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One-day conference on "The role of executive functions in addiction and obesity"

2019. February 11. 10am - 5pm
ELTE PPK (1075 Budapest, Kazinczy utca 23-27) 
Please register (preferably prior to February 1st) via: https://elteppk.eu.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6oprBr1HlZ9WezP
The conference is free to attend (no registration/attendance fee).
10.00 Opening of the conference 
10.30 Introduction by Alexander Logemann (Senior Research Fellow) Institute of Psychology, ELTE University
11.00-12.25 Presentation by invited keynote speaker
Dr. Leon Kenemans (Professor) Utrecht University, The Netherlands,department of experimental Psychology, Helmholz Institute
Inhibition in action and perception 
Already in 1937 it was asserted that “higher levels of the central nervous system have inhibition as their function, and their stimulation might indeed produce reduced activity (...)” (Bradley, 1937, p. 582.) This perspective on inhibition emphasizes that a first brain process becomes weaker across two or more instantiations, and that this is causally dependent on a second process (the inhibition signal). I will present recent and older evidence to support this perspective, especially in the domain of split-second countermanding of initiated actions. It will also be argued that the inhibition signal depends on intact dopaminergic function, as well as on the specific configuration of sensory cues that demand action and inhibition, respectively. Finally, it will be argued that similar mechanisms operate in other domains such as perception, as well as without explicit demands for suppressing ongoing actions, ranging from change detection to inadvertent global motor suppression as elicited by what have been termed “potentially biologically relevant events outside the focus of attention.”
Leon Kenemans is professor of Biopsychology and Psychopharmacology at Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Together with colleagues he has worked and published on topics like the following: How blocking the dopamine D2 receptor effectively produces an impulse-control deficit in healthy students; the distinction between specific proactive and generic reactive inhibition; methylphenidate-remedied proactive inhibition in ADHD; reduced generic reactive inhibition during driving and how multi-tasking reverses this; the correlation between delta-TC-induced memory-search impairment and EEG theta-oscillation reduction in humans; and the breakdown of change detection in human visual cortex under moderate alcohol.
12.30-12.55 Dr. Alexander Logemann (Senior Research Fellow) Institute of Psychology, ELTE University
Obesity and addiction, a shared deficit of executive control?
Attention and inhibitory control are crucial for everyday functioning, and deficient operation of these mechanisms can have marked consequences. Studies have suggested that poor inhibitory control is implicated in obesity. However, studies rendered an inconsistent picture. Recently, an isolated study suggested that inhibitory control may fail specifically in a food context, and specifically in obese individuals. Although this may represent a food-context specific failure of inhibitory control in obese individuals, this may also represent overall poor inhibitory performance in any reward-related context. The latter notion is more in line with results from studies on obesity that incorporated brain activity indices of striatal functioning during processing of reward. In our current studies we assess whether obesity is indeed characterized (in part) by deficits of executive functions in contexts of general reward. And in addition, we assess whether the pattern of deficient inhibitory control across conditions that differ in terms of reward context is similar to pharmacological addiction. If so, this would add to the notion that the mechanism in obesity is not that dissimilar from the mechanism that drives pharmacological addiction.
13.00-13.55 BREAK
14.00 - 14.25 Dr. Renata Cserjesi (Senior Lecturer) Institute of Psychology, ELTE University
Automatic and controlled processes in obesity
Apart from some specific medical condition, obesity is mainly associated with unhealthy behaviours that increase calorie intake "eating too much" and/or decrease energy expenditure " not moving enough". Most weight loss interventions aim to change these behaviours, however the efforts to introduce healthy behaviour and lifestyle to people had met with very little success. As also the statistics indicate, the prevalence of obesity is continuously rising. Why these interventions do not work? One of the reasons is that our behaviour is shaped by both automatic and controlled processes. Controlled processes are defined as a process that is under the flexible, intentional control of the individual, that he or she is consciously aware of. Whilst automatic processes are unintentional, involuntary, and occurring outside awareness. Regular behaviours, habits such as eating, food type and portion choice are rather associated with automatic processes. They are shaped by implicit preferences that one is most of the time not aware of. Furthermore, to change these habitual behaviours someone needs to rely on a conscious but effortful controlled process. In the present talk I am going to discuss the difference between groups of obese and nonobese individuals in terms of discrepancy between implicit and explicit preferences, and deceased cognitive control associated with executive functions
14.30 - 14.55 Dr. Gyöngyi Kökönyei (Senior Lecturer) Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University. (Researcher) SE-NAP2 Genetic Brain Imaging Migraine Research Group, Semmelweis University
Rumination and reward processing - implications for addiction research
Rumination has been proposed as a transdiagnostic risk factor in the development of several psychopathologies including addiction and eating disorders. However, fine-grained understanding of the contribution of rumination to mental health requires the identification of underlying mechanisms/pathways. In this presentation, reward processing, especially reward cue processing will be emphasized as a possible mechanism between rumination and addiction.
15.00 - 15.25  Zsófia Logemann-Molnár, MSc. (PhD student) Doctoral School of Psychology, Institute of Psychology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University
Modulating executive functions via mindfulness-based intervention
Studies have shown abnormal functioning of executive processes in obesity, and this may relate to the difficulty to achieve healthy weight. Although the mechanism of obesity is not clear, it may be that normalizing executive processing would in part help to control unhealthy eating behaviour and translate to healthier weight. One feasible non-invasive, yet surprisingly poorly understood approach may be mindfulness-based intervention. In my presentation, I will present previous and planned research on the effect of mindfulness-based interventions on executive functions in the context of reward processing. 
15.30-17.00 General discussion

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