We are hiring! (ended)

We are looking for a motivated PhD student to conduct research in the field of cognitive control under the supervision of Eva Van den Bussche.
The job offer contains a varied range of duties that consists of two thirds of academic research and one third of teaching assignments. We offer a full-time appointment as a member of the Assistant Academic Staff for 2 years, renewable twice to a total period of 6 years. The teaching assignment requires a thorough knowledge of Dutch.
The project will integrate behavioural and psychophysiological methods (EEG, pupillometry). Experience with behavioural experimentation, programming, EEG, and/or pupillometry is therefore an asset. In any case the candidate should be motivated to invest in these skills.

All information and the procedure to apply can be found here: https://www.kuleuven.be/personeel/jobsite/jobs/55980728?hl=en&lang=en

Interested candidates can apply until December 15.

For more information please contact Prof. dr. Eva Van den Bussche, eva.vandenbussche@kuleuven.be.

Gespreksavond ‘Gelijktijdig denken en doen’ op 24/09/20

Gespreksavond met Prof. Eva Van den Bussche (KU Leuven)

Stel je voor dat je een complexe Ikea kast moet bouwen. Om dit tot een goed einde te brengen, zal je controle moeten uitoefenen over je acties (balans bewaren, specifieke sequenties van acties uitvoeren, etc.) en je gedachten (fouten detecteren, ze corrigeren, etc.). Veel van onze dagelijkse taken vereisen dit soort gelijktijdig denken en doen, waarbij zowel motorische als cognitieve conrole nodig zijn. Hoe slagen we er in om tegelijk te denken en doen? Wanneer en bij wie loopt dit mis? En kunnen we dat trainen?

Donderdagavond 24/09/20 20:30-22:00
Live vragenronde 21:30 – 22:00

– normaal: 8 euro
– studenten: 5 euro (mail kopij studentenkaart, voltijds student <26j)
– met factuur: 20 euro

info en reservatie: www.breinwijzer.be

New publication: Cognitive Effort Modulates Connectivity between Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Task-Relevant Cortical Areas


Investment of cognitive effort is required in everyday life and has received ample attention in recent neurocognitive frameworks. The neural mechanism of effort investment is thought to be structured hierarchically, with dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) at the highest level, recruiting task-specific upstream areas. In the current fMRI study, we tested whether dACC is generally active when effort demand is high across tasks with different stimuli, and whether connectivity between dACC and task-specific areas is increased depending on the task requirements and effort level at hand. For that purpose, a perceptual detection task was administered that required male and female human participants to detect either a face or a house in a noisy image. Effort demand was manipulated by adding little (low effort) or much (high effort) noise to the images. Results showed a network of dACC, anterior insula (AI), and intraparietal sulcus (IPS) to be more active when effort demand was high, independent of the performed task (face or house detection). Importantly, effort demand modulated functional connectivity between dACC and face-responsive or house-responsive perceptual areas, depending on the task at hand. This shows that dACC, AI, and IPS constitute a general effort-responsive network and suggests that the neural implementation of cognitive effort involves dACC-initiated sensitization of task-relevant areas.

Aben, B., Buc Calderon, C., Van den Bussche, E., & Verguts, T. (2020). Cognitive Effort Modulates Connectivity between Dorsal Anterior Cingulate Cortex and Task-Relevant Cortical Areas. Journal Of Neuroscience, 40, 3838-3848. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2948-19.2020

New publication: The Interplay of Parent and Child Coping Responses in Understanding Child Functioning in the Context of Living With a Parent With or Without Chronic Pain.


Pain disorders tend to run in families, and children of individuals with chronic pain have been found to report lower functioning. Drawing upon a social learning perspective, the current study examined how diverse maternal pain coping responses (ie, pain catastrophizing and distraction) may, via corresponding child pain coping responses, act as a vulnerability or protective factor for child functioning in the context of parental chronic pain (CP). A cross-sectional study was conducted in mothers with CP and their pain-free child (N=100) and mothers without CP and their pain-free child (N=74). Moderated mediation analyses were performed to test whether associations between maternal coping responses and child functioning (ie, somatic symptoms, physical functioning, and psychosocial health) were mediated by corresponding child coping responses and whether these associations were moderated by the presence or absence of maternal CP. Maternal pain catastrophizing was indirectly related to more somatic symptoms, lower physical functioning, and lower psychosocial health in their child via child pain catastrophizing. Relationships were moderated by the presence or absence of maternal CP, such that mediated relationships were only found in mothers without CP and their child. No (in)direct relationships between maternal distraction, child distraction, and child functioning were observed. The current findings demonstrated that child functioning was associated with maternal and child pain catastrophizing, but only in children of mothers without CP. No evidence was found in support of maternal pain coping responses as vulnerability or protective factors in the context of parental CP.

Van Lierde, E., Goubert, L., Lammens, T., Ben Brahim, L., Van den Bussche, E., & Vervoort, T. (2020). The Interplay of Parent and Child Coping Responses in Understanding Child Functioning in the Context of Living With a Parent With or Without Chronic Pain. Clinical Journal Of Pain, 36(4), 238-248. doi:10.1097/AJP.0000000000000801

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