Community Spotlight : Interview of Vincent Wagner, researcher and clinical psychologist

Image: Vincent Wagner - Canada

What do you think about meeting "IRL" members of the MyScienceWork community and discover how Vincent Wagner is becoming a Clinical Psychologist Expert in Psychoactive Addiction? By interposed screens? No! In face-to-face, he shares a rhythmic journey of encounters, personal choices and his research topic as sharp as exciting that touches everybody in one way or another. Cherry on the cake? Its strong positioning on one of the strongest value ​​of MyScienceWork: open access.

Feel free to connect with Vincent Wagner and discover his work here!

(Find the newsletter this is written for here.)

Sarah Amrani: Hello Vincent, can you introduce yourself in a few words, please?

Vincent Wagner: I am a young researcher and clinical psychologist. These two expertises are important in my field! I obtained my title of psychologist and I am currently in the final year of my PhD in Psychology, affiliated with the Laboratory of Psychology of the Pays de la Loire and the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Nantes. This is the end of some projects and the beginning of many others.
I’m specialized in addictions and my research focuses specifically on addictive behaviors associated with psychoactive substances such as alcohol, cannabis or even tobacco. I combine both: the psychologist's clinical side and the research activities.

SA: What is your background? What led you to do this PhD?

VW: It's quite special, we have to go back a long time ago! I had a scientific secondary course, while remaining a jack-of-all-trades, human sciences, languages, etc. I enjoyed studying mathematics, but I lacked the concrete, a much more significant substrate. Moreover, having grown up in French Guyana, I had to deal with the options that were offered to me on the spot in terms of higher education.

In these conditions, I decided to embark on a first year of medicine in Cayenne, where I quickly ran into the demands and rigidity of the program: we have to know by heart a huge amount of elements with the only goals of validate the final contest. It went against my approach, my way of working, I did not take pleasure in what I learned.

However, I discovered medical psychology, thanks to a professional who shared with us the problems he encountered on a daily basis in a hospital setting. Finally tangible!

Thus, while returning to France the following year, I went to a degree in Psychology. A career in research did not particularly appeal to me at that moment. Later, in the third year, at a conference on behavioral addictions, I met future colleagues and I discovered the field of research on issues related to video games .

Eventually and without premeditation, my career destined me to become a researcher. Indeed, while I was officially pursuing the project of becoming, "only", a clinical psychologist, I was still pushing back my commitment to research. Until the end of the first year of my Master degree (Master 1), when I could not enter the second year in a Professional section (in first instance), that I met my current research director.

SA: Is there a turning point in your career?

VW: There is more than one actually! As mentioned just before, the first one was when I first met with my research director. This was during my Master thesis defense. So, as an outside member of the jury, he was the one who most strongly called my research into questions. But this was actually our first exchange around a theme that interested us both.

Another highlight was my stay in Montreal in the fall of 2014, at the end of my Master's degree. I discovered a radically different know-how and know-be, a certain humanism, even in professional relationships. In any case, which suited me more.

Indeed, at that time, I was not yet a graduate, nor recognized as a "young" researcher, which was not easy to live. This experience gave me greater self-confidence and motivation to continue by investing in a PhD. And at the same time, it is after this experience that I finalized my first publication, a great professional and personal satisfaction!

Overall, I believe that it is above all a journey made of meetings and opportunities that had to be seized at the right time! The challenge remains, and has always been, to succeed in a professional integration in which I am able to fully recognize myself.

SA: Any recommendations for a scientific event?

VW: The last major conference I attended was the "Lisbon Addictions: Second European Conference on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies", whose next session will take place in October 2019. This event is organized by the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), a leading European body on addictive behavior. It brought together more than 1,200 participants from around 50 countries, giving it, despite its name, a real international dimension. During this event, speakers and experts in the field take stock of the state of research in Europe and elsewhere, thanks to the presence of American, Asian, African or Oceania researchers. On this occasion, I was able to present a part of my work, a chapter of my thesis:

Outpatient management of alcohol use disorders: What differentiates patients who leave premature follow-up with others?

Vincent Wagner - Lisbone - Addictions

The management of addictive issues, particularly those related to alcohol consumption, remains fundamental. However, a significant number of patients coming in care do not persist in the latter. The purpose of this study was to highlight some of the characteristics of this particular subpopulation of patients.


SA: What scientific personalities do you follow and why?

  • Jean-Pierre Couteron: Clinical psychologist and PhD in Psychology, he practices in a Center of Care, Accompaniment and Prevention in Addiction and is the President of the Federation Addiction. He is one of the leading French specialists in addictive behavior. I particularly appreciate his positioning as relevant to the conceptualization of these issues and how they should be managed on a daily basis. His thinking seems particularly stimulating for professionals, but also the general public.
  • Joël Billieux : Professor in clinical psychology, he publishes a lot of papers about behavioral addictions, especially in relation to new technologies: video games, Internet, social networks, smartphones, etc. He is a reference in this area, which I regularly follow in congresses and conferences.
  • Daniel Kardefelt Winther: He is currently a coordinating researcher at UNICEF. Recently, a new classification of diseases has been proposed by the WHO, which includes the idea of ​​a disorder of the use of video games. This issue is still widely debated in the scientific community and in the field. He has an approach that I find very relevant, even essential, by constantly asking questions such as: Do we have sufficient evidence to determine that this is a disease? Is not this approach too fast? What could be the consequences?


