Members

Principal Investigators:
Dermot Barnes-Holmes; Jan De Houwer

Faculty:
Yvonne Barnes-Holmes; Baptist Liefooghe; Agnes Moors; Adriaan Spruyt

Post-Doctoral Researchers:
Senne Braem; Sean Hughes; Ian Hussey; Simone Mattavelli; Ciara McEnteggart; James Schmidt; Pieter Van Dessel

Doctoral Students:
Maarten De schryver; Martin Finn; Colin Harte; Deirdre Kavanagh; Ama Kissi; Aileen Leech

Affiliated Members:
dr. Bram Van Bockstaele; dr. Bruno Verschuere; dr. Yang Ye


Principal Investigators

Prof. dr. Jan De Houwer

Head of the Methusalem research group
Research interests
My research concerns the manner in which spontaneous (automatic) preferences are learned and can be measured. Regarding the learning of preferences, I focus on the role of stimulus pairings (evaluative conditioning). With regard to the measurement of preferences, I developed new reaction time measures and examined the processes underlying various measures. Other research interests include associative learning, learning via instructions, and stimulus-response compatibility. I am also interested in meta-theoretical issues such as the relation between cognitive and functional psychology (i.e., behaviorism).
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Prof. dr. Dermot Barnes-Holmes

Head of the Odysseus research group
Research interests
Dr. Dermot Barnes-Holmes graduated from the University of Ulster in 1985 with a B.Sc. in Psychology and in 1990 with a D.Phil. in behavior analysis. His first tenured position was in the Department of Applied Psychology at University College Cork, where he founded and led the Behavior Analysis and Cognitive Science unit. In 1999 he accepted the foundation professorship in psychology and head-of-department position at the National University of Ireland Maynooth. In 2015 he accepted a life-time senior professorship at Ghent University in Belgium. Dr. Barnes-Holmes is known internationally for the analysis of human language and cognition through the development of Relational Frame Theory with Steven C. Hayes, and its application in various psychological settings. He was the world's most prolific author in the experimental analysis of human behavior between the years 1980 and 1999. He was awarded the Don Hake Translational Research Award in 2012 by the American Psychological Association, is a past president and fellow of the Association for Contextual Behavioral Science, is a fellow of the Association for Behavior Analysis, International, is a recipient of the Quad-L Lecture Award from the University of New Mexico and most recently became an Odysseus laureate when he received an Odysseus Type 1 award from the Flemish Science Foundation in Belgium.
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Faculty

Prof. dr. Yvonne Barnes-Holmes

Research interests
Since October 2015, Dr. Yvonne Barnes-Holmes has been the Senior Research Fellow of an Odysseus I Award on "Toward a Relational Frame Theory Account of Human Psychopathology within a Functional-Cognitive Framework" and Associate Professor in Behaviour Analysis, both at the Department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology, Ghent University. She was formerly tenured faculty, including Head of Department, at the Department of Psychology, National University of Ireland Maynooth since 2003. She graduated from the latter in 2001 after completing an experimental Ph.D entitled Analysing relational frames: Studying language and cognition in young children. Since 2001, she has been involved in attracting 4million+ euros in funding. She is supervising or has graduated 19 doctorates and 7 Masters. She has published 120+ articles and book chapters and given 400+ talks and workshops. She is a recognized World Trainer in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). Her areas of research interest include: the development of language and cognition; functional analyses of psychological suffering, especially depression, PTSD and psychosis; Behavioural and cognitive psychotherapies, especially acceptance and change therapies; and Critical psychology/psychiatry.
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Prof. dr. Baptist Liefooghe

Research interests
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Prof. dr. Agnes Moors

Research interests
My empirical research aims at discovering the situational antecedents of emotions, or better, of the emotional components of action tendencies, behavior, and feelings. This research is inspired by an appraisal-theoretical framework in which it is assumed that emotions are not elicited by intrinsic stimulus features, but rather by the interaction between stimuli and other types of information (goals, expectations, control, cause of the stimulus). In one line of research, I study the influence of appraisal factors such as goal congruence, expectancy, agency, and different types of control (e.g., habitual vs. prospective) on action (tendencies) and feelings (in collaboration with Evelien Bossuyt and Ben Meuleman) using experimental methods (in which appraisal factors are manipulated in games and action tendencies are measured with various overt and covert methods in addition to self-reports of feelings). In another line of research, I study the extent to which several appraisal factors (goal congruence, dominance, control) can be processed automatically, as well as the extent to which complex (and hence flexible) mechanisms (involved in the integration of various types of information) can be automatic. Other studies address the timing of processes involved in different appraisal factors (in collaboration with Didier Grandjean, University of Geneva) with EEG methods.
My theoretical work focuses on (a) the comparison of various emotion theories with regard to their views of the definition, causation, and regulation of emotion, and how they account for emotions caused by real vs. fictional stimuli (including music), (b) the analysis of the criticisms against appraisal theories, (c) the role of cognition in emotion, (d) strengths and weaknesses of various methods in emotion research, (e) the relation between emotion and action, (f) the conceptual analysis of automaticity (including the relation between consciousness, attention, and control), (g) the critical analysis of dual process models, (h) listing potential factors involved in learning via direct experience vs. learning via instructions, and (i) the usefulness of a levels-of-analysis approach for psychological theory building.
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Prof. dr. Adriaan Spruyt

