Sylco Hoppenbrouwers


Phone: +31 (0) 20 598 6872
Room: 1B-81


I am working on the ERC-project ‘What you get is what you see: How reward determines perception’ with professor Jan Theeuwes.


I did my undergraduate and graduate education at Utrecht University. After studying Philosophy for two years I switched to Psychology, graduating as a neuropsychologist 4 years later. Hereafter I did a 6 month internship at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, Canada. In 2008 I started my PhD, mainly studying aggression and psychopathy. To this end, I used transcranial magnetic stimulation and electroencephalography and collaborated on a diffusion tensor imaging study. During my PhD I again spent a year at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in the lab of Professor Jeff Daskalakis. After obtaining my PhD in 2012, I worked in high security forensic psychiatric centre ‘Oldenkotte’. Here I continued my research but also did clinical interviews, risk assessments, group therapy and was part of the Leave Review Committee. Together with Prof Jan Theeuwes we set up a series of experiments to index attentional processes in relation to psychopathy. In 2013 I started my postdoc in his lab, looking at automatic effects of reward on attention. I conduct this research in healthy individuals and in neurological (i.e., patients with Parkinson’s disease) and psychiatric (i.e., psychopathic offenders) populations.

Research interest

My research interests concern the lack of control over behavior that certain individuals display. Whether this is motivated by a lack of threat responsivity leading to excessive risk-taking, or automatic effects of reward on attentional deployment yielding stronger reward-driven behaviors, - some fail to adequately modulate behavior or have difficulty learning from the consequences of it. I find this intriguing. In my current research I study such processes in a variety of people. For instance, I study basic attention in psychopathic offenders and implicit emotional processing in sexual offenders. I also employ brain stimulation methods (deep brain stimulation, vagal nerve stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation) to manipulate the brain and measure interactions between reward and exogenous attention. On two projects in patients with Parkinson’s disease and impulse control disorders, I collaborate to translate fundamental research on reward to such patient populations, hoping to ultimately contribute to better treatment for disinhibited individuals.


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Recent publications

J Munneke, S Hoppenbrouwers, B Little, K Kooiman, E van der Burg & ... (2018) Comparing the response modulation hypothesis and the integrated emotions system theory: The role of top-down attention in psychopathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 134-139
SS Hoppenbrouwers, J Munneke, KA Kooiman, B Little, CS Neumann & ... (2017) Fearful faces do not lead to faster attentional deployment in individuals with elevated psychopathic traits. Journal of psychopathology and behavioral assessment 39 (4), 596-604
J Slotboom, SS Hoppenbrouwers, YHA Bouman, W In't Hout, C Sergiou & ... (2017) Visual attention in violent offenders: Susceptibility to distraction. Psychiatry research 251, 281-286
IA Brazil, CD Mathys, A Popma, SS Hoppenbrouwers & MD Cohn (2017) Representational Uncertainty in the Brain During Threat Conditioning and the Link With Psychopathic Traits. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging2
T Knapen, JW de Gee, J Brascamp, S Nuiten, S Hoppenbrouwers & ... (2016) Cognitive and ocular factors jointly determine pupil responses under equiluminance. PloS one 11 (5), e015557413
SS Hoppenbrouwers, BH Bulten & IA Brazil (2016) Parsing Fear: A Reassessment of the Evidence for Fear Deficits in Psychopathy.. Psychological Bulletin18
SS Hoppenbrouwers, S Van der Stigchel, CS Sergiou & J Theeuwes (2016) Top-Down Attention and Selection History in Psychopathy: Evidence From a Community Sample.. Journal of Abnormal Psychology6
CW Oomens, W den Bode & SS Hoppenbrouwers (2016) Hoe je een vos zijn streken afleert: risico-gestuurde behandeling van delinquenten. PsyXpert
J Munneke, SS Hoppenbrouwers & J Theeuwes (2015) Reward can modulate attentional capture, independent of top-down set.. Attention, Perception & Psychophysics19
S Hoppenbrouwers, C Neumann, J Lewis & P Johansson (2015) A Latent Variable Analysis of the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised and Behavioral Inhibition System/Behavioral Activation System Factors in North American and Swe.... Personality Disorders: Theory Research and Treatment8
SS Hoppenbrouwers (2015) Psychopathie is stoornis, geen keuze. Trouw
S Hoppenbrouwers, S van der Stigchel, J Slotboom, D Edwin & ... (2015) Disentangling attentional deficits in psychopathy using visual search: Failures in the use of contextual information. Personality and Individual Differences 86, 132-13814
DR de Jesus, GP de Souza Favalli, SS Hoppenbrouwers, MS Barr & ... (2014) Determining optimal rTMS parameters through changes in cortical inhibition. Clinical Neurophysiology 125 (4), 755-76229
HE van Stralen, MJE van Zandvoort, SS Hoppenbrouwers, LMG Vissers & ... (2014) Affective touch modulates the rubber hand illusion. Cognition 131 (1), 147-15830
SS Hoppenbrouwers, DR De Jesus, Y Sun, T Stirpe, D Hofman & ... (2014) Abnormal interhemispheric connectivity in male psychopathic offenders. Journal of psychiatry & neuroscience: JPN 39 (1), 2220
F Farzan, MS Barr, SS Hoppenbrouwers, PB Fitzgerald, R Chen & ... (2013) The EEG correlates of the TMS-induced EMG silent period in humans. Neuroimage 83, 120-13447
SS Hoppenbrouwers, A Nazeri, DR de Jesus, T Stirpe, D Felsky & ... (2013) White matter deficits in psychopathic offenders and correlation with factor structure. PLoS One 8 (8), e7237527
SS Hoppenbrouwers, DR De Jesus, T Stirpe, PB Fitzgerald & ... (2013) Inhibitory deficits in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in psychopathic offenders. Cortex 49 (5), 1377-138536
SS Hoppenbrouwers (2012) In the Eye of the Storm: Connectivity studies on antisocial behavior and psychopathy.
MA Richter, DR De Jesus, S Hoppenbrouwers, M Daigle, J Deluce & ... (2012) Evidence for cortical inhibitory and excitatory dysfunction in obsessive compulsive disorder. Neuropsychopharmacology 37 (5), 1144-115157

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