Nominated for the You Go Girl Media Award 2018!

I am very humbled to tell you that I have been nominated for the You Go Girl Award 2018!
The You Go Girl Award is a price for female experts who have been visible in the media recently. This award is an initiative from media platform and speaker’s agency, to promote more women experts (inside and outside of science) in the spotlights of the media.

Based on my media performance around the Dutch March For Science, and my chairmanship at the Stand Up For Science movement, I got nominated for this prize by a jury, together with 5 other women out of a large amount of submissions!  

The price will be awarded on February 11th by the minister of education, culture, and science at the Sound and Vision Institute in Hilversum.   More info on the several prices: at

This nomination is a wonderful motivation boost at the beginning of the new working year! You can contribute to the festivity by voting for me at and increasing my chances of winning the price. You can vote once per device, so if you have a smartphone, ipad and a laptop, that is already 3 votes 😉 (The ‘You Go Girl Award’ voting screen comes after the national and regional ‘Vrouw In De Media’ award)  

Microdosing Psychedelics, indications that it might influence creativity

Recently, our paper got accepted in the journal Psychopharmacology. We looked at the effects of microdosing psychedelics in a natural setting, during a workshop of the Psycheledic Society Netherlands where their visitors would all take small doses of truffles, containing psilocybin. We had obtained the great opportunity to assess before, and after, intake of truffles, how some cognitive functions would change. We were limited to a few relatively simple tasks, due to time constraints and the lack of computers we could use. Also one downside to this study is that we couldn’t include a placebo group, as everyone during that workshop would use truffles. However, we did find some first indications of a selective effect on creativity.

You can find the preprint here. As soon as the (peer reviewed) journal article is online, I will link to it.
Interestingly, the paper has received a lot of media attention, including from the Volkskrant, The Scientific American, and the Dutch radio news channel Radio 1!

Psychology blog post & radio interview on writing a Nature journal paper via Google Docs

Recently I co-authored a paper that reacted to earlier work claiming that the standard alpha of p<0.05 should be reduced to p<0.005. As our paper, entitled “Justify your alpha” was written by a bunch of smart peaople via Giigle Docs, I was approached to write a blog post for the Leiden Psychology Blog, on how this comes about. It was fun to do, and it also lead to a radio interview on how scientists communicate as collaborators and as competitors! My first radio interview! Fortunately it was not live 😉

New paper out: Cognitive tasks on habitual and goal-directed control, do they measure the same thing?

Today our paper was published in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience: “Slips of Action and Sequential Decisions: A Cross-Validation Study of Tasks Assessing Habitual and Goal-Directed Action Control“. In this study we cross-validated two tasks assessing aspects of habitual and goal-directed control: a slips-of-action task (de Wit et al., 2012) and a sequential decision-making task (Daw et al., 2011). We correlated parameters of relative goal-directed and habitual control (devaluation sensitivity index, DSI) from the slips-of-action task and model-based (MB) and model-free (MF) control from the two-step decision-making task. We find that MB control during the two-step task showed a very moderately positive correlation with goal-directed devaluation sensitivity, whereas MF control in the two-step task did not show any associations with measures of the slips-of-action task. This could potentially support a common framework to describe the tendency towards goal-directed behavior, but not habitual behavior, as measured with these two frequently used tasks. In addition, goal-directed performance on both tasks was related to independent higher-order cognitive measures, including visual short-term memory. An exploratory mediation analysis indicated that short-term memory partly mediated the found correlation between goal-directed behavior in the two tasks. This could signify that the propensity to be goal-directed in each of the tasks depends on higher-order cognitive capacities, which could furthermore explain the moderate overlap between the two constructs. Interestingly, two previous studies do show overlap between assessments of goal-dircted behavior on different tasks (Friedel et al., 2014; Gillan et al., 2015), providing evidence that it is possible to measure overlapping constructs in the goal-directed domain with different tasks / assessments. However, it remains unclear how these findings are further related to other cognitive assessments.

In sum, the evidence of a common framework is not strong in this study: we have to caution that the amount of shared variance between the goal-directed and MB system in both tasks was rather low, and the found overlap between the tasks could putatively be (partly) related to more general cognitive capacities. This suggests that each task does also pick up distinct aspects of goal-directed behavior. It is likely that devaluation sensitivity in the slips-of-action task captures sensitivity to outcome value, whereas a measure of model-based control in the two-step task (additionally) seizes sensitivity to outcome contingency; both part of the definition of goal-directed behavior, but measured in different ways.


Publication: Sjoerds Z, Dietrich A, Deserno L, de Wit S, Villringer A, Heinze H-J, Schlagenhauf F and Horstmann A (2016). Slips of Action and Sequential Decisions: A Cross-Validation Study of Tasks Assessing Habitual and Goal-Directed Action Control. Front. Behav. Neurosci. 10:234. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2016.00234


Welcome to my website! Here I will keep you posted on my research in the field of Cognitive Neuroscience. Right now it is still under construction, but I will add content along the way, including projects, new publications and blog posts. Please check back again soon!

Best, Zsuzsi