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All work and no play

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  • UserProf. Louk J.M.J. Vanderschuren, PhD Dept. of Animals in Science and Society, Division of Behavioural Neuroscience, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University Utrecht, The Netherlands
  • ClockFriday 01 March 2013, 16:30-18:00
  • HouseGround Floor Lecture Theatre, Department of Psychology.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Louise White.

Inbetween weaning and puberty, the young of all mammalian species, including humans, display a characteristic form of social interaction known as social play behaviour or rough-and-tumble play. This form of social behaviour is highly rewarding and important for the development of social and cognitive skills. Our research focuses on the neural underpinnings of social play behaviour in rats. In my seminar, I will present our recent research that demonstrates the importance of limbic corticostriatal circuits in social play behaviour. In addition, I will show data indicating that the positive subjective (‘pleasurable’) and incentive motivational properties of social play can be pharmacologically dissociated. Furthermore, I will discuss our research that demonstrates the importance of social play for the development of impulse control and decision making abilities, as well as for the resilience to drug abuse.

Biography: Prof. dr. L.J.M.J. (Louk) Vanderschuren (1968) obtained a MSc degree in Medical Biology (1990) and a PhD degree (1994) at Utrecht University. As a post-doctoral fellow, he studied the neurobiology of drug addiction at the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Cambridge. In 2004 he was appointed staff member at the Rudolf Magnus Institute of Neuroscience (UMC Utrecht), and in 2010 he was appointed Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience at Utrecht University. His research deals with the neurobiology of social behaviour, impulsive behaviour and drug addiction. He has published 93 scientific papers in international peer-reviewed journals. He is editor of Behavioural Pharmacology, and member of the executive committee of the European Behavioural Pharmacology Society.

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