I am a cognitive neuroscientist interested in habits and how they find their way into the brain. The neurotransmitter dopamine particularly motivates me. Currently, I work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Psychology at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg in Germany. On this website, I collect (links to) my research and related work that is dear to my heart.

Key publications

Janssen, LK & Horstmann, A (2022). A Molecular imaging of central dopamine in obesity: a qualitative review across substrates and radiotracers. Brain Sciences, 12(4), 486. https://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12040486.

Beyer, F, Flannery, J, Gau, R, Janssen, L, Schaare, L, Hartmann, H, Nilsonne, G, Martin, S, Khalil, A, Lipp, I, Puhlmann, L, Heinrichs, H, Mohamed, A, Herholz, P, Sicorello, Maurizio & Panagoulas, E (2021). A fMRI pre-registration template. PsychArchives. https://doi.org/10.23668/PSYCHARCHIVES.5121.

Janssen, LK, Mahner, FP, Schlagenhauf, F, Deserno, L, & Horstmann, A (2020). Reliance on model-based and model-free control in obesity. Sci Rep 10, 22433. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79929-0

van Holst, RJ, Sescousse, G, Janssen, LK, Janssen, M, Berry, AS, Jagust, WJ, & Cools, R (2018). Increased Striatal Dopamine Synthesis Capacity in Gambling Addiction. Biological psychiatry, 83(12), 1036–1043. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopsych.2017.06.010

Janssen LK, Duif I, van Loon I, Wegman J, de Vries JHM, Cools R, & Aarts E (2017). Loss of lateral prefrontal cortex control in food-directed attention and goal-directed food choice in obesity. Neuroimage 146, 148-156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.11.015

Janssen, LK, Sescousse, G, Hashemi, MM, et al. (2015). Abnormal modulation of reward versus punishment learning by a dopamine D2-receptor antagonist in pathological gamblers. Psychopharmacology 232, 3345–3353. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00213-015-3986-y


short CV


’17 | PhD in Medical Sciences
@Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute

Thesis on neurocognitive mechanisms of compulsive behavior (thesis)

’11 | MSc in Cognitive Neuroscience
@Radboud University Nijmegen

Thesis on state-dependent tactile processing in rat barrel cortex (thesis)

’09 | BSc in Psychobiology
@University of Amsterdam

Thesis on motor imagery (doi)

’06 | Gymnasium, Nature & Health
Elzendaal College Boxmeer


’21-now | Postdoc
@OVGU, Neuropsychology, Madgeburg

Behavioral & imaging studies on reinforcement learning and working memory, and getting into basic habit research

’17-’21 | Postdoc
@Leipzig University, MPI-CBS, Leipzig

Behavioral & imaging studies on dopamine, learning, working memory, and decision-making in diet-induced obesity

’12-’17 | PhD
@Radboud University Nijmegen, Donders Institute

Intervention study on the neurcognitive mechanisms of mindful eating

’11-’12 | Research Assistant
@Radboudumc Nijmegen, Donders Institute

Pharmacological study on the role of dopamine in gambling


Experimental methods | behavioral paradigms of reinforcement learning, reward-processing, decision-making, cognitive control, motor imagery | neuroimaging: fMRI, PET, EEG, intracranial EEG (rats) | interventions: pharmacological dopamine agents, dietary dopamine depletion, mindful eating vs. active control

Coding | R, Matlab (SPM, Psychtoolbox, Fieldtrip), Octave, Presentation, and a bit of Python

Soft skills | Creative problem-solving, assertiveness, transparent communication, active listening, empathy, collaboration, motivating self and others, never-ending curiosity, project management, leadership

I am dedicated to improving
the impact of academia on the world.

The impact of academia on the world relies on the credibility and accessibility of our research. This requires thorough change of researchers’ habits. There are many ways in which credibility and accessibility can be improved from within. For better credibility we need better scientific practice. We also need to be more nuanced in the way we communicate what our research can and cannot tell us; for scientific as well as non-scientific audiences. Scientific findings, be it “significant” or null findings, should be accessible all around the globe so that we can build on each other’s work more constructively. And importantly, we need to change how we assess researchers’ contributions to academia.

I am dedicated to help change academia slowly but steadily, like new habits finding their way into the system. As a co-founder, former chair, blogger and editor of the science blog Donders Wonders. As an active #scicommmom. As a co-founder and organizer of the MPI CBS Open Science initiative. As an advocate for starting your own grassroots open science initiative. As a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). As a researcher practicing what I preach by trying to do more open science myself (I’m just a beginner, really). And as a colleague and supervisor preaching what I’m trying to practice.




  • 2022. May. The brain and its habits (German). ARD Alpha Campus Talk. Volksbühne Berlin, ARD Alpha.
  • 2021. Jul. Bad habits (German). Ach Mensch! Podcast.
  • 2020. Feb. Dopamine fasting (German). Circus of Science. Leipzig.
  • 2017. Nov. Mindful eating (Dutch). Coffee&Science. InScience Film Festival. Lux. Nijmegen.
  • 2017. Jun. Breaking Bad Habits (Dutch). Public Symposium. Donders Institute. Nijmegen.
  • 2016. Jun. Resisting temptations (Dutch). Waddenacademie. Cultural festival Oerol. Terschelling.
  • 2016. Apr. Breaking bad habits (English). FameLab Nationals. Utrecht.
  • 2016. Mar. Resisting temptations (English). FameLab Regionals. Lux. Nijmegen.
  • 2015. Nov. Mindful eating (Dutch). “Universiteit van Beek”. Library of Beek. Beek.
  • 2015. Sep. Brain Art (Dutch). Radboud Researchers Night. Lux. Nijmegen.
  • 2015. Mar. High school masterclass. Brain Awareness Week. Elzendaalcollege. Boxmeer.