Samantha Brooks

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University, UK

Samantha Brooks

Senior Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at Liverpool John Moores University, UK
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Dr. Samantha Brooks is a Chartered member of the British Psychological Society, her research specialises in the neural mechanisms of impulse control in various psychiatric conditions (e.g. addiction, eating disorders).

Dr Brooks is currently a Lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience at the School of Natural Sciences and Psychology, Liverpool John Moores University, UK. Previously, Dr Brooks worked as a lecturer for six years in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cape Town, South Africa. Before working in South Africa, she completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Uppsala University, Sweden, where Dr Brooks continues to collaborate on projects examining the brain processes underlying eating disorders. She gained her Ph.D. at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London, where she learned clinical neuroimaging techniques, such as structural and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging.

Dr Brooks has published book chapters and over 70 papers to date in high impact journals, and continues to present at international conferences. Her work on impulse control in eating disorders and addiction has so far attracted over 1 million Euros in international funding and collaborations with experts in the United Kingdom, Sweden, Italy, South Africa and United States.


App-based working memory training: neural correlates of improved impulse control in health and psychiatric disorder

The rising trend of internationally competitive neuroscientific research into cognitive control of impulsivity reflects the importance of examining the neural mechanisms of impulse control and how to improve it. The rising trend might be due to impulse control deficits contributing substantially to the increase in serious mental and physical disorders that may be associated with technological advances and increasing consumer choice. Impulse control aids decision making and is fostered by prefrontal cortex executive functions such as working memory (WM) interacting with limbic processes in the brain. Such an interaction is referred to in a growing body of publications by terms like cognitive control, cognitive inhibition, affect regulation, self-regulation, top-down control, and cognitive–emotion interaction.

Against this background, I describe the novel international research approaches I have taken with my collaborators to garner neuroscientific evidence for the design of a simple smartphone based app to improve cognitive control. My colleagues and I have published over 70 research articles and 4 book chapters, and most recently applied the Curb Your Addiction (C-Ya) App to change brain structure and function in line with improved impulse control in people with substance use disorder.

To end, I will discuss ideas about taking the C-Ya App – and the neuroscientific research – forward to help a broader range of people with impulse control disorders.