Donnerstag, 12. Dezember 2019, 15:00 - 16:30 iCal

Talk of Dr. Eva Pool (University of Geneva, CH)

Psychological mechanisms underpinning reward-seeking behaviors.

Faculty of Psychology, Lecture hall G, 2nd floor (left wing of the building)
Liebigasse 5, 1010 Wien


A common symptom across many clinical conditions such as binge eating, pathological gambling or drug addiction is the willingness to go to extraordinary lengths in order to obtain an object of desire, even though once obtained the object is not experienced as pleasurable. What are the mechanisms that make the human brain vulnerable to situations where choice behavior is hijacked in the service of outcomes that are not valued by the individual? I will present two series of studies that aimed to address this question by combining classical experimental paradigms (e.g., Pavlovian conditioning, selective satiation procedures) developed through the study of animal behavior, with psychophysiological and eye-tracking techniques

The first set of studies combined a Pavlovian-instrumental transfer test (PIT) with a stress induction procedure. Results suggest that, in humans, stress selectively increases the Pavlovian influence on effort mobilization, independently of the hedonic properties of the reward.

The second set of studies combined a classical Pavlovian conditioning with a selective satiation procedure to decrease the value of the reward. These studies highlight that the same Pavlovian cue elicits different kinds of Pavlovian responses, some of which flexibly adapt to reward devaluation, whereas some other are resistant to the reward devaluation.Altogether, these findings provide new insights into the understanding of the mechanisms underlying the persistence of reward-seeking behaviors when the reward is no longer valued by the individual.



Department of Applied Psychology: Health, Development, Enhancement and Intervention


Abla Marie-Jose Bedi
Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods