I started to study experimental psychology at the University of Liege (Belgium). I was interested in understanding the complexity of psychopathology in light of the Cognitive Sciences. I obtained my masters degree in Cognitive Psychology in 2006 and immediately started to work as a PhD-student in the Cognitive Psychopathology Unit at the University of Liege, under the supervision of Martial Van der Linden.
Martial Van der Linden intensively worked on cognitive psychopathology and defends the idea that psychopathological symptoms are not just aberrations generated by the brain but may reflect dysfunctions in the mechanisms allowing the “normal” psychological and behavioral functioning. Based on that assumption, our research focuses on the (neuro)cognitive processes potentially implicated in the development and/or the maintaining of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
More specifically, we conceptualized repeated checking symptoms as a “looking for goal completion” phenomenon. Based on the intensive works conducted by the goallab, we investigated the links between cognitive processes implicated in goal pursuit and the tendency for some people to check their everyday actions. Our research suggests that people with checking proneness may be characterized by an impaired action representation on the one hand and may have an undermined feeling of self-agency on the other hand. In parallel, works conducted by Anouk Van der Weiden, Henk Aarts and Kirsten Ruys suggest that the experience of self-agency depends on how actions and related outcomes are represented.
Since August 2010 then, we started to work with the goallab in order to improve our understanding of how disrupted mechanisms implicated in non-conscious goal pursuits may impair the feeling of self-agency, which could in turn trigger the need in some people to check or repeat previous actions.
Sanaâ Belayachi, PhD student
Department of Cognitive Sciences
Cognitive Psychopathology Unit
Boulevard du Rectorat, B33
4000 Liege – Belgium
Tel. : +32 (0)4 366 59 79
Fax. : +32 (0)4 366 28 08