Lieneke Janssen | Breaking bad habits – A meditation on the neurocognitive mechanisms of compulsive behaviour

Guest Lecture

  • Date: Dec 12, 2016
  • Time: 13:30 - 14:30
  • Speaker: Lieneke Janssen
  • Motivational & Cognitive Control Lab, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, the Netherlands
  • Location: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences
  • Room: Wilhelm Wundt Room (A400)
  • Host: Department of Neurology
We all have our habits, good and bad. But only for some, habits go from bad to worse and behaviour becomes compulsive, as we see for example in addiction or clinical overeating. How is it that a useful mechanism such as our habit system can come to work against us? Why does it happen for only some and not others when faced with tempting rewards? And how can we get back in control? In my doctoral studies I aimed to increase our understanding of this by investigating the neural and cognitive mechanisms underlying compulsive gambling (in gambling addiction) and eating behaviour (in a non-clinical population). Building on an extensive body of addiction literature, I used a variety of experimental paradigms to tap into different aspects of compulsive behaviour. I focussed in particular on altered reward processing and loss of control over automatic tendencies triggered by reward-related stimuli. Furthermore, I investigated the effects of a pharmacological (dopamine) and a behavioural (mindfulness) intervention on reward processing.
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