When finishing this course successfully, you will have gained fundamental insights into the altered emotional processes that play a role in the onset and maintenance of psychopathology. Critical is that the emotional processes cut across traditional diagnostic boundaries, that is to say, you will learn to adopt a transdiagnostic approach. In accordance with the principles of the scientist practitioner model, you will:
- Discuss, compare and evaluate transdiagnostic vs. classical approaches for studying affective processes in psychopathology (EK 1,3).
- Describe how key affective processes arise from a fundamental biological and psychological level and discuss the appropriate methods to study them (EK 1, 3).
- Gain insight into the link between key affective processes and psychopathology, and critically discuss associated innovative treatments to manipulate and improve affective processes such as CBM and brain stimulation (EK 1,3).
- Synthesize and critically discuss relevant papers in an affective science field of your own main interest, both with respect to relevant theoretical issues and in terms of methodology (EK 5).
- Become aware of the skills and competencies required to work as an academic scholar in the field of Behavioural Science and of some of the dilemmas encountered there (FQ 3, 5, 6).
- Be able to evaluate whether you want to proceed in the research master Behavioural Science (FQ 6).
Affective science is the scientific study of emotion or affect. In this course, lecturers from the department of experimental psychopathology and the DCC(N) will present affective science theory and methods. We will discuss basic findings and new insights into the nature of emotionally driven behaviour, attention, memory, and regulation, as well as the underlying physiology and neuroscience of emotions, based on studies in clinical, developing and healthy adult populations.
The course topics include: emotional learning and memory, emotional modulation of attention, defensive stress reactions (freeze, flight and fight), modulation of emotional states, emotional decision making, cognitive bias modification, and the neuroendocrine control of social emotional behavior. These topics will be discussed in relation to psychopathologies such as social anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, ADHD and aggressive disorders.
Research methods that will be discussed include multiple neuroscience techniques (fMRI, EEG) in combination with sophisticated behavioural paradigms (fear conditioning, instrumental learning, approach/avoidance, freeze, eye gaze). In addition, we will discuss several cognitive (CBM, episodic future thinking training), pharmacological (testosterone, cortisol, propanolol) and neural (TMS/tDCS) interventions for manipulating and improving biased processing and behaviour, for example using testosterone to boost exposure therapies in social phobia.
The course builds on the B3 course Applied Research Methods: Development & Mental Health (PSB3DH45) and the elective B2 Speciality course Emotion (PSB2SP05). The course can however be followed without having taken this latter course.
• Final written exam consisting of open ended questions and multiple choice (70% of grade)
• Essay about your ‘favorite’ affective process and it’s link to mental disease (30% of grade).