New theoretical article on an associative (outcome-response) account of instrumental behaviour

In this theoretical article, Poppy Watson, Reinout Wiers, Bernhard Hommel and Sanne de Wit review investigations of the role of outcome-response associations in goal-directed actions and habits.

Read the article here!

Reference:
Watson, P., Wiers, R.W., Hommel, B., & de Wit, S. (2018). Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-018-1449-2

New publication on individual differences in habitual performance in experimental and real-life settings

The authors investigated whether people differ in their propensity to form habits, by relating individual differences on a computer task measuring habitual behavior to habit formation tendencies in real life. Habit formation in real life was measured by covering the key to the participant’s home with a new cover. This cover was later switched to a different key and changes in the key-selection process were measured. Participants that performed better on the computer task also seemed to require less attention to adjust to the switching key situation.

Read the article here!

Reference
Linnebank, F.E., Kindt, M. & de Wit, S. (2018). Investigating the balance between goal-directed and habitual control in experimental and real-life settings. Learning & Behavior. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13420-018-0313-6

NEMO Kennislink Live op dinsdag 13 februari: Controle over onze wil

NEMO Kennislink Live over goede voornemens, doorzettingsvermogen en de illusie van (zelf)beheersing

Controle over onze wil
Waarom kan jij wat ik niet kan? Met de jaarwisseling waren onze voornemens zó oprecht, maar inmiddels hebben velen moeten constateren dat gewoontes sterker zijn dan onze wil. Toch lukt het sommigen wél om zichzelf te veranderen. Hoe doen zij dat? En: wat maakt het allemaal zo moeilijk om te doen wat we eigenlijk willen? Kunnen we onze wil niet wat beter beheersen? Op dinsdagavond 13 februari praten drie experts onder leiding van Desiree Hoving tijdens NEMO Kennislink Live met het publiek over de vraag of we onze wil onder controle kunnen krijgen. Toegang is gratis.

Experts aan het woord
Tijdens deze editie van NEMO Kennislink Live spreken we met wetenschappers die vanuit verschillende perspectieven nadenken over goede voornemens, doorzettingsvermogen en (zelf)beheersing. Dit keer: Wouter de Jong, Sanne de Wit en Vana Hutter.

Wouter de Jong publiceerde dit jaar het boek Mindgym, sportschool voor je geest. Deze van oorsprong jurist en acteur begon in 2013 met het volgen van mindfulness-trainingen, onder meer aan de Vrije Universiteit. Sindsdien geeft hij mentale trainingen om jezelf beter te laten doen wat je echt belangrijk vindt en die ook nog eens wetenschappelijk onderbouwd zijn.

Sanne de Wit werkt als psycholoog aan de Universiteit van Amsterdam en is daar hoofdonderzoeker bij het Habit Lab. Daar onderzoekt ze onder meer hoe we onze goede voornemens het beste kunnen laten slagen. Zo ontdekte ze dat de ene mens zijn oude gewoontes makkelijker vervangt door nieuwe gewoontes dan de andere.

Vana Hutter is als docent en onderzoeker in de sportpsychologie verbonden aan de Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Ze begeleidde zowel top- als breedtesporters bij de mentale kant van trainen en presteren. Volgens haar is zelfregulatie, het vermogen om acties, emoties en gedachten te sturen, essentieel om je doelen te bereiken. Niet alleen voor sporters, maar voor ieder mens.

Programma
19.30 – 20.00 uur: Ontvangst
20.00 – 22.00 uur: Gesprek met wetenschappers en publiek
22.00 – 22.30 uur: Borrel

Toegang is gratis en aanmelden kan via dit formulier.

www.nemokennislink.nl/activiteiten/controle-over-onze-wil/

New article on impaired goal-directed control in adolescent OCD

In this article, Julia Gottwald, Sanne de Wit, and colleagues investigated performance of teenagers with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) on critical cognitive domains for daily functioning and academic success, including goal-directed behavioral control, cognitive flexibility, learning, and memory. Patients demonstrated a significant learning and memory impairment compared to healthy control subjects, as well as impairments in goal-directed goal and cognitive plasticity. These results add to our understanding of  juvenile OCD.

Read the article here!

Reference
Gottwald, J., De Wit, S., Apergis-Schoute, A., Morein-Zamir, S., Kaser, M., Cormack, F., . . . Sahakian, B. (2018). Impaired cognitive plasticity and goal-directed control in adolescent obsessive–compulsive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 1-9.

New publication: Why health warnings might fail to change eating behavior

In their new study, Aukje, Poppy and Sanne investigated why the effects of health warnings on our food-choice behavior is typically rather limited. Using the Pavlovian-instrumental transfer task, participants learned associations between stimuli (abstract pictures), behavior and food products. Participants then read a text stating that one of the foods is unhealthy. In the task, participants then showed that in the absence of stimuli, people chose food products in line with health warnings. However, in the presence of food-related stimuli, their responding was biased towards that food product, regardless of the health warning and regardless of their desire for that product.

Read the article here: www.sciencedirect.com
Read the press release here in Dutch or English.

Reference:
Aukje A. C. Verhoeven, Poppy Watson, & Sanne de Wit (2018). Failing to pay heed to health warnings in a food-associated environment. Appetite, 120, 616-626.

 

Aukje demonstrates the computerized PIT task that was used for this research.

New paper reviewing outcome devaluation paradigms

In their new paper, Poppy and Sanne provide a review of outcome devaluation paradigms. They outline that such paradigms are useful but that they do not inform us to what extent insensitivity to outcome devaluation can be attributed to either strong habit formation or to weak goal-directed control. They provide suggestions for future research as well as alternative paradigms to study such processes.

Read the article here!

Reference
Watson, P., & de Wit, S. (2018). Current limits of experimental research into habits and future directions. Current Opinion in Behavioral Sciences, 20, 33-39.

 

New paper on representational precision during action preparation

In this new study, using fMRI data, the authors demonstrated how the precision of representations in perceptual and motor areas is affected by the specific action goal and the associated reward value when participants prepare face or hand actions. The article is now in press in NeuroImage.

Reference:
van Steenbergen, H., Warren, C.M., Kühn, S., de Wit, S., Wiers, R.W., & Hommel, B. (in press). Representational precision in visual cortex reveals outcome encoding and reward modulation during action preparation. NeuroImage

New article on breaking habits with implementation intentions

The interplay between inflexible habits and flexible goal-directed behaviour can be experimentally modelled using
the slips-of-action task. In a new article, we report how such habits can be changed with implementation intentions (specific if-then action plans). We demonstrate that implementation intentions improved the ability to suppress previously learnt responses towards no-longer-valuable abstract outcomes. However, when food outcomes were used, the beneficial effect of implementation intentions versus goal intentions was not observed. The article will be published in Special Issue on Learning via Instructions in Acta Psychologica.

Reference: Verhoeven, A.A.C., Kindt, M., Zomer, C.L., & de Wit, S. (in press). An experimental investigation of breaking learnt habits with verbal implementation intentions. Acta Psychologica.