An important aspect of optimal decision making is the ability to learn from the result of previous experiences: reinforcement learning. My research focusses on the communication and collaboration between cortical and subcortical brain areas during reinforcement learning, and how this changes with age. Currently, I am working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Habit lab of dr. Sanne de Wit (www.habitlab.nl), where I investigate the neural basis of how habits develop during instrumental (reinforcement) learning, and how they can be adjusted with implementation intentions.
Methods include behavioral studies, EEG, EMG, MEG, fMRI, and DTI.
Irene van de Vijver graduated cum laude from the Psychonomics Master at the University of Amsterdam in 2008 with a master thesis on the effects of positive affect and caffeine on decision-making in young and older adults. During and after her study she worked as a research assistant at ACACia (Amsterdam Center for the study of Adaptive Control in brain and behavior), the lab of professor Ridderinkhof. In april 2010 she started her PhD project at the SINCS lab (Synchrony in Neural and Cognitive Systems), under supervision of dr. Mike Cohen and prof. dr. Richard Ridderinkhof. She received her PhD in February 2016 with her thesis on 'Functional and structural connectivity underlying reinforcement learning in young and older adults'. Subsequently, she obtained a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship from the Behavioural Science Institute of the Radboud University, to investigate the influence of the temporal delay between reinforcement learning experiences on the cognitive and neural systems supporing learning in young and older adults. Since October 2017, Irene is working as a postdoctoral researcher in the Habit lab of dr. Sanne de Wit, at the Clinical Psychology department of the UvA.