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Research

Ghislaine Schyns

Position
PhD student

E-mail
ghislaine.schyns@maastrichtuniversity.nl

Themes

  • - Binge Eating Disorder
  • - Body image
  • - Craving
  • - Interventions, treatment
  • - Learning/conditioning processes
  • - Obesity
  • - Weight loss & dieting

Research

Craving for food. How do you unlearn that? That is the main theme of my research. It is well known that people gain weight when they consume more energy than they use. Evidently, people who eat more than they need don’t do this merely to alleviate hunger. We think that overeating is learned: certain cues can become predictors of food intake. A cue can be the sight of a snack bar for example. Just like the bell of Pavlov, the sight of the snack bar can initiate digestive processes and increase craving for food. But cues can also be smells, emotions or moments of the day for example. To stop this ‘cue reactivity’, the association between cues and food intake has to be broken: by extinction. Extinction can be achieved by cue expsore. In my research, I investigate how cue exposure can be effectively provided to people who want to lose weight, so that we can make clear recommendations in the future to improve current weight loss methods.

Teaching

I have been active as a tutor in several courses in the Psychology curriculum (faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience) and the Mental Health curriculum (faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences). I also supervise research projects and theses, and I give lectures for bachelor and master students at FPN and University College Venlo. I also give lectures for primary school children (KidzCollege).

Students who would like to write a thesis or do research on obesity, eating disorders, learning processes, dieting, and related subjects are welcome for supervision.

Publications

Schyns, G., Roefs, A., & Jansen, A. (n.d.). Cue exposure therapy reduces overeating of exposed and non-exposed foods in obese adolescents. Under Review.

Schyns, G., Roefs, A., Mulkens, S., & Jansen, A. (2016). Expectancy violation, reduction of food cue reactivity and less eating in the absence of hunger after one food cue exposure session for overweight and obese women. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 76, 57–64. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2015.11.007

van den Akker, K., Schyns, G., & Jansen, A. (2016). Enhancing inhibitory learning to reduce overeating: Design and rationale of a cue exposure therapy trial in overweight and obese women. Contemporary Clinical Trials, 49, 85–91. doi:10.1016/j.cct.2016.06.008

Jansen, A., Schyns, G.L.T., Bongers, P., & van den Akker, K. (2016). From lab to clinic: extinction of cued craving to reduce overeating. Physiology & Behavior, 162, 174-180.

Vervoort, L., van den Akker, K., Schyns, G.L.T., Kakoschke, N., Kemps, E., & Braet, C. (2016). Automatic processes in eating behaviour: understanding and overcoming food cue reactivity.  In R.G. Menzies, M. Kyrios, & N. Kazantkis (Eds.), Innovations and Future Directions in the Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Australian Academic Press.

Werthmann, J., Jansen, A., Vreugdenhil, A. C. E., Nederkoorn, C., Schyns, G., & Roefs, A. (2015). Food Through the Child’s Eye: An Eye-Tracking Study on Attentional Bias for Food in Healthy-Weight Children and Children With Obesity. Health Psychology, 34(12), 1123–1132.