I study the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying affective learning and experience, with a focus on the role of neuromodulatory systems (dopamine, norepinephrine, opioids) and interactions between top-down and bottom-up processes. My current research questions are: What is the neuromodulatory basis of pain-avoidance learning? How do people’s prior expectations shape their perception of affective events? And how do expectations interact with experience-based learning? I address these questions using behavioral and psychophysiological measures, neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG), pharmacological manipulations, and computational modeling.
I studied cognitive psychology at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and cognitive neuroscience at the University of York, UK. In 2011, I obtained my PhD at Leiden University, the Netherlands, on a thesis titled “Arousal, exploration and the locus coeruleus-norepinephrine system”. I then spent 3.5 postdoctoral years at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA, where I studied the behavioral and neural mechanisms of pain-related learning and decision making. In January 2015 I returned to Leiden University with a VENI grant.
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