CBBM Lecture "Neuro-endocrine control mechanisms in social-emotional action"

by Prof. Karin Roelofs,

Behavioural Science Institute and

Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behavior (DI),

Radboud University Nijmegen


The ability to regulate emotions largely depends on the capacity to control emotional actions. Karin Roelofs will present a series of studies suggesting that down-regulation of amygdala activity by the ventrolateral and anterior parts of the prefrontal cortex is involved when people need to override their automatic action tendencies. The functioning of this neural circuitry is sensitive to individual differences in emotional states (anxiety and aggression) and associated steroid hormones (cortisol and testosterone, respectively). Roelofs will discuss recent direct manipulations of this neural circuitry by steroid hormone administration and brain stimulation (TMS) and will present work on the development of these neural circuitries implicated in emotion control. Her work suggests that the ability to control automatic emotional actions may be central in explaining human emotional responses and may constitute an important factor in explaining anxious and aggressive symptomatology.


Karin Roelofs is Professor of Experimental Psychopathology at the Behavioural Science Institute (BSI) and chair of the PI-group "Affective Neuroscience" at the Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behavior (DI), Radbound University Nijmegen (RU). After obtaining her Master's Degree in Neuropsychology and Clinical Psychology, she graduated Cum Laude at the RU (2002). Part of her studies she spent as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, USA). From 2001 to 2011 she worked as assistant and associate professor, respectively, at the Leiden University (Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition). Thereafter she moved to the Tadbound University where she started the EPAN group "Experimental Psychopathology and Affective Neuroscience" at the BSI and the Doners Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. Her true passion is to study psychological and neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying social-motivational behavior in healthy individula and invarious forms of psychopathology where social-motivational behavior is disregulated. Her group studies hormone-brain interactions in stress-related disorders (social phobia and PTSD), psychopathy and somatoform disorders (conversion and somatisation), using various neuroimaging techniques, such as fMRI, EEG, and TMS.

Karin Roelofs received several grants for her research from the Dutch Brain Foundation, the European Research Council, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research. Furthermore, she is a registered GZ psychologist (BIG) and cognitive behavioral therapist (VCGT).

This lecture will take place on September 29, 2015 from 17:15 to 18:30 hours in lecture hall H1, Turmgebäude.

Host: Prof. Ulrike Krämer
Department of Neurology
University of Lübeck