16 & 17 June 2022  |  Egmond aan Zee


Prof.dr. Andrea Evers - Leiden University

How our mind affects the body –  The role of predictive processing of negative expectancies for somatic symptoms and conditions

Predictive processing of negative expectancies, conceptualized and reflected by a broad range of concepts, such as neuroticism, catastrophizing, worrying, helplessness, fear avoidance or pessimism, have most consistently been supposed as causal factor for a worse course of symptoms and progression in somatic conditions in a variety of models. Bayesians models of cognitive neuroscience also assume that our brain is a prediction machine that predicts incoming sensory data before the actual sensory experience. The evolutionary-based literature further suggests the existence of a negative expectancy bias (i.e. the preference to attend more to negative than positive or neutral stimuli), for example by a high sensitivity for negative in contrast to positive or neutral information.

In Health and Medical Psychology, a common empirical model of predictive processing of negative expectancies for various somatic symptoms and conditions and related interventions is generally lacking. Based on a psychoneurobiological approach, we will offer empirical evidence that support a negative expectancy bias as a key mechanism for a worse course of a variety of somatic symptoms and conditions (e.g. chronic pain, itch, nausea, asthma, diabetes) and translate these findings into possible treatment options. The lecture will open up new horizons for a common model of predictive processing of negative expectancies in somatic symptoms and conditions as well as possibilities for prevention and treatment.


Prof. Dr. Andrea W.W. Evers is professor of Health Psychology and chair of the Institute of Psychology at Leiden University, the Netherlands. She is also affiliated to the Technical University Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam as Medical Delta Professor Healthy Society. After her PhD (cum laude), Andrea Evers obtained several personal grants and awards for excellent researchers (e.g. NWO-Veni, NWO-Vidi, NWO Vici, ERC Consolidator Grant) for her innovative, interdisciplinary and translational research on psychoneurobiological mechanisms and treatments for health and disease.

In addition to her broad clinical experience as a registered clinical psychologist, she uniquely combines fundamental and applied science in her translational research, by focusing both on basic research on psychoneurobiology (e.g. placebo mechanisms) and translational research on screening and innovative interventions for somatic conditions (e.g. e-health tools). In 2019, she received the Stevin Award, the highest award in the Netherlands for scientific research with societal impact. She was elected as a lifetime member of the Dutch Royal Academy of Science and Arts (KNAW) as well as the Royal Dutch Society of Science (KHMW). Since 2021, she is also a member of the supervisory board of the VU University Amsterdam.

Prof.dr. Rens van der Schoot - Utrecht University

A Gentle Introduction to Bayesian Statistics

The popularity of Bayesian statistics has increased over the years. The Bayesian framework can handle some commonly encountered problems in classical statistics, such as the lack of power in small sample research and convergence issues in complex models. Furthermore, some researchers prefer the Bayesian framework because it sequentially updates knowledge with new data instead of requiring that each new study tests the null hypothesis that there is no effect in the population. The main focus of the lecture is on conceptually understanding Bayesian statistics and applying Bayesian methods to empirical data. The lecture is based on van de Schoots’ paper in Nature Reviews Methods Primers.


Prof. Dr. Rens van de Schoot works as full professor ‘Statistics for Small Data Sets’ at Utrecht University in the Netherlands and as extra-ordinary professor North-West University in South-Africa. He is also program director of the research master ‘Methodology and Statistics for the Behavioural, Biomedical and Social Sciences’ and coordinator of the post-graduate program at the department of Methods and Statistics

His main research projects are (1) ASReview: Automated systematic text reviewing by using Deep Learning and Active Learning; (2) integrating expert (=teacher) knowledge in end of primary school testing; (3) solutions for small data sets (S4) in the field of structural equation modelling with solutions in the areas of expert elicitation, Bayesian statistics and constrained statistical inference.

He was elected to become a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and of the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP) and he has obtained several awards for his work (KNVI- Victorine van Schaickfonds Initiative Award).

Prof.dr. Falko Sniehotta - University of Heidelberg, University of Newcastle

Maintaining weight loss – towards a psychological theory of long term behavioural weight management

The prevalence of personal weight loss attempts remain very high internationally. The effects of behavioural weight loss interventions usually peak within the first 6 months, followed by weight regain. Interventions to slow down or delay weight regain enhance the health benefits from weight loss. Over the last decade, the evidence has expanded substantially and there has been progress in theorising behavioural maintenance and weight loss maintenance.

This talk will summarise the evidence around the maintenance of behavioural weight loss interventions and seek answers for the following questions:

  1. What are the public perceptions of and experience with weight loss (maintenance)?
  2. What is the extend of the problem of weight regain and what are the consequences for health and wellbeing?
  3. What is the evidence for interventions to reduce weight regain and support weight loss maintenance? Are digital interventions effective?
  4. What is the state of theorising? How can successful weight loss maintenance be explained and what are the implications for future weight loss (maintenance) interventions.
  5. How can the developing science of weight loss maintenance be implemented in policy and practice. What are the implication for the public discourse about obesity, metabolic and cardiovascular health and weight loss?

These issues will be considered using a multimethodological approach with emphasis on some recent recent systematic reviews, and trials, including the Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial (DiRECT), the NoHoW and NULevel weight loss maintenance trials.


Falko is Professor of Public Health, Preventive and Social Medicine and the University of Heidelberg and Professor of Behavioural Medicine and Health Psychology at Newcastle University. He directs the NIHR Policy Research Unit (PRU) in Behavioural Science.

His research is translational, aiming to develop behavioural science to improve practice, policy and population health. This involves working closely with national, regional and local government, practitioners and member of the public to create evidence with the potential for significant impact on policy and practice.

Falko has a sustained interest in obesity and behavioural weight management as well as in type 2 diabetes prevention and remission. As a psychologist, he is interested in how people maintain behaviour change over time.

Falko is past president of the European Health Psychology Society and his work has been internationally acknowledged through honorary fellowships of the Academy of Social Science, the American Psychological Association and the European Health Psychology Society.

After graduating in Berlin and working in Aberdeen, Newcastle and Twente, Falko returned to Germany in 2022.

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