Tom Smeets

Tom Smeets
Tilburg University | UVT · Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology

Ph.D

About

155
Publications
79,567
Reads
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4,333
Citations
Introduction
Tom Smeets is a Full Professor of Clinical Psychology and Head of the Department of Medical and Clinical Psychology, Tilburg University. Tom's research interests include: Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; Stress, Trauma, & Psychopathology; Instrumental (Goal-directed vs. Habitual) Behavior; Overgeneralisation of Fear and Avoidant Safety Behaviours; Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
Additional affiliations
January 2019 - present
Tilburg University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 2014 - December 2018
Maastricht University
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
September 2008 - December 2013
Maastricht University
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)

Publications

Publications (155)
Article
Full-text available
This qualitative study investigated which types of interventions are made by group therapists during group cognitive–behavioral therapy (GCBT) with individuals who have perpetrated intimate partner violence (IPV) in the “Not ‘Losing It’ Anymore”(NLIA) outpatient programs across the Netherlands. Audio recordings of group sessions (N = 60) facilitate...
Article
Full-text available
Background About 30% of cancer survivors suffer from chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) ≥6 months after completion of chemotherapy. This condition, for which treatment options are scarce, comes with limitations in daily life functioning and decreased quality of life. The current study examines the effectiveness of an online self-help...
Article
Full-text available
Combining recall of an emotional memory with simultaneous horizontal eye movements (i.e., Recall + EM) reduces memory aversiveness. However, the long-term persistence of this effect is inconsistent across studies. Given that stress may aid in the consolidation of memories, we examined whether acute stress can boost the long-term effects of degraded...
Preprint
Combining recall of an emotional memory with simultaneous horizontal eye movements (i.e., Recall+EM) reduces memory aversiveness. However, the long-term persistence of this effect is inconsistent across studies. Given that stress may aid in the consolidation of memories, we examined whether acute stress can boost the long-term effects of degraded m...
Article
Full-text available
Vaccines are an important tool for governments and health agencies to contain and curb the Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, despite their effectiveness and safeness, a substantial portion of the population worldwide is hesitant to get vaccinated. In the current study, we examined whether fear of COVID-19 predicts vaccination wil...
Article
Stress initiates a cascade of (neuro)biological, physiological, and behavioral changes, allowing us to respond to a challenging environment. The human response to acute stress can be studied in detail in controlled settings, usually in a laboratory environment. To this end, many studies employ acute stress paradigms to probe stress-related outcomes...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose Our aim was to investigate prospective associations of consumption of total dairy and dairy types with incident prediabetes in a Dutch population-based study. Methods Two enrolment waves of the Hoorn Studies were harmonized, resulting in an analytic sample of 2262 participants without (pre-) diabetes at enrolment (mean age 56 ± 7.3 years;...
Article
Bulimia nervosa (BN) and binge eating disorder (BED) are characterized by episodes of eating large amounts of food while experiencing a loss of control. Recent studies suggest that the underlying causes of BN/BED consist of a complex system of environmental cues, atypical processing of food stimuli, altered behavioral responding, and structural/fun...
Article
Full-text available
Evidence suggests neutral or moderately beneficial effects of dairy intake on type 2 diabetes mellitus risk. Nevertheless, evidence on associations with early phases of type 2 diabetes remains inconsistent. We aimed to examine associations between dairy-type intake with prediabetes risk and longitudinal insulin resistance. The analytic sample consi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Vaccines are an important tool for governments and health agencies to contain and curb the Coronavirus Disease-19 (COVID-19) pandemic. However, despite their effectiveness and safeness, a substantial portion of the population worldwide is hesitant to get vaccinated. In the current study, we examined whether fear of COVID-19 predicts vaccination wil...
Article
Full-text available
Memories of the past can guide humans to avoid harm. The logical consequence of this is if memories are changed, avoidance behavior should be affected. More than 80 years of false memory research has shown that people’s memory can be re-constructed or distorted by receiving suggestive false feedback. The current study examined whether manipulating...
