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EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOPATHOLOGY

Clinical Experimental Psychology focuses on the experimental study of cognition in psychopathology.

Our main research topics are:

  • Cognition in Parkinson’s disease

In collaboration with Eva Swinnen and Eric Kerckhofs of the Department of Neurological Rehabilitation

Our main aim is to develop an empirical model that predicts the development of cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease. More particularly, we focus on how disturbances in automaticity and cognitive control contribute to cognitive deterioration in Parkinson’s disease. In the long term, we aim to identify evidence-based predictors for cognitive rehabilitation based on innovative compensation strategies and neurostimulation, such as tDCS.

  • Cognition and affective psychology

We investigate the relationship between cognitive processes and affective symptoms. One line of research determines how repetitive negative thought, such as rumination and worry, contribute to affective symptoms. Another line of research, in collaboration with Renata Cserjesi of the Department of Affective Psychology of the Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest), focuses on cognitive distortions in disturbed eating, such as emotional eating. A third line of research in collaboration with Elke Van Hoof of the Department of Clinical and Life Span Psychology, investigates whether people with high sensitivity (HSP) process incoming information differently and/or more elaborated, and determines to what extent this can account for the affective symptoms frequently observed in HSP. Lastly, in a fourth research line, we investigate social-affective processing in personality disorders. 

  • Non-invasive brain stimulation in substance use disorders

Several studies have documented a positive impact of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) in addiction. However, both the applied methods and the outcomes lack consistency. The aim of this research line is to systematically investigate and optimize the effectivity of tDCS in addiction, involving both the stimulation protocol (e.g., dosage, target tissue) as well as interindividual differences underlying variability of treatment effects (e.g., substance type, neurocognitive functioning, personality, severity of the addiction). To this end, we investigate the clinical and cognitive impact of tDCS in addiction, employing modern neuroimaging methods. The end goals of this project are to promote the clinical utility of tDCS in addiction and to further the understanding of the fundamental neurobiological processes involved in addiction.

PI

Natacha Deroost

Kris Baetens

C4N Researcher

Mahyar Firouzi

Luchuan Xiao

Helen Tobback

Catalina Duta