As long as I can remember I am fascinated by the brain. Anything related to it would attract my attention in biology class. I just had to find out how the brain works, how it makes us do all the things we do. And I’m still motivated by the very same question: What motivates our behaviour?
Food is a particularly strong motivator, especially the highly caloric kind like chocolate or burgers. It can attract our attention and make us want to eat. As a result, we often we find ourselves eating on autopilot, not even realizing that we are already full. For some the temptation of food is stronger than for others. Why is that? How come some people are driven more by certain rewards like highly caloric foods than others?
I study how the brain of different people responds to food rewards, and how well people can control their automatic responses to those rewards (i.e. “grab food” and “eat”). Are people able to break these automatic responses by eating more mindfully? If they are, does training mindfulness affect the way the brain responds to food rewards, or does is affect how strongly it can control these automatic response tendencies? Maybe it affects both. The results of this exciting study are on the way, so stay tuned for more.
Besides doing research, I also thoroughly enjoy sharing my fascination of the brain with a broad audience. For example, by blogging about neuroscience or engaging in other forms of science communication. With the very same enthusiasm I like unleashing my creativity on the dance floor (dancing & teaching lindy hop) or in the kitchen.
How mindfulness can help us resist temptation (FameLab 2016, international pitch competition, Dutch final)