Article
Full-text available
Acute stress is associated with a shift from goal-directed to habitual behavior. This stress-induced preference for habitual behavior has been suggested as a potential mechanism by which binge eating disorder (BED) patients succumb to eating large amounts of high-caloric foods in an uncontrolled manner (i.e., binge episodes). While in healthy subje...
Article
Full-text available
Background We systematically reviewed all literature concerning online Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) interventions for chronic pain to evaluate their (1) ACT content, (2) design characteristics, (3) design rationales, and (4) adherence. Material and methods A systematic search was performed on July 9th, 2020 in; PubMed, PsycINFO, CINAHL,...
Article
Full-text available
Background Acute stress is thought to reduce goal-directed behaviour, an effect purportedly associated with stress-induced release of catecholamines. In contrast, experimentally increased systemic catecholamine levels have been shown to increase goal-directed behaviour. Whether experimentally increased catecholamine function can modulate stress-ind...
Article
Full-text available
Research has demonstrated the spreading of fear from threat-related stimuli to perceptually similar, but innocuous, stimuli. Less is known, however, about the generalization of avoidance behavior. Given that stress is known to affect learning and memory, we were interested in the effect of acute stress on (over)generalization of fear and avoidance...
Article
Full-text available
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several reports have shown that fear relating to COVID-19 has sharply increased. To measure fear of COVID-19, various questionnaires have been developed in parallel. However, fear concerning COVID-19 is not necessarily a uniform construct and the different questionnaires may cover diverse as...
Article
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial impact on mental health. Prior reports have shown that depression, anxiety, and stress have increased throughout the pandemic. Nonetheless, not everyone is affected by these negative consequences and some people may be relatively unaffected. In this online study in a predominantly Dutch and Belgian sample (N...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Reductions in memory practice effects have gained interest as risk factor for future cognitive decline. Practice effects vary with age and can be moderated by factors such as individual variability in arousal or stress experience acting as an additional cognitive load. Objective: In the current pilot study, we examined whether sympat...
Article
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In order to explain trauma resilience, previous research has been investigating possible risk and protective factors, both on an individual and a contextual level. In this experimental study, we examined narrative coherence and social support in relation to trauma resilience. Participants were asked to write about a turning point memory, after whic...
Article
Full-text available
Approach-avoidance behaviours play a major role in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders as repeated avoidance behaviours are assumed to prevent fear extinction. Approach-avoidance decisions (Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-avoidance and Unconditioned Stimulus (US)-avoidance) and their effect on fear extinction and renewal were investigate...
Article
Full-text available
Acute stress has been found to impair the flexible updating of stimulus−outcome associations. However, there is a lack of studies investigating the effect of acute stress on the flexible updating of stimulus‐response associations, like active avoidance responses. The current study used an avoidance reversal learning paradigm to address this questio...
Article
Anxiety patients often experience conflicts between approaching (pass barking dog) and avoiding (take detour) feared situations. In most experimental avoidance paradigms, response options are limited or forced, making it difficult to generalize the results to daily life situations. The aim of the present study was twofold: 1) to develop a more ecol...
Preprint
Full-text available
Fear is an evolutionary adaptive emotion that serves to protect the organism from harm. Once a threat diminishes, fear should also dissipate as otherwise fear may become chronic and pathological. While threat (i.e., number of infections, hospitalizations and deaths) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has substantially varied over time, it remains...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID-19 pandemic has a substantial impact on mental health. Prior reports have shown that depression, anxiety, and stress have increased throughout the pandemic. Nonetheless, not everyone is affected by these negative consequences and some people may be relatively unaffected. In this online study in a predominantly Dutch and Belgian sample (N...
Article
Stress has both enhancing and impairing influences on memory performance. Interestingly, aging has been associated with changes in the stress system as well as a decline in memory performance. Reductions in memory practice effects have gained interest as a risk factor for future cognitive decline, yet research on how stress influences practice effe...
Preprint
Full-text available
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), several reports have shown that fear relating to COVID-19 has sharply increased. To measure fear of COVID-19, various questionnaires have been developed in parallel. However, fear concerning COVID-19 is not necessarily a uniform construct and the different questionnaires may cover diverse as...
