Impressions of the March for Science

The March for Science was a great success in bringing scientists and non-scientists together, and making our voice heard. In fact, we talked to so many interested people that we almost lost our voices by the end of the day! Below some impressions of the day…

New article: Stimulus control over food-seeking in obesity

Our environment is full of cues signaling the availability of tasty, but often unhealthy, foods. In this paper, Poppy and colleagues report a recent study that examined the effect of food-associated stimuli on choice behavior in participants with healthy weight versus severe obesity. During a computerized test, participants were exposed to Pavlovian cues predictive of food pictures, and we examined their biasing effect on instrumental choice. For example, would a cue associated with crisps lead to a higher response rate for crisps (as opposed to, for example, lettuce)? Obese participants were indeed found to be more sensitive to high-calorie food cues relative to low-calorie cues. In contrast, healthy-weight individuals did not show a difference between the two food types. Therefore, this study supports the clinical relevance of this associative mechanism, and suggests that severely obese individuals are particularly sensitive to high-calorie food cues whereas low-calorie food cues have little effect on their behavior.

Follow this link to access the paper.

Reference: Watson, P. Wiers, R.W., Hommel, B., Gerdes, V.E.A., de Wit, S. (2017). Stimulus Control over Action for Food in Obese versus Healthy-weight Individuals, Frontiers in Psychology – Eating Behavior,

Follow this link to the Dutch press release

Poppy’s PhD defense is coming up: 21st of April!

Poppy Watson will defend her PhD thesis entitled ‘From Outcomes to Actions: fundamental mechanisms in reward seeking’ on Thursday 21st of April at 10am in the Agnietenkapel (LinkToDigitalDissertation). Poppy conducted her PhD at the Dept. of Developmental Psychology at UvA, under supervision of promotoren Prof. Reinout Wiers, Prof. Bernhard Hommel, and as co-promoter and daily supervisor Dr. Sanne de Wit. After her PhD, she has a postdoc position in the HabitLab.


Published in Brain: Enhanced habit formation in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome

Delorme, C., Salvador, A.,  Valabrègue, R., Roze, E., Palminteri, S., Vidailhet, M., de Wit, S., Robbins, T.W.,  Hartmann, A., & Worbe, Y. (2016). Enhanced habits formation in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Brain, 605-615,doi:


For a scientific commentary by Harvey Singer, see: 312-316


Article: ‘Implementation intention and planning interventions in health psychology: Recommendations from the Synergy expert group for research and practice’

Aukje participated in this Synergy meeting that brought together international experts on the topic of implementation intentions (August 2014), and participated in the writing of a joint paper with recommendations for research and practice:

‘Implementation intention and planning interventions in health psychology: Recommendations from the Synergy expert group for research and practice’

Reference: Hagger, M. S., Luszczynska, A., de Wit, J., Benyamini, Y., Burkert, S., Chamberland, P.-E., Chater, A. M., Dombrowski, S., van Dongen, A., French, D. P., Gauchet, A., Hankonen, N., Karekla, M., Kinney, A. Y., Kwasnicka, D., Lo, S. H., López-Roíg, S., Meslot, C., Marques, M. M., Neter, E., M., Plass A., Potthoff, S., Rennie, L., Scholz, U., Stadler, G., Stolte, E., A., ten Hoor G., Verhoeven, A. A. C., Wagner, M., Oettingen, G., Sheeran, P. and Gollwitzer, P. M. (in press). Implementation intention and planning interventions in health psychology: Recommendations from the Synergy expert group for research and practice. Psychology & Health. doi:10.1080/08870446.2016.1146719

Link to article:

Link to meeting:

Aukje presents preliminary findings of Healthyways coaching project at ARPH conference

At the ARPH (Association for Researchers in Psychology and Health) congress in Maastricht during the 28th-29th of January 2016, Aukje gave a presentation on the preliminary findings of Healthyways coaching of eating habits. For this (still ongoing) project she recruited female volunteers (via fitness centers and our website) who aimed to improve their eating habits. Her presentation was entitled: “Planning to change unhealthy snacking and the role of mental associations”

Link to ARPH 2016:


Book chapter on Ideomotor mechanisms of goal-directed behavior

The textbook ‘Motivation and Cognitive Control’ (edited by Todd Braver) has just been published. Researchers with different research traditions and perspectives on motivation and cognitive control have contributed chapters. Sanne de Wit & Anthony Dickinson wrote a chapter on ideomotor mechanisms of goal-directed behavior, in which they review relevant animal and human research into action control.

Link to publisher site:


Aukje presents experimental investigation of implementation intentions at the ASPO congres

During the conference of the ‘Associatie van Sociaal-Psychologische Onderzoekers’ (Amsterdam, 10-11 Dec 2015), Aukje Verhoeven presented her recent research into the effect of implementation intentions on the ability to suppress learnt responses in a computer paradigm. The title of her presentation was: Breaking the chains of habit with implementation intentions: An experimental investigation.

Link to ASPO: