive environmental influences. Most of my work falls in one of three areas: Developmental Plasticity, Gene-Environment Interaction, and Positive Development and Resilience.


  • 2013–present
    Professor, Queen Mary University of London


  • 2009 
    University of Basel, PhD