Assessing and changing implicit cognitive processes in addiction: does it generalize from substance-related to non-substance-related addictions?

Dr. Reinout Wiers, Amsterdam, Niederlande

Vorsitz: Dr. Klaus Wölfling, Mainz, Deutschland

Abstract: Addictions have been characterized as a chronic brain disease from the biomedical perspective and as the unfortunate outcome of adverse social conditions from the social science perspective. I emphasize biased decision making as a central characteristic in addiction. In substance addictions, we and other researchers have found biases in attention, memory associations and action tendencies (review Wiers et al 2013 Clin Psychol Sc). It is an interesting question whether these biases are also found in non-substance addictions. Moreover, as cognitive biases have been successfully targeted (cognitive bias modification, cbm) in the clinical treatment of alcohol use disorders (Schoenmakers et al, 2010; Wiers et al., 2011; Eberl et al, 2013; Rinck et al., 2018; meta-analysis Boffo et al., 2019), detecting such biases for non-substance addictions may lead to novel (add-on) treatments. In gambling, cognitive biases have indeed been found (e.g., Boffo et al., 2018), and first trials are ongoing to assess clinical effects.

Reinout Wiers is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology the University of Amsterdam. He heads the Addiction Development and Psychopathology (ADAPT)-lab, aimed at furthering our understanding into the (neuro-)cognitive processes involved in the etiology of addiction and related disorders and to use this knowledge to develop new interventions. His work on implicit cognitive processes in addiction is internationally known. Wiers published over 300 international papers and book chapters. His H-index (August 2019, google scholar) is 73. He received the prestigious VIDI and VICI research grants from the Dutch National Science Foundation (N.W.O.), as well as many international grants. Originally trained as experimental psychologist, he is now a licensed cognitive behavior therapist too. He is senior editor of the journal Addiction, and on the editorial board of several other journals in this field.