Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #9 – Roshan Cools – Brain mechanisms of cognitive control and motivation

Our guest today is Roshan Cools. Roshan is a Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the Radboud University Medical Center and Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour.

Roshan is interested in Willpower. How does it work and how do underlying factors such as cognitive control and motivation influence it? Her research goes even further and looks into how these factors are modulated by dopamine and serotonin. 

In this conversation we talk about her research and how many of the topics of cognitive control overlap with memory and decision making.

We cover many topics ranging from reward and the role of dopamine as well as cognitive enhancers such as ritalin or adderall and if they are actually effective or not. 

We also touched upon how UX design could impact cognitive control and how you should think about it.

Show Notes

Reach out to Roshan Cools at:

Twitter: @CoolsControl

Articles / Books:

Thinking fast and slow – Daniel Kahnemann

On Task – David Badre

Videos / Movies / Documentaries:

The Marshmallow Test

Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #8 – Frank Leone – Using science to improve education

Our guest today is Frank Leoné. I had the distinct honor to share an office with him during our PhD time.

Frank has a passion for understanding and improving learning as well as education. He is currently an assistant professor in Neuroeducation & Artificial Intelligence at the Donders Institute. 

His focus is to integrate insights from multiple disciplines into a coherent perspective on learning experience design, which is the topic of today, and into intelligent educational apps and games. 

His own background reflects similar interests covering multiple disciplines, including programs in 

  • psychology
  • AI & neuroscience,
  • as well as entrepreneurship in serious games and gamification

On top of all that, he has also received multiple awards for his teaching.

In this conversation we talk about the science of education and learning design. What actually makes a good learning experience and how does it affect learning performance?

We cover many topics ranging from AI in education to online learning all the way to the important effect emotions have on learning. 

Show Notes

Reach out to Frank Leone at:

Twitter: @FTMLeone
Email: [email protected]

Articles / Books:

Actionable Gamification: Beyond Points, Badges, and Leaderboards – Yu-Kai Chou

The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game – Lee Sheldon

Videos / Movies / Documentaries:

The power of vulnerability – Brené Brown

The way we think about work is broken – Barry Schwartz

Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #7 – Vitoria Piai – How we process and create language

Our guest today is Dr. Vitoria Piai. Vitória is a senior researcher at the Donders Centre for Cognition and the Radboud University Medical Centre. 

Her research focuses on language function in healthy and neurological populations, such as stroke, brain tumor, epilepsy, and neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia or Parkinson’s.

She pays special attention to the intersection of language and other functions, such as executive control, (semantic) memory, and motor control in the case of speaking. 

She uses a bi-directional approach where she uses models from cognitive neuroscience to better understand language function in the neurological populations, while at the same time using observations of the breakdown of language in those populations as unique insights to improve the models from cognitive neuroscience.

For her work she has received multiple grants amongst which are the:

  • Rubicon
  • Dutch Veni grant
  • Junior Principal investigator premium  

Her awards range from getting the

  • Early Career Award 3x from 3 different research societies
  • Top reviewer award
  • The award for the “Top 10% of review contributions to the field of Psychology”

The list goes on and on. 

In this conversation we talk about the science of language. How does language work? What is language and how does it impact us every day? 

We discuss how language makes us uniquely human and where do the borders lie if there are any. We also talk about the overlaps of language and memory.

Show Notes

Reach out to Vitoria Piai at:

Vitoria’s personal website:
Twitter: @vipiai
Email: [email protected]

Articles / Books:

Suggested Source (Dutch):

Videos / Movies / Documentaries:

Parkinson’s Patient cycling

Language aphasia due to stroke

Koko the Gorilla

Fastest talking man

Researchers mentioned:

Aldo Faisal – Twitter: @AnalogAldo
Simon Fischer – Twitter: @ProfSimonFisher

Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #6 – Pieter Medendorp – Sensory Integration and Transformation in the brain

Our guest today is Prof. Pieter Medendorp. Pieter is the head of the sensorimotor lab at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, where he is also the chair of Sensorimotor Neuroscience and the director of the Donders Centre for Cognition.