SA: What is the interest to be present in the MyScienceWork community?

VW: I am mainly in this network to follow and consult the research of my peers, the evolution of their work, or more broadly, work on my field of study. Professional networks allow me to create and maintain exchanges of interests, through the sharing of my work, my communications.

Another major objective is to gain visibility on Internet. At the beginning of a career, as a young researcher, it is essential to be seen and recognized by your peers, whether they are more or less experienced researchers, and even my own students. I do not want to work alone, by myself. This is in any case irrelevant when one considers the functioning of current research in France and elsewhere.

Finally, the issue of quotation is not for the moment a priority. When one of my first articles was quoted by a team of researchers completely foreign to my network, I was still very proud! I think this highlights the value of our work and that a network can be built. Nevertheless, the notion of quotation is necessarily dependent on the access that other (researchers) can have to my works. In this respect, as soon as I can, I make sure to disseminate and share my work, while respecting the legal constraints.


SA: Speaking of “sharing”, what is your position on the theme of the month: open access?

VW: I find it absurd that we can make people pay for access to knowledge and scientific knowledge. This question is so important to me that I interact regularly with my students on this subject. Scientific research should be accessible to all, researchers and non-researchers.

I still continue to wonder about this logic, the excessive cost of access and subscriptions that must be obtained to obtain an article. What is the real cost today? In the digital age, what are the publishing costs? What is the added value brought by journals to the work of researchers, especially when most of the proofreading steps, which are essential aspects of the publication process, are done voluntarily by other researchers?

I the past, the creation and publication of work in these journals made sense. Communication of this knowledge was not easy, and such a media had a major impact on the dissemination and acceleration of scientific work. Unfortunately, this business became a financial boon, to the point where some monopolies appeared and gradually made access to scientific information increasingly difficult. At the same time, as the publication of work is increasingly a career issue for researchers (recruitment, advancement, funding, etc.), they can not do without these journals either. Thus, where this originally met a need, certainly a legitimate cost, the publication of scientific articles in specialized journals is today a business (for publishing houses) whose researchers have become the victims more than the beneficiaries ...

About me, I have already mentioned it, I share my works as soon as I have the opportunity. I have already scheduled the online publication of my open access publications once the embargo period is over. This is and will remain one of the first tips that I will give to my students: if you can, broadcast your work through a true open access platform!


SA: Do you want to tell us a little bit more about your papers available on MyScienceWork ?

VW: Five publications are currently available. As these are the first, and they are relatively recent, I can not (yet) broadcast the content openly. But to give you a quick overview, in order of publication:

Vincent Wagner - Publication CSAM


  • Factor Structure Evaluation of the French Version of the Digital Natives Assessment Scale
  • This study is part of a research project on the uses and risks associated with digital technology. The challenge was to adapt a new tool in French to assess, to distinguish, digital natives. These are, it says simply, individuals with a specific link to new technologies, reflecting their influence on the relationship of individuals to oneself, to others and to the world.

  • Evaluation of digital natives’ psychological characteristics: This study is part of the same project as the previous one. Using the previously adapted and partially validated scale, we attempt to study the specific characteristics of digital natives. Until recently, digital natives had to distinguish themselves from others by their younger age. Another aspect of the literature was that they had a common set of characteristics (eg, a link and significant experience with new technologies, easy multitasking, better understanding and better learning of content). incorporating non-textual components, and a particular sensitivity to immediate rewards and rewards). The purpose of the study was then to compare digital natives to numerical "novices" in terms of certain psychological characteristics: impulsivity, social self-esteem, well-being, commitment to digital activities, etc.

  • Study of dropouts from addiction-specialized treatment centers: This article deals with a study carried out in a specialized addiction care center. The latter responds to a real clinical question from the care teams. A significant proportion of patients tended to leave the care on their own. At the same time, the establishment had to terminate the care contract of another part of them when they did not respect the framework of care. The objective of this research was then to look for the specific characteristics of each of these groups.

  • Time perspective and alcohol use indicators in France and the United Kingdom: Results across adolescents, university students, and treatment outpatients: This study is the result of international collaboration. The central concept here was to study the link between temporality, ie the relationship an individual has with his past, present and future, and the way in which he will influence his actions and driving ahead, and alcohol consumption. Moreover, we sought to compare the specificities of these links according to the samples considered (adolescents, students, patients). The results suggest differences that are relevant to consider.

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