Preprint
Approach-avoidance behaviours play a major role in the development and maintenance of anxiety disorders as repeated avoidance behaviours are assumed to prevent fear extinction. Approach-avoidance decisions (Conditioned Stimulus (CS)-avoidance and Unconditioned Stimulus (US)-avoidance) and their effect on fear extinction and renewal were investigate...
Preprint
Binging disorders are characterized by episodes of eating large amounts of food whilst experiencing a loss of control. Recent studies suggest that the underlying causes of these binging disorders consist of a complex system of environmental cues, different processing of food stimuli, altered behavioral responding, and brain changes. We propose that...
Preprint
Being exposed to acute stress may cause people to behave more habitual, which purportedly is associated stress-induced increased dopamine release. In contrast, experimental rises in systemic dopamine levels have been shown to increase goal-directed behaviour and, thus, decrease habitual control. Whether experimentally increased dopamine functioning...
Article
Instrumental learning is regulated by two memory systems: a relatively rigid but efficient habit system and a flexible but resource-demanding goal-directed system. Previous work has demonstrated that exposure to acute stress may shift the balance between these systems toward the habitual system. In the current study, we used a 2-day outcome devalua...
Poster
The 8th international meeting of the Integrated Brain and Behavior Research Center at the university of Haifa
Article
Full-text available
Memories can have consequences on people’s eating behavior. In the current experiment, we examined the effect of belief versus recollection on food preferences and then investigated whether explicit belief (i.e., self- reported) or implicit belief (i.e., measured by an autobiographical implicit association test; aIAT) had a similar effect on food p...
Article
Full-text available
Contextual learning pervades our perception and cognition and plays a critical role in adjusting to aversive and stressful events. Our ability to memorise spatial context has been studied extensively with the contextual cueing paradigm, in which participants search for targets among simple distractor cues and show search advantages for distractor c...
Article
Full-text available
Acute stress has been found to impair goal-directed instrumental behaviour, a cognitively flexible behaviour that requires cognitive control. The current study aimed to investigate the role of individual differences in baseline and stress-induced changes in working memory (WM) on the shift to less goal-directed responding under stress. To this end,...
Article
Full-text available
Memories of past experiences can guide our decisions. Thus, if memories are undermined or distorted, decision making should be affected. Nevertheless, little empirical research has been done to examine the role of memory in reinforcement decision-making. We hypothesized that if memories guide choices in a conditioning decision-making task, then man...
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined whether mock offenders who were instructed to falsely deny crime details or to simulate amnesia, would consequently experience impaired memory. Ninety‐three university students were first asked to commit a mock crime and were then assigned to three different conditions (i.e., false denial, simulated amnesia and truth tell...
Article
Full-text available
The goal of the present experiment was to examine the effect of certain (deceptive) strategies (e.g., false denial) on memory. Specifically, participants were shown a traumatic virtual reality (VR) video of an airplane crash. Following this, participants (N= 94) received questions concerning details from the VR scene in a baseline memory task. Then...
Article
Full-text available
Instrumental learning, i.e., learning that specific behaviors lead to desired outcomes, occurs through goal-directed and habit memory systems. Exposure to acute stress has been shown to result in less goal-directed control, thus rendering behavior more habitual. The aim of the current studies was to replicate and extend findings on stress-induced p...
Article
Full-text available
False memories can result in severe legal consequences including the imprisonment of innocent people. False memory in eyewitnesses is the largest factor contributing to miscarriages of justice in the United States. To date, no study has focused on how false memories might play a role in the Chinese legal system. The purpose of this review is to sum...
Article
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Different theoretical views exist regarding whether false memories contain perceptual information or are merely conceptual in nature. To address this question, we conducted three experiments to examine whether false memories for pictures had a priming effect on a perceptual closure task. In Experiment 1, participants were presented with pictorial v...
