“Talking Point” Free Seminar Series

New directions in neurocognitive assessment, processes and interventions for addictive behaviours, presented by Lara Piccoli and Erynn Christensen.

It is well understood that addiction is associated with neurocognitive deficits, particularly impaired cognitive control, and enhanced drive to engage in the problem behaviour. However, the predictive utility of these neurocognitive processes is yet to be established. Addiction is often characterised by a frequent relapse remit cycle, which may arise from the one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Targeting the underlying motivations for consuming alcohol may inform more targeted, personalised, and efficacious interventions.

This presentation will discuss addictive behaviours from risk/resilience factors to suggested treatment targets. First, we introduce a novel tool to assess addiction-specific neurocognition and present evidence for the utility (or lack thereof) of neurocognition in predicting addictive behaviours. Then we present a novel virtual reality cue reactivity paradigm administered under stress to assess alcohol craving in individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Lara Piccoli is a second year PhD Candidate (Clinical Neuropsychology) at BrainPark, Monash University. Her research project involves using VR and gamified cognitive tasks to understand the cognitive-affective mechanisms of AUD. She completed her Honours degree at Turning Point in 2020 where she investigated whether alcohol craving mediates the effect of cognitive training on alcohol abstinence. Passionate about the role of cognitive functioning in understanding and treating substance use disorders, Lara’s career goals include continuing her involvement in addiction research, whilst working as a clinical neuropsychologist in the alcohol or other drug sector.

Erynn Christensen (she/her) is a PhD Candidate at Monash University’s BrainPark at the Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health. After completing her Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) at Monash University, Erynn has since worked on projects involving food choice, cannabis use, sleep and lifestyle interventions. Her PhD research is centred around the neurocognitive predictors of addictive behaviours ranging from drug and alcohol use to gambling, internet use and eating. Her work aims to model phenotypes of addiction, teasing apart the neurocognitive constructs that predispose and exacerbate problematic behaviours.

Date: Wednesday 10th August 2022
Venue: Online
Time: 1:00pm – 2:00pm AEST
Cost: Free – Talking Point is a free seminar series but registrations are essential
Register: click here to register