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: 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

New publication: Context-dependent modulation of cognitive control involves different temporal profiles of fronto-parietal activity

To efficiently deal with quickly changing task demands, we often need to organize our behaviour on different time scales. For example, to ignore irrelevant and select relevant information, cognitive control might be applied in reactive (short time scale) or proactive (long time scale) mode. These two control modes play a pivotal role in cognitive-neuroscientific theorizing but the temporal dissociation of the underlying neural mechanisms is not well established empirically. In this fMRI study, a cognitive control task was administered in contexts with mainly congruent (MC) and mainly incongruent (MI) trials to induce reactive and proactive control, respectively. Based on behavioural profiles, we expected cognitive control in the MC context to be characterized by transient activity (measured on-trial) in task-relevant areas. In the MI context, cognitive control was expected to be reflected in sustained activity (measured in the intertrial interval) in similar or different areas. Results show that in the MC context, on-trial transient activity (incongruent – congruent trials) was increased in fronto-parietal areas, compared to the MI context. These areas included dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (dlPFC) and intraparietal sulcus (IPS). In the MI context, sustained activity in similar fronto-parietal areas during the intertrial interval was increased, compared to the MC context. These results illuminate how context-dependent reactive and proactive control subtend the same brain areas but operate on different time scales.

The results of this study, conducted by Bart Aben, Cristian Buc Calderon, Laurens Van de Cruyssen, Doerte Picksack, Eva Van den Bussche and Tom Verguts are published in NeuroImage.

Aben, B., Buc Calderon, C., Van der Cruyssen, L., Picksak, D., Van den Bussche, E., & Verguts, T. (2019). Context-dependent modulation of cognitive control involves different temporal profiles of fronto-parietal activity. NeuroImage, DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.004.

The article is available here.