Neurocognitive mechanisms of cannabis dependence

  • English language proficiency required
  • Amsterdam

Universiteit van Amsterdam

A central component of substance use disorders is the inability to control use despite the conscious awareness of negative consequences. How do we explain this gap between intentions and behavior? Is it the result of a hyperactive reward system responding to conditioned drug cues? Or the consequence of impaired cognitive control? Both? Neither? The goal of this project is to investigate the motivational and cognitive control processes involved in cannabis dependence using neuroimaging techniques.

Despite the growing movement towards cannabis legalization across the world, there is a lack of research investigating the underlying neurocognitive mechanisms of cannabis use disorders (CUD) compared to other substances. In collaboration with the University of Texas-Dallas, you will help conduct a cross-sectional and longitudinal neuroimaging study of the neurobiological mechanisms of cannabis dependence with a sample of cannabis dependent individuals and matched healthy controls in Amsterdam and Dallas, Texas. To do this, we will employ fMRI during tasks that tap into cue reactivity, approach bias, and working memory, along with a battery of questionnaires and cognitive tasks outside the scanner. As part of this project, you would have the ability to formulate your own research question and be involved in data collection, and become more familiar with functional neuroimaging. Because this study is an international collaboration, it is important that you enjoy working in a team, are communicative about problems that arise in the research process, and are very reliable.

Duties: Recruitment, Scheduling, Data Collection, Data Analysis


Affinity for addiction research, or a desire to gain knowledge in this area
Willing to commit to the project for at least 5 months
Neuroimaging experience is preferred but not necessary
Enjoy and have experience working in a team

Supervisors: Janna Cousijn (main supervisor); Emese Kroon/Lauren Kuhns (daily supervisor)

Start date: January 2020

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