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Durston, Sarah

Durston, Sarah


Sarah Durston, born in Chicago, USA, in 1974. Ph.D. from Utrecht University. Professor of Developmental Disorders of the Brain at University Medical Centre Utrecht.

Golestan Fellow (1 Sept 2016 – 31 June 2017)

The elephant in the room: the role of consciousness in psychiatry research

Research Question

Despite significant progress in our understanding of biological mechanisms in psychiatry, it remains unknown HOW changes in the brain lead to the emergence of psychiatric symptoms. This is due to the mind-body problem, where emergent phenomena, such as consciousness, are more than the sum of the parts of the underlying system (the brain).

Project Description

The study of consciousness provides methods that may complement the neuroscience methods used in psychiatry for addressing how symptoms emerge. Specifically, the use of philosophical theory and method, such as phenomenology, may prove useful. Phenomenology explores the experiential aspect of experience. I propose to study the philosophical methods used in consciousness research and to combine them with neuroscience methods used in psychiatry to address how it is that psychiatric symptoms emerge.

Selected Publications

Van Hulst B, de Zeeuw P, Durston S: Distinct neuropsychological profiles within ADHD: A latent class analysis of cognitive control, reward sensitivity and timing. Psychol med, 2015;45:735-745

Wierenga LM, Oranje B, Langen M, Durston S: The developmental trajectories of cortical thickness and surface area are independent. Neuroimage 2014;87:120-126.

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