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Experimental Psychopathology and Treatment

Mission statement

Our major aim is to contribute fundamental scientific knowledge to the domain of abnormal psychology.

We try to achieve this goal through the experimental study of cognitive and neurobiological processes in psychopathology. We study their role 1) in the development and maintenance of psychological and somatic dysfunctions, 2) in the processes of change caused by clinical and preventive interventions, and 3) in clinical decision-making.

We employ rigorous experimental designs to the study of clinically relevant cognitive processes such as attention, interpretation, memory, implicit associations, and executive functions in various disorders.

EPT is unique in the Netherlands in the breadth and scrutiny with which these processes are investigated. Examples involve implicit and explicit associations in anxiety and depression, automatic versus controlled processes in eating disorders, aggression, impulse control disorders, addictions, burnout, social-cognitive processes in genetic disorders with associated psychopathology, and automatic versus controlled processes in decision making by clinicians and patients.

Most critically for applications of research findings, cognitive biases are studied to predict treatment success and relapse, and ground-breaking new therapeutic tools are developed for the re-training of cognitive biases (so-called Cognitive Bias Modification). We believe that a multi-modal approach of applying experimental methods (ranging from reaction times and verbal reports to eye-tracking, fMRI, EEG, and TMS, as well as behavioural tests in real and virtual environments) to cognitive processes and their modifications will lead to true progress in the field of psychopathology as well as innovation and prevention.

All our research is conducted in national and international collaborations. This yields a large output of publications in high-ranking academic journals, excellent integration into BSI, and numerous collaborations within BSI, with the Academic Centre of Social Science Nijmegen (ACSW), within the university, in the Netherlands, and internationally. One such collaboration is reflected in the foundation called Nijmegen Centre of Anxiety Research and Expertise (NijCare). The aim of the collaboration within NijCare is to build a bridge between research and science in the field of anxiety disorders and clinical practice on the other. The combination of basic research with clinically useful applications is a particular strength of EPT. Our goal is to become the world's leading research centre for the study of approach and avoidance motivation, for its biological and psychological foundations as well as for its change.

For an overview of current PhD-projects please click here

Hutschemaekers, Giel

prof. dr. Giel Hutschemaekers
Head of programme

Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
Room nr: 03.390
E-mail: klinische@psych.ru.nl
Ph.: +31 (0)24 361 2004 /
+31 (0)24 361 26 68

Group page

Cognitive Processes Psychopathology & Treatment
Diagnostic Decision Making
EPAN: Experimental Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience
Nijmeegse Longitudinale Studie