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In January 2018 ABC received 22 project proposals, which were presented to the committee and evaluated in two rounds.

After thorough review of the proposals, the rebuttal, the presentations and the information that the questions-answer sessions had provided, the committee made its final selection by vote.

The ABC PG18 evaluation committee consisted of
Enoch Aboh (FGW)
Vanessa van Ast (FMG)
Paul Lucassen (FNWI)
Shaul Salvi (FEB)
Martin Stokhof (FGW, chair)
Ingo Willuhn (AMC)

The ABC board of directors followed the recommendation of the evaluation committee and decided to fund the top three ranked proposals.

Congratulations to all researchers involved!

Investigating the dynamics of decision strategies: 
A new methodological approach and application to linguistic and economic judgments.

PIs: Leendert van Maanen (FMG, Psychology), Mael Lebreton (FEB), Jakub Szymanik (FGW, ILLC), Postdoc: Kim Archambeau
Many experiments in behavioral sciences involve decisions between multiple options. These experiments require numerous decisions from an individual, which may be generated by more than one decision strategy.
The project Investigating the dynamics of decision strategies: A new methodological approach and application to linguistic and economic judgments aims to disentangle these decision strategies, and identify moments in time when individuals switch strategy. The project assumes that even if choices are highly similar across strategies, the underlying neural substrates differs. Under this hypothesis, we will statistically model the dynamics of multiple neural signals over time, to identify changes that may be indicative of a change of strategy.
The project is a unique cross-talk between neuropsychological methods (Leendert van Maanen), economics (Mael Lebreton), and linguistics (Jakub Szymanik), and is expected to give new fundamental insights in the dynamics of decision strategies, specifically in the empirical study of linguistic and economic judgements.

Conceptualising the Effects of Closed-loop Deep Brain Stimulation on Self-Confidence and Autonomy of Patients with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

PIs: Damiaan Denys (AMC), Heleen Slagter (Psychology), Erik Rietveld (AMC/ILLC, FGW), Postdoc: Julian Kiverstein (AMC)
Recently the AMC has begun to experiment with Closed-Loop Deep Brain Stimulation (CL-DBS) in the ventral striatum and closely surrounding areas for the treatment of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. CL-DBS dynamically adjusts stimulation in response to pathological signals in real-time, allowing stimulation to be initiated with onset of neural patterns that are predictive of symptoms. The central question of our project concerns the effects of closed-loop DBS on the patient’s personal autonomy. How does ventral striatal CL-DBS impact on the patient’s ability to exercise control over their decisions and actions?
Based on earlier interviews with patients being treated with open-loop DBS, and on research in cognitive neuroscience on the role of the ventral striatum in predictive processing, we hypothesise that CL-DBS will increase the patient’s autonomy by increasing their self-confidence.

The causes and consequences of social learning: from neural mechanisms to group dynamics

PIs: Wouter van den Bos (FMG, Psychology), Martijn Egas (FNWI), Matthijs Van Veelen (FEB), Postdoc: Lucas Molleman (FMG, Psychology)

Social learning is a fundamental trait central to human cognition and culture. Adjustment of behaviour through observing others drives the rapid diffusion of skills, behaviours and social norms. Moreover, it directly impacts key social and economic outcomes such as voting, consumption behaviours and health decisions. Recent studies revealed substantial individual and cultural differences in social learning strategies, but the individual-level causes and group-level consequences of this variation are unknown.
This project therefore aims to address two fundamental questions:
  1. What factors determine individuals’ social learning strategies?
  2. How do individual social learning strategies drive population-level behavioural dynamics?
This project brings together ABC’s unique interdisciplinary expertise in neuroscience, economics and biology to examine how environments shape people’s social learning. By connecting environmental variables with changes on neural level, and linking individual behaviour back to group dynamics, our findings will contribute to a deeper understanding of this key aspect of human cognition.