Newsletter Article

Addictive Behaviors

Understanding the psychological and biological basis of behavioral control is a major challenge not only for the field of psychology, but also for society in general. Addictive behavior is an example of how behavioral control goes awry. A cross-disciplinary group of UW Psychology faculty are currently investigating the neural-and experience-dependent behavioral mechanisms that could generate addictive behavior, as well as the clinical manifestation and evidence-based treatment for affected individuals. Since it appears that mechanisms underlying addictive behaviors reflect alterations of natural brain mechanisms for the coding of reward, it is clear that progress in our understanding of addictive behaviors will impact our understanding of non-addictive behaviors as well. Dr. G. Alan Marlatt is one of our leading researchers in this very important field, and he was featured as one of this year’s Edwards Lectures (pg. 10).