Dr. Sanne de Wit, Associate Professor
Sanne de Wit is Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology of the University of Amsterdam. She obtained her PhD degree at the University of Cambridge under supervision of Prof. Anthony Dickinson on the associative structures underlying instrumental action control in animals. Next she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute there, to translate animal paradigms to study goal-directed versus habitual action control in humans and its neural underpinnings, together with Prof. Paul Fletcher. During that time, she also started to collaborate with clinical experts to investigate action control in psychopathologies. She then moved to the University of Amsterdam, where she currently is Associate Professor at the Department of Clinical Psychology, and head of the HabitLab.
Her research interests lie at the interface between associative learning theory, behavioural neuroscience, and clinical psychology. The overarching idea behind her research is that fundamental mechanisms of learning and motivation lie at the basis of decision-making and can give rise to adaptive as well as maladaptive behaviour. She combines behavioural analyses with a neurobiological approach to investigate the neural underpinnings of actions and habits. She also investigates whether disruptions of fundamental learning and motivational mechanisms play a role in mental disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder, addiction and obesity. In recent years, she has increasingly focused on closing the gap between fundamental habit research in the lab and everyday-life (mal)adaptive behaviour, by integrating basic and applied research to seek new approaches to behaviour change interventions. She is committed to continuing to advance the field of habit research through this cross-disciplinary approach.
Next to her research, she teaches several courses at the UvA and supervises students on research projects. She is also a member of the Research Master Committee, and chairs the Scientific Advisory Board at UvA.