Current research

Read more about ongoing research

Current ongoing projects

PrevenD 2.0: Cognitive Control Training for depression

The high prevalence and frequent recurrence of depression pose a major challenge, requiring new, innovative interventions. Cognitive control training (CCT) has gained attention as an intervention to remediate cognitive impairments and decrease depressive symptomatology. The PrevenD 2.0 project researches the effectiveness and efficacy of CCT on depression vulnerability.

Want to participate in a running study? Check out current recruitment.

For more information, check out the external project website.

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Experimental research on the sequence of emotion regulation

Emotion regulation is an important transdiagnostic factor. Recently, Berking & Lukas developed a theoretical framework, the Adaptive Coping with Emotions Model, which makes the assumption that the sequence of emotion regulation may play an important role. This research project aims to investigate (1) the sequential aspect of emotion regulation and (2) whether a particular sequence (relax, accept, regulate) can lead to more efficient emotion regulation.

The first phase of the project is exploratory, in which a network analysis on existing ERSQ data and an experimental study on spontaneous emotion regulation will be executed. In a second phase, two lab studies with experimental manipulation will take place. One on instructed emotion regulation (relax, accept and regulate) and one on different ways of vagus nerve stimulation. In the last phase, a study will investigate the consolidation effects and ecological validity of resonance frequency breathing.

Want to participate in a running study? Check out current recruitment.

For more information, please contact Jente Depoorter.

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The Effect of Attention Training on Symptoms and Emotion Regulation in Depressive Patients: Validation of the Online Cognitive Attention Training (OCAT)

Biased information processing contributes to the risk and maintenance of emotion dysregulation and affective disorders such as depression. Prior research shows that an interactive attention training in which participants learn to unravel scrambled sentences ("life is my a party mess") in a positive manner ("my life is a party") facilitates modification of attention and interpretation biases and contributes to adaptive emotion regulation and reduced symptoms (i.e., depression, anxiety and stress) in non-clinical samples.

In the current study we aim to test the effect of psychoeducation in combination with a novel 10 day Online Contingent Attention Training (i.e., OCAT) on symptoms and emotion regulation in depressive patients. Because attention and cognitive control mechanisms prior (i.e., proactive control) and after (i.e., reactive control) negative stressors may play a role in the effects, the current study includes additional techniques to influence proactive control (i.e. psychoeducation, short motivational video). 

For more information, please contact Sarah Struyf.

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TRIAD project: Biobehavioral triadic dynamics of stress resilience transmission in families

Stress Resilience (SR), defined as the ability to bounce back after a stressful episode, is a major factor in our susceptibility to psychopathology. SR (or lack thereof) transmits across generations; however, the determining factors remain unknown. The TRIAD consortium, composed of research groups from five Belgian universities (Ghent University, University of Antwerp, KU Leuven, UCLouvain, University of Mons), investigates the factors and dynamics that contribute to effective SR transmission between mother-father-child triads.

We will investigate this in families with children aged between 10 and 12 years. The project aims to assess triadic member SR in interaction and define biobehavioral family profiles that influence SR transmission (including epi-genetic, endocrinological, and family climate variables). We will also examine biobehavioral synchrony between triad members and its effect on SR transmission and investigate triadic SR transmission in daily life.

For more information, please contact Matias Pulopulos.

Funders: FWO and FNRS within the Excellence of Science program (EOS)

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Stress detection from speech

In recent literature, the possibility of stress detection through speech has been opted since the production of speech. Even though it feels like a simple process to us, it involves many different bodily processes and parts. Therefore, we are focusing on the development of accurate stress detection methods from spoken words to take the next step towards a method of remote stress assessments that has an unlimited range of applications, such as employee stress levels, strenuous/high-risk jobs, and relapse detection in psychological diseases.

For more information, please contact Mitchel Kappen.

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Stress and Emotions during the Menstrual Cycle

Over 70% of women who menstruate report the experience of complaints related to their menstrual cycle. Often, these are not problematic, however, in 20-40% of the women, this leads to sizable inconveniences, and in some even to the disruption of daily activities. This is due to hormonal fluctuations during different phases of the menstrual cycle that influence the way you feel and react to your surroundings. The current study aims to learn more about how stress and emotions are experienced and expressed during different phases of the menstrual cycle.

For more information, please contact Mitchel Kappen.

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Neural mechanisms underlying criticism

In everyday life, people can receive criticism or negative feedback from others. Being criticized is a distressing experience and activates self-conscious emotions (e.g., feeling hurt) and self-referential thinking, which need to be regulated to prevent maladaptive emotional responses. People who are sensitive to criticism are more likely to have a high risk for developing mood, anxiety and other affective disorders. In this project, using fMRI, we aim to investigate the neural mechanisms when people are confronted with criticism. Furthermore, we also want to detect neuroimaging biomarkers for predicting vulnerability for psychopathology.

For more information, please contact Qinyuan Chen.