I study the behavioral and neural mechanisms underlying
reinforcement learning, decision making, and subjective experience. Some of my current research questions are: How do prior beliefs, and different types of uncertainty, affect experience-based learning? How do learned expectations affect the perception of (aversive) events? And what is the neurochemical basis of pain-avoidance learning?
I address my questions using behavioral and psychophysiological measures, computational modeling, neuroimaging (fMRI, EEG), and pharmacological manipulations.
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 modulation and pain-driven learning. After that, I returned to the Netherlands with a VENI grant to study the neuromodulatory mechanisms of pain-avoidance learning. Since February 2018, I work as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Amsterdam, investigating developmental changes in reinforcement learning and decision making.
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