Intrusive Thinking

From Strüngmann Forum Reports

Intrusive Thinking

From Molecules to Free Will

Edited by Peter W. Kalivas and Martin P. Paulus

An exploration of the neurological and behavioral mechanisms and processes involved in intrusive thinking.





An exploration of the neurological and behavioral mechanisms and processes involved in intrusive thinking.

On any given day, unintended, recurrent thoughts intrude on our thinking and affect our behavior in ways that can be adaptive. Such thoughts, however, become intrusive and problematic when they are unwanted, become compulsive, or lead to socially or medically unacceptable behavior. This volume explores what goes on in our brains to create thought intrusions, and how these intrusions lead to maladaptive behavior.

Intrusive thoughts feature prominently in most psychiatric disorders, so understanding the neurological and behavioral processes underlying them is an urgent endeavor. To investigate these issues, contributors from a range of disciplines—including neuroscience, psychiatry, psychology, and pharmacology—consider the mechanisms involved in intrusive thoughts under normal and abnormal conditions. They analyze how decision making becomes corrupted to create uncontrollable intrusions, explore the implications for concepts of free will and individual responsibility, and suggest avenues for future research.


Michael C. Anderson, Adam Aron, David Badre, Bernard W. T.Balleine, Marie Banich, Anya K. Bershad, Antonello Bonci, Michael B. Bonsall, Katheen T. Brady, Judson Brewer, Michael R. Bruchas, David M. Buss, Aurelio Cortese, Hugo D. Critchley, Damiaan Denys, Harriet de Wit, Lisa Espinosa, John R. Fedota, Shelly B. Flagel, Aikaterina Fotopoulou, Sophia Frangou, Karl Friston, Rita Z. Goldstein, Shannon L. Gourley, Suzanne N. Haber, Colleen A. Hanlon, Andreas Heinz, Emily A. Holmes, Quentin J. M, Huys, Peter W. Kalivas, Laura Kress, Hakwan Lau, Kayuet Liu, Tiago V. Maia, Lisa M. McTeague, Amy L. Milton, Marie Hélène Monfils, Martin P. Paulus, Paul E. M. Phillips, Marina R. Picciotto, Trevor W. Robbins, Angels C. Roberts, Daniela Schiller, Daniela, Florian Schlagenhauf, Jonathan W. Schooler, Jens V. Schwarzbach, Jeremy K. Seamans, Laura Singh, Eliot A. Stein, Peter Tse, Renée M. Visser, Martin Voss


$45.00 X ISBN: 9780262542371 474 pp. | 6 in x 9 in 20 color illus., 5 b&w illus., 15 halftones


Peter W. Kalivas

Peter W. Kalivas is Professor of Neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

Martin P. Paulus

Martin P. Paulus is Scientific Director and President of the Laureate Institute for Brain Research and Adjunct Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego.


  • This wonderful book provides a comprehensive consideration of the very human experience of intrusive thinking. How such thoughts arise and their influence on behavior is covered by carefully crafted chapters from world-leading scientists. From cells to circuits, psychology to therapeutics, this is the definitive book on intrusive thinking.

    Paul J. Kenny

    Ward-Coleman Professor and Chair, Nash Family Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York

  • Kalivas and Paulus have brought together a group of basic and clinical neuroscientists in order to synthesize the current knowledge and suggest future directions for a terribly understudied area: intrusive thoughts. This clinical phenomenon, though cutting across many diagnoses, is not a singular entity but quite heterogeneous. By bringing together the leading investigators in the field, they admirably summarize the state of the art, and presage future research directions.

    Charles B. Nemeroff

    Matthew P. Nemeroff Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the University of Texas at Austin

  • This lucidly written volume has contributions from some of the finest minds in neuroscience. Intrusive thoughts are salient in several psychiatric disorders and the book engagingly covers aspects ranging from pathophysiology to intervention. A tour de force!

    Maria A. Oquendo

    Ruth Meltzer Professor and Chairman of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

  • This highly original collection of articles by authoritative neuroscientists from multiple disciplines provides an extraordinary account of intrusive thoughts and, their impact on behavior and experience, as well as the underlying and varied neural mechanisms. The implications for psychiatric disorders and the potential interventions and treatments are thoughtfully considered. Kalivas and Paulus are to be congratulated in bringing this volume to fruition.

    Barry J. Everitt

    Emeritus Professor of Behavioural Neuroscience and Director of Research, University of Cambridge, UK