Faculty of Social Sciences
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Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment

Mission statement

We aim to acquire fundamental scientific and applied knowledge to better understand the cognitive, behavioural and neurobiological mechanisms of psychopathology and its treatment. We strive to achieve this goal through empirical study of clinically relevant processes such as biased information and affective processing, approach-avoidance tendencies, cognitive control, emotion regulation, motivation and executive functioning. We study these processes in healthy and various sub-clinical and clinical populations, including people with anxiety, depression, eating disorders and addiction. This is to assess their role in 1) the development and maintenance of psychological disorders, 2) change promoted by clinical and preventive interventions, 3) decision-making by patients and clinicians, and 4) improvement of treatment selection and maximisation of treatment efficacy.

The Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment (EPT) programme is unique in the Netherlands in the breadth and scrutiny with which these clinically relevant processes are investigated. We believe that a multi-modal approach to studying these processes and their modification will lead to a better understanding of psychopathology and to innovation in treatment and prevention. Our methods range from measuring reaction times and verbal reports to behavioural tests in real and virtual environments, eye-tracking, physiological responses, neuroimaging and neuromodulation techniques and computational modelling. The combination of this fundamental research with clinically significant applications is one of EPT’s unique strengths.

Our research is conducted in intensive collaborations within the BSI and Radboud University, as well as other universities and social partners, both in the Netherlands and internationally. One such collaboration is reflected in the Nijmegen Centre of Anxiety Research and Expertise (Nij2Care) which aims to build a bridge between research and clinical practice in the field of anxiety and depressive disorders. Another example is the Dutch National Police, with whom we are implementing a jointly developed training programme to improve stress resilience. In addition to a large output of publications in well-established specialised and general academic journals, these collaborations yield a strong basis for clinical and social applications of fundamental research findings.

For an overview of current PhD-projects please click here