Available research internships

There are usually plenty of opportunities at the HabitLab for students who are looking to gain experience in conducting research! We supervise Bachelor and Master theses of psychology and psychobiology students, as well as the ResearchMaster internship and thesis. During their projects, Master students are encouraged to actively take part in our weekly journal clubs. Of course it is also possible to gain research experience as a volunteer, or in the role of research assistant (for a modest financial recompensation). Below we have posted some advertisements for specific ongoing projects. However, there may be other opportunities as well, and you can always email Sanne de Wit s.dewit@uva.nl – for more information, or otherwise the researcher on one of the specific projects posted below. We ask that you include your CV.

Neural correlates of habitual ‘slips of action’

We are looking for a research masters student to work on an fMRI project investigating the balance between habits and goal-directed action control in healthy individuals. A tendency to form strong habits fast may play an important role in the development of impulsive-compulsive behavior and the slips-of-action paradigm – in which participants attempt to suppress externally triggered learnt responses when the outcomes are suddenly no longer valuable – has been widely used to study habit tendencies. However, we still know relatively little about the neural basis of the competition between goal-directed and habitual control and the resultant slips of action. With the present project we would to establish the neural correlates of slips-of-action task performance in a small group of healthy participants.

The student should have a background and interest in neuroimaging and fMRI analysis and a good understanding of the slips-of-action paradigm and related literature.

For more information, contact Sanne de Wit, s.dewit@uva.nl 

The mechanism of habitual behavior

Habitual behavior plays an important role in our daily lives.  Habitual behavior was initially performed in order to achieve a specific goal, but has gradually shifted over time towards behavior that can be triggered automatically by the presence of cues in the environment. The aim of this research is to increase our understanding of the behavioral mechanism that underlies habitual behavior. We use computer tasks to investigate the gradual transition that takes place from goal directed behavior to habitual behavior and examine factors that differentiate habitual behavior from goal directed behavior. Please contact Sanne de Wit, s.dewit@uva.nl, for more information.

External stimulus control over food-seeking

The aim of this project is to investigate the associative mechanisms that mediate external stimulus control over food-seeking and that may ultimately underlie obesity in an environment that constantly reminds one of available, palatable food. If you are interested in this topic, please contact Sanne de Wit, s.dewit@uva.nl.