Martine Groefsema

About Martine Groefsema

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Martine Groefsema studied Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Amsterdam before she moved to Nijmegen for a PhD position at the Behavioural Sience Institute. Her project is focused on two factors that may influence drinking behaviour; the response to the social environment and individual neural underpinnings. She tries to reveal why some people are more whilst others are less affected by their drinking company and to predict who remains a heavy (problematic) drinker after college hood. After working with beer drinkers in a laboratory that looks like a real bar during the day, Martine likes to go out and practice different sports but specifically sailing.

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Biography and Research Interests

Alcohol use increases dramatically during (late) adolescence(Brown et al., 2008; Poelen, Scholte, Engels, Boomsma, & Willemsen, 2005; Schulenberg et al., 2001), when drinking becomes a key part of college culture. Whilst heavy alcohol consumption in adolescence may continues into adulthood and can be associated with an increased risk for alcohol problems and dependence later in life (Duncan, Alpert, Duncan, & Hops, 1997; Englund, Egeland, Oliva, & Collins, 2010; McCambridge, McAlaney, & Rowe, 2011), remarkably not every adolescent heavy drinker develops an alcohol addiction during adulthood. One key factor In order to reveal why one remains a heavy (problematic) drinker after college hood whilst the other does not, may be related to the reasons why people drink. Some people drink alcohol for social reasons, because ‘everyone expects you to drink’ and others may have reasons related to the effects of alcohol, because ‘they want to get drunk’ (Cox & Klinger, 2004). In this project we aim to distinguish these two different types of drinkers based on their neural underpinnings. By examining the brain responses to social drinking situations and the brain responses after receiving the taste of alcohol, we aim to explain social and non-social drinking behaviour and to predict heavy drinking patterns.

Our research questions:
(1)   Can social drinking behaviour be related to brain responses when viewing pictures of social alcohol drinking scenes?
(2)   Can heavy drinking be related to brain responses when tasting alcohol?
(3)  Can  brain responses to the taste of alcohol predict drinking behaviour one year later?