Expertise ● FPN - Eating Behaviour, Cognitive Behavioural Interventions, Neuroimaging

In the faculty of Psychology & Neuroscience (FPN) a group of psychologists studies eating behavior, obesity, dieting and eating disorders. All highly prevalent problems in our society. Not only physical and societal factors play an important role in these problems, but also psychological factors. For example, eating behavior is related to personality characteristics such as reward sensitivity and disinhibition tendencies. In addition, cognitive factors, such as biased information processing are related to eating behavior. Finally, learning/conditioning processes appear to play a critical role in eating behavior. Weight problems and eating disorders also have psychological consequences, such as depressive symptoms, low self-esteem and social interaction problems.
Our research focuses on the psychological nature of weight problems and eating disorders, including both behavioral and neural mechanisms of the etiology and maintenance of these problems. The preferred method in our research is the experimental one. By conducting small-scale laboratory studies we aim to understand the causal and maintaining factors of overeating, undereating, and normal eating. With this knowledge interventions to change behavior can be improved and expanded. Of course, on its turn these interventions need to be empirically tested, which our research group does as well. It is essential to study which intervention methods are most effective.
Examples of current projects include: the role of impulsivity, conditioned context and cue-elicited cravings, attentional bias for food, reward processing in the brain, food reinforcement, information processing related to body image, treatments to improve eating behavior, weight and body image, the acquisition of taste preferences, and the effects of tax on food purchasing behavior.