Research interests
My research program centers upon the study of automatic processes that play a role in the etiology and maintenance of psychopathological and health-related behavior. At the fundamental research level, I investigate (a) the conditions under which both affective and non-affective stimulus information become activated from memory, (b) the acquisition of spontaneous preferences, and (c) the processes that underlie attentional biases. In each of these research lines, I focus heavily on the impact of personal goals and task-demands on lower-level automatic processes (e.g., Spruyt et al., 2009, Journal of Memory and Language). At the applied research level, I actively study the processes that drive various indirect (attitude) measures (e.g., affective priming, implicit association test, affect misattribution paradigm, etc.) and I apply these measures in the context of alcohol addiction, nicotine addiction, depression, anxiety, implicit self-esteem, sexual preferences, and food preferences. I also developed a new reaction-time measure that allows for an assessment of automatically activated attitudes in the absence of an explicit evaluative processing mindset (see Spruyt et al., 2007, Journal of Experimental Psychology). Finally, I examine the usefulness of statistical modeling techniques to improve the reliability and predictive validity of various implicit (attitude) measures.
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Post-Doctoral Researchers

Dr. Senne Braem

Research interests
Senne Braem is a postdoctoral researcher at Ghent University. He did his doctoral thesis in the lab of Wim Notebaert, where he performed research on the interactions between cognitive control and reinforcement learning, and became generally interested in how we can understand cognitive control phenomena in terms of reinforcement learning principles. After his PhD, Senne worked as a postdoctoral researcher on a two-year project on the neural signatures of instructed and experienced fear conditioning, together with Marcel Brass and Jan De Houwer, after which he obtained and started on a FWO Postdoctoral Research Fellowship. He has a research background in cognitive psychology, but also acquired neuroimaging experience during his research stays in the labs of Birgit Sturmer (Humboldt Universitat zu Berlin, Germany), Tobias Egner (Duke University, Durham, NC, US), and Michael W. Cole (Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, US). Today, his main research focuses on the behavioral and neural correlates of learning via instructions or reinforcement, and their role in domains such as fear conditioning, reward learning, and cognitive control.
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Dr. Sean Hughes

Research interests
My empirical interests reside primarily in the study of implicit social cognition and evaluative conditioning. In particular I am interested in developing a functional-contextual model of implicit social cognition. A first step towards this goal involves engineering brief and immediate relational responses (BIRRs) within an experimental context to better understand the antecedent conditions responsible for their formation and change as well as the factors influencing their strength and persistence. Initial work has employed relational (operant) training protocols to generate positive and negative evaluative responses towards novel attitude objects.
With respect to attitude change, I am also currently examining the role that negation and affirmation processes play in the reduction of automatic stereotyping. Finally, an auxiliary research interest involves designing effective teaching strategies to enhance students' critical thinking skills in psychology. A key step in doing so involves first gaining insight into the nature and prevalence of misunderstanding of disciplinary and knowledge-specific beliefs operating for students of psychology. Preliminary research, conducted with Dr. Fiona Lyddy, indicates that erroneous and anti-scientific beliefs are highly resistant to change and may need to be challenged and refuted directly. In light of these findings we are currently implementing and evaluating a student-led refutational teaching programme targeting undergraduates of psychology.
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Dr. Ian Hussey

Research interests
My research interests focus on learning psychology and relational learning in particular, the development and use of implicit measures, and the application of these to the understanding of self-harmful and suicidal behaviours. I'm also interested in open science initiatives.
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Dr. Simone Mattavelli

Research interests
My research research interests focus on evaluative learning and implicit social cognition. In particular, I am interested in the different pathways that lead to attitude formation and change, including evaluative conditioning and intersecting regularities.
Related to evaluative learning via intersecting regularities is my work on the Self-Referencing effect, which aims at understanding the conditions under which an associative task based on intersecting regularities between the self and target can result in evaluative (and non-evaluative) learning effects.
I am also interested in the boundary conditions that can affect evaluative learning via intersecting regularities. Other research interests involve the idea of associative learning as a symbolic phenomenon and the parallel between evaluative conditioning and persuasion research.
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Dr. Ciara McEnteggart

