Public Research Lecture 5 | Understanding learning and memory processes in behavioural addiction

Tuesday 26th March 2024
Register your attendance

Date: Tuesday 26th March 2024
Time: 18:00 – 19:30
Location: Conference Hall, Europa Point Campus

About this lecture

Emerging evidence illuminates why behavioural addictions develop and persist. Essentially, behavioural addiction refers to a repetitive and compulsive engagement in a behaviour (unrelated to the ingestion of psychoactive substances) despite the associated adverse consequences. An example of this is problematic video gaming and gambling. How we learn and form memories appears to be among the key contributors to the development and maintenance of these addictive behaviours. In particular, our recent systematic review indicates that certain learning abilities seem to be worse in people with behavioural addictions. At the same time, habit formation, a more automatic kind of learning, grows stronger. It seems that rigid habits hijack flexible goal-directed behaviour. Some of the evidence also points to working memory deficits and impairment of long-term memory. Furthermore, these altered cognitive patterns tie back to measurable changes within brain reward, memory and executive function networks.
During this public lecture, we will journey together through the intricate learning and memory processes behind the development and maintenance of addictive behaviours. A critical assessment of how various behavioural addictions relate to these vital aspects of human cognition will be made. By the end of the lecture, we will have a better understanding of addiction development and progression, and possibly, develop insights into how we may help those struggling with addiction.

About the speaker

Ronald Ngetich is a PhD candidate 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.
Register your attendance