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Nicole Prause    

American Neuroscientist Researching Human Sexual Behaviour and Addiction

Nicole Prause, Ph.D is an American neuroscientist researching human sexual behaviour, addiction, and the physiology of sexual response. She is also the founder of Liberos LLC, an independent research institute.

Prause was lead author on a study that was the first to apply brain stimulation (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation, TMS) to alter sexual responsiveness, using a high frequency form known as Theta Burst Stimulation (TBS). The same study also was the first in the USA to use primary sexual rewards in the laboratory, adopting from a history of this approach in European laboratories, to overcome the problem of sex films used as secondary reinforcers in previous research. This is thought to raise new possibilities for intervention for those with high or low sex drive, which could be altered semi-permanently by repeated TBS.

Prause co-authored a high-profile study into the neurophysiology of pornography addiction, published in 2013, which concluded that hypersexuality might be better understood as a "non-pathological variation of high sexual desire," rather than an addiction. This first functional neuroscience study of the topic was replicated in 2015 with a study that remains the largest neuroscience study to date on the topic.

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