William Bowditch

Department: Cognition
Discipline: Psychology
Research Centre/Unit: Cognitive Control and Associative Learning (CCAL)

Project Summary

Inhibition is a core component of cognitive control, which allows for behaviour to be brought in line with current goals, through the selective suppression of thoughts, emotions, or actions.

Response inhibition is typically assumed to be a top-down act of control, in which top-down executive processes modulate bottom-up, associatively cued schemas. However, recent evidence suggests that inhibition can be triggered in a bottom-up fashion, through the retrieval of previously acquired stimulus-stop associations. Specifically, Verbruggen & Logan (2008) demonstrated that items consistently paired with withholding a response, show marked slowing when a response is later required. Such bottom-up association have been shown to influence behavior outside of the lab; by consistently pairing images of beer with stopping Houben et al (2011) found reduced self-reported alcohol consumption and devalued implicit attitudes to wards beer.

My PhD focuses on disentangling the mechanism behind stimulus-stop associations, with a particular focus on how stimulus-stop associations transfer to other contexts. 

Supervisory Team

First Supervisor: Prof. Ian McLaren

Second Supervisor: Prof. Frederick Verbruggen