Pieter’s research interests focus on the relationship between brain and behavior, and in particular the neuro-computational coupling between perception and action.

For his work, he has received the 

  • Career Development Award from the Human Frontier Science Program
  • and Radboud Science Award

He was also awarded the

  • Dutch Vidi and Vici grants
  • as well as the European ERC consolidator grant

He is currently

  • board member of the Neural Control of Movement society
  • member of The Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives.
  • member of the editorial board of the Journal of Neurophysiology and serves as a review editor of the Journal of Neuroscience

In this conversation we talk about the science of sensory integration and transformation. Specifically, how these very fundamental processes impact us on a daily basis without us even realizing it. We discuss how our senses can fool us and how that experience can be fun. We also make links to industry and how forms of therapy and diagnosis can improve using these principles.

Show Notes

Reach out to Pieter Medendorp at:


Twitter: @pmedendorp

Books / Articles:

Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

Kandel, Schwartz, Jessel – Principles of Neural Science

Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #5 – Alan Sanfey – How we make decisions and the science of it

Our guest today is Prof. Alan Sanfey. Alan is a Principal Investigator at the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behavior.

Previously he has held positions as Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona, and as a postdoctoral research fellow at Princeton University. 

He currently heads the Decision Neuroscience group at the Donders Institute, and his research uses a novel approach to the study of both individual and interactive decision-making by combining the methods of behavioral experiments, functional neuroimaging, and formal economic models. 

A further goal of his group is to use the knowledge gleaned from these studies to inform public policy debates.

In this conversation we talk about the science of decision making and how it could be used in industry. We discuss various aspects of decision making theory and how industry has tried to incorporate them and where things sometimes go wrong.

Show Notes

Reach out to Alan Sanfey at:


Email: [email protected]

Society for Neuroeconomics:


Dan Ariely – TED Talk – Are we in control of our decisions? 

Frans de Waal – TED Talk excerpt – Monkey fairness experiment

Books / Articles:

Trust Game

Berg, J., Dickhaut, J., & McCabe, K. (1995). Trust, reciprocity, and social history. Games and economic behavior10(1), 122-142.

Ultimatum Game

Güth, W., Schmittberger, R., & Schwarze, B. (1982). An experimental analysis of ultimatum bargaining. Journal of economic behavior & organization3(4), 367-388.

Paul Glimcher, Ernst Fehr – Neuroeconomics

Daniel Kahneman – Thinking fast and slow

Robert Cialdini – Influence

Rober Cialdini – Pre-suasion

Dan Ariely – Predictably irrational

Richard Thaler, Cass Sunstein – Nudge

Blog Podcast Tips

Podcast #4 – Ian Cameron – Problems of the academic system

Our guest today is Dr. Ian Cameron. Ian works at the exciting interface between academia, entrepreneurship, industry and society. He is driven towards the societal applications from neuroscience and psychological research, and brings management and entrepreneurial practices to academia.

He holds an MBA, where he wrote his management thesis about the alignment of culture, structure and strategy to achieve societal impact from research.

Before getting his MBA, he earned his PhD from Queen’s University, in Canada and did a postdoc at UC Berkeley. Both involved human neuroimaging and behavioural studies. 

Specifically, Ian specializes in cognition and sensory-motor control in movement disorders, making use of functional Magnetic Resonance imaging (fMRI), functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and eye tracking techniques. 

As a researcher, he is interested in big-picture questions that connect neuroscience discoveries to clinical and societal applications. 

In this conversation we talk about the academic experience. We discuss various aspects, going from the ‘standard’ career path, to the transfer of knowledge into society, and all the way to the relationship of academia and industry. We try to discuss problems within the system and how business practices could potentially offer a fix.

Show Notes

Reach out to Ian Cameron at:

Twitter: @ian_gm_cameron


Books / Articles:

Eric Reiss – The lean startup

Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg – How Google Works

Cameron & Quinn – The competing values framework