Article
Full-text available
Background Acute stress can have an effect on pain sensitivity, yet the direction of the effect – whether it is hypoalgesic or hyperalgesic ‐ is mixed across studies. Moreover, which part of the stress response influences pain sensitivity is still unclear. In the current experimental study, we aim to examine the effect of acute stress on heat pain...
Article
Studies suggest that frontal alpha asymmetry is closely linked to psychological adjustment following stressful experiences, such that more left-sided frontal activation during symptom provocation might predict lower levels of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Here, we tested whether frontal asymmetry at rest and during exposure to neutral, posi...
Article
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Brewin and Andrews recently argued that expert witnesses should be cautious when informing the legal arena about the potential for false memories. We argue that memory researchers—whose studies often were inspired by miscarriages of justice due to erroneous statements provided by witnesses, victims, or defendants—can and should emphasize the base r...
Article
Full-text available
Memories of events for which the belief in the occurrence of those events is undermined, but recollection is retained, are called nonbelieved memories (NBMs). The present experiments examined the effects of NBMs on subsequent problem-solving behaviour. In Experiment 1, we challenged participants' beliefs in their memories and examined whether NBMs...
Article
Brewin and Andrews (2016) reviewed the literature on false memory propensity for childhood events. In this commentary, we critically evaluate their basic claim that proneness to false memories of childhood experiences is more limited than has been articulated in the literature. We show that Brewin and Andrews were selective in their inclusion of fa...
Article
Reliably eliciting acute stress repeatedly over time is of indispensable value for research into stress vulnerability and for developing interventions aimed at increasing stress resiliency. Here, we evaluated whether the Maastricht Acute Stress Test (MAST), a potent stress protocol that combines physical and psychosocial stress components, can be u...
Article
Full-text available
In the eyewitness identification literature, stress and arousal at the time of encoding are considered to adversely influence identification performance. This assumption is in contrast with findings from the neurobiology field of learning and memory, showing that stress and stress hormones are critically involved in forming enduring memories. This...
Article
Background and objectives: Cognitive and information processing theories of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) assert that trauma intrusions are characterized by poor contextual embedding of visuospatial memories. Therefore, efficient encoding of visuospatial contextual information might protect against intrusions. We tested this idea using ind...
Article
We examined the mnemonic effects of false denials. In a previous experiment (Otgaar, Howe, Memon, & Wang, 2014), false denials resulted in participants denying that they talked about details with the experimenter when in fact they did. This denial-induced forgetting (DIF) was further examined. In Experiment 1, participants received pictures and the...
Article
Full-text available
Research on how people respond to social challenges to existing memories indicates that they sometimes defend belief in the veridicality of the memory, and sometimes relinquish belief in memories. In some instances, they report retaining a strong sense of recollection despite the loss of belief. The current research explored how adults and children...
Article
The Self-Administered Interview© (SAI) serves to elicit eyewitness statements directly after the crime. Witnesses could still experience stress then. Because stress during retrieval produces memory-impairing effects, this study sought to compare the SAI with free recall under stress. An interaction between stress and interview was expected such tha...
Article
Full-text available
Among many legal professionals and memory researchers there exists the assumption that susceptibility to false memory decreases with age. In 4 misinformation experiments, we show that under conditions that focus on the meaning of experiences, children are not always the most susceptible to suggestion-induced false memories. We begin by presenting a...
Article
Full-text available
Memories are usually believed to represent genuine past events. While previous researches mainly focus on believed memories, a recent research line has discovered that memories can exist without accompanying beliefs. That is, one can have vivid images or recollections of an event that he knows never happened. Vivid memories of non-existent events a...
Article
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Despite considerable interest in understanding how stress influences memory accuracy and errors, particularly in children, methodological limitations have made it difficult to examine the effects of stress independent of the effects of the emotional valence of to-be-remembered information in developmental populations. In this study, we manipulated...
Article
Full-text available
Frontal asymmetry in alpha oscillations is assumed to be associated with psychopathology and individual differences in emotional responding. Brain-activity-based feedback is a promising tool for the modulation of cortical activity. Here, we validated a neurofeedback protocol designed to change relative frontal asymmetry based on individual alpha pe...