Sie sind hier:

Systemic Neurosciences

Profile of the research cluster

The research cluster Systemic Neurosciences explores information stage-specific steps of information processing within and between different neural systems in health and disorders. We specifically look at the systems of stress- and emotion regulation, remuneration sensitivity and -anticipation as well as attention and action regulation in its cooperation. The aim of this cluster is to further develop foundational theoretical models as well as to identify maladaptive regulation processes and dysfunctional network functions in relation to different psychological- and neurological clinical pictures. We also aim to modify these clinical pictures through neuropsychological and medical therapeutic approaches.

We specifically address:

  • Standard experimental psychological paradigms (e.g. priming-, cueing- and conflict paradigms, delay discounting task, attentional bias)
  • Measurement of brain resting-state and psychosocial lab stressors (e.g. Trier social stress test)
  • High-resolution Electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)
  • Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS) or noise current (tRCS) stimulation B
  • The derivation of different peripherphysiological parameters such as hear rate (HR), electrodermal activity (EDA) or electromyography (EMG)
  • The recording of visual movement and pupil width (pupillometry)
  • magnetic resonance tomography (MRT)
  • analysis of endocrine levels (e.g. steroid measures in hair, saliva, blood), genetic polymorphism and epigenetic modifications (e.g. DNA methylation profile)

Fields of research in the research cluster Systemic Neurosciences

Cognitive-affective functionality

In this research stream, the following disciplines are involved:

  • General Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Neurosciences and
  • Gerontopsychology

Focus of this research stream are perception processes, attention- and emotion regulation and action guidance. One core focus is the characterisation of specific mechanisms that arrange and organize the input and internal representation of information from the external environment for goal-oriented coherent behavior. Of particular relevance is the characterization of mental object presentations that helps identify external stimuli and the adjustment of these representations in new experiences: how is it deemed possible that we are capable to recognize people and their faces despite short-term or long-term adaptations?

Translational Research

In this research stream, the following disciplines are involved

  • Neurosciences
  • General Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Differential Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Biostatistics
  • General Psychiatry
  • Child- and adolescent Psychiatry
  • Gerontopsychiatry
  • Psychosomatics
  • Neurology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Psychoneuroendocrinology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Medical technology

In terms of a translational research approach, the core aim of this stream is the transfer of experimental foundational research to the medical-clinical research. Methods and findings, as described in the field of cognitive-affective functionality are applied in the examination of pre-clinical and clinical samples. The objective is to identify intermediate endogenic processes in the pathogenesis of complex disorders and in the development of personalized therapy approaches.

This mixed-method research approach and the heterogeneity in the recruitment processes requires a combination of specific expertise and resources to work in a multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, physicians, statisticians, medical technicians and physicists. We aim to establish valuable synergistic effects in relation to concept development of scientific research questions, experimental guidance and evaluation, diagnostics, therapy and therapeutic control, quality assurance and -maintenance as well as in the evaluation of neuro-radiological findings of MRT-images outside of the clinical sector.

Combining the different methods and merging the specific expertise promotes a multi-dimensional classification of psychological and neurological disorders and lays the foundation for the identification of potential clinical subtypes.

Plasticity of cognitive-affective functions

In this research stream, the following disciplines are involved

  • Neurosciences
  • General Psychology
  • Biological Psychology
  • Differential Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Biostatistics
  • General Psychiatry
  • Child- and adolescent Psychiatry
  • Gerontopsychiatry
  • Gerontopsychology
  • Psychosomatics
  • Neurology
  • Neuroradiology
  • Psychoneuroendocrinology
  • Psychopharmacology
  • Medical technology

Scientific research questions of this stream address the functional restitutions after previously acquired brain damage and performance optimization through cognitive training and/or through targeted brain stimulation based on pharmacological or electrophysiological interventions.

Fields of application include the promotion or maintenance of cognitive performances across the life-span. This commences in early childhood, moves across to adolescence and passes towards late adulthood. Specific training programs in the clinical field include the targeted attention on action-based stimuli or the attention aversion of potential threatening disorder-specific stimuli in anxiety disorders or substance consumer disorders. We also train cognitive flexibility as an antipode to rigid habitual behavior in anxiety- and depressive disorders.

Further areas of research include the targeted training of inhibitory functions in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders (ADHS), the anti-social personality disorders or bipolar disorders. The training of the processing and interpretation of social stimuli, such as the area of cognitive-affective functionality face recognition and –processing, demonstrates the relevance in the field of social phobia and autism-spectrum disorders. As an example, in the context of neurological disorders, it was possible to aid in the acceleration of neuronal plasticity in the damaged brain area, through a targeted inhibition of the contralesionar region of the cortex through electromagnetic methods (rTMS) after strokes. This led to an acceleration of the neuronal plasticity in the damaged brain region.

Current projects in the research cluster Systemic Neurosciences

Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
  • German