Inside the Addicted Brain: The Fascinating Neurobiology behind Gambling Disorder

Wednesday 24th May 2:00 - 3:30
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Date: Wednesday 24th May 2023
Time: 14:00 – 15:30
Location: Europa Point Campus

About this lecture

Neuroimaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are robust in establishing the neurobiological functioning of both healthy individuals and those who have an addictive disorder or mental health condition. Given that gambling disorder has presented similar characteristics as those of substance use disorder, including in the neurocognitive domain, it has recently been classified in the DSM-5 as a behavioural addiction. Despite the growing number of empirical studies characterizing the neurocognitive manifestation of gambling disorder, there are still a lot of questions that remain unanswered.
This public lecture will explore the intricate neurobiological processes underlying gambling disorder, a behavioural addiction that affects millions of people worldwide. We will delve into the different brain regions and the inter-regional functional connectivity involved in the development and maintenance of addictive behaviours. Relying on the aberrant functional connectivity and inter-network coupling displayed in substance use disorders will speculate how such abnormal connectivity may also explain the maintenance of gambling disorder. By the end of the lecture, attendees will have a deeper understanding of the complex neurobiological underpinnings of gambling disorder and the implications on executive functions such as working memory and cognitive control.

About the speakers

Ronald Ngetich is a PhD student at the Centre of Excellence in Responsible Gaming-University of Gibraltar. His research interests include the investigation of how gambling disorder modifies cognitive functions such as learning and memory. Ronald has previously worked on projects investigating the causal role of specific brain areas in various executive functions (including working memory.) This involved the application of non-invasive brain stimulation; transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to focal brain areas to either inhibit or enhance neural activity and thus establish their roles in specific cognitive processes.
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