Research interests
My research interests centre around the conceptual development of Relational Frame Theory (RFT; a basic account of human language and cognition), and how such developments can facilitate a deeper understanding of human psychological suffering and its alleviation. As part of the Odysseus project, we are currently investigating various relational features of human behaviour and how they may function in psychological suffering (e.g. the impact of rules on behaviour, relational perspective-taking, distinctions between fear and avoidance), with the principal aim of creating a functional taxonomy of various patterns of suffering. In parallel, we are also working on a number of clinical conceptual developments, for example, how RFT can both inform and enhance clinical work in areas such as assessment, interventions, and the therapeutic relationship. More specifically, we have recently offered a relational frame account of dissociation and its relationship with hearing voices in psychosis using a trauma-based developmental model. Creating linkages between the basic science and clinical applications is central to our research.
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Dr. James Schmidt

Research interests
My primary research program is the study of attentional control. More specifically, I frequently argue that attentional control as defined by popular conflict adaptation (or conflict monitoring) accounts may not actually exist. Instead, the phenomena that such accounts propose to explain (e.g., proportion congruent and congruency sequence effects) may instead be explainable by simple learning and memory processes (e.g., contingency learning, temporal learning, and feature binding). Related to this work, I also study human contingency learning (i.e., the study of how we learn what events and outcomes go together) and temporal learning (i.e., the study of how we learn to time responses). I am interested in both the conditions under which learning can occur and the mechanisms by which task regularities are learned. In line with this work, I have developed a computational model, called the Parallel Episodic Processing (PEP) model that learns via the storage and retrieval of episodic memories. I have also published work on the Stroop effect, in addition to work on the role of pragmatics in formal reasoning.
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Dr. Pieter Van Dessel

Research interests
My research primarily concerns the manner in which spontaneous (implicit) preferences are learned and can be changed. I investigate effects of mere exposure, evaluative conditioning, and approach-avoidance training as well as effects of instructions and persuasive arguments. In each of these research lines, I focus on the role of propositional and inferential learning.
My work also aims at elucidating the mental mechanisms that underlie (implicit) evaluation. I focus on the relation between evaluation and memory processes. Other empirical interests include implicit cognition, learning psychology, cognitive control, and psychopathology.
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Doctoral Students

Maarten De Schryver

Research interests
Maarten De Schryver investigates the psychometric properties of implicit reaction time measures and develops novel approaches in testing and enhancing these properties. To this end, insights from psychometric modeling theory and new statistical methods are integrated.
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Martin Finn

Research interests
My main research interest is the analysis of relational networking as defined by Relational Frame Theory. Other research interests parallel to this include procedural features of the IRAP, measurement and experimental manipulation of implicit attitudes, and the assessment of predictive validity of implicit measures.
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Colin Harte

Research interests
My main research interest is the analysis of relational networking as defined by Relational Frame Theory. Other research interests parallel to this include procedural features of the IRAP, measurement and experimental manipulation of implicit attitudes, and the assessment of predictive validity of implicit measures.
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Deirdre Kavanagh

Research interests
Relational Frame Theory, Behavior Analysis, Perspective-taking and the self
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Ama Kissi

Research interests
Ama Kissi received her Master's degree in Psychology (subject: Clinical psychology) in 2013. She is a PhD student at the department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology of Ghent University. Ama is interested in the functional behavioral aspects of rule-governed behavior. Her research on this topic is based upon Relational Frames Theory, a modern behavioristic analytic account for human language and cognition. Moreover, she is fascinated by pain behavior and therefore investigates the effects of rule governance in the context of pain. This research on rule-governed behavior is supervised by Prof. Geert Crombez and Prof. Jan de Houwer. Besides conducting research, she assists in the practical sessions of the course Health Psychology organized by Prof. Liesbet Goubert.
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Aileen Leech

Research interests
My main research interest is in the transformation of functions of derived fear and derived avoidance as defined by Relational Frame Theory. Other research interests include procedural features of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and the measurement and experimental manipulation of implicit attitudes.
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Former members of the LIP lab


dr. Evelien Bossuyt
dr. Evelyne Debey
dr. Mieke De Clercq
dr. Tom Everaert
dr. Anne Gast
dr. Niclas Heider
dr. Valerie Maresceau
dr. gaetan Mertens
dr. Lies Notebaert
dr. Colin Smith
dr. Kristina Suchotzki
dr. Helen Tibboel
dr. Marijke Theeuwes
dr. Jolien Vanaelst
dr. Julia Vogt
dr. Dorit Wenke
dr. Riccardo Zanon
Jeffrey De Winne
Sarah Opsomer
Katrien Vandenbosch

Visiting Scholars


2007: Matt Field
2008: Jorg Huijding
2009: Helena Matute, Robert Balas
2011: Miguel Vadillo
2012: Bertram Gawronski
2013: Marco Perugini
2013: Mandy Hütter
2013-2014: Ayumi Tanaka
2015: Brian O'Shea
2015: Benedek Kurdi
2016: Juliane Scheill
2017: Christina Ffeuffer