MATLAB BiopsyToolbox















Biopsychology Research Colloquium

Schedule SS 2019



Teilnehmer gesucht

Kernspinstudie zu Allgemeinwissen, Intelligenz und Persönlichkeit. Interessenten (ab 35 Jahren) können sich telefonisch (0234/32 21775) oder per eMail ( für die Studie anmelden. mehr


Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Psychologie
AE Biopsychologie
IB 6-121 - Postfach 18
D-44780 Bochum

Phone: +49 234 - 32 28213
Fax: +49 234 - 32 14377


News & Views

The neurophysiological correlates of handedness

The neurophysiological correlates of handedness
Among functional hemispheric asymmetries in humans, handedness is by far the most investigated. However, the underlying neural correlates remain unclear. Previous research has mainly focused on functional imaging methods and suggests differences in ipsilateral activation during unilateral hand movements between left- and right-handers. As EEG allows for a higher temporal resolution, researchers from the Biopsychology lab adapted the classical Tapley and Bryden task for use during EEG and tested this paradigm in 36 left- and 36 right-handers. Subjects had to click as fast and accurate as possible on eight squares distributed around a fixation cross in a given sequence with varying complexity. The lateralized readiness potential (LRP) is an event related potential component related to asymmetric motor preparation. Increasing complexity of sequences was associated with earlier and less negative LRP peaks. For the last response within a sequence, right-handers had more negative LRP peak amplitudes than left-handers. The effect of handedness on LRP peak amplitude in the first response was modulated by task complexity with a more negative LRP peak amplitude in right-handers than left-handers in simple, but not in medium or complex trials. This effect might be due to more symmetrical processing in right-handers with increasing task complexity, which complements findings from previous imaging studies.

Schmitz J, Packheiser J, Birnkraut T, Hinz NA, Friedrich P, Güntürkün O, Ocklenburg S. The neurophysiological correlates of handedness: Insights from the lateralized readiness potential. Behavioural Brain Research. 2019 364: 114-122.


News & Views

In vivo estimation of neurite density confirms microstructural asymmetries in gray matter

Post mortem studies have found hemispheric asymmetries in microstructure in several areas of the human brain. However, until recently it was impossible to assess microstructural asymmetries in vivo. In cooperation with the Department of Neurosurgery from Unviersity of New Mexico, a group of researchers from the Biopsychology lab used neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging (NODDI) to examine microstructural asymmetries in more than 500 participants to determine if findings are in accordance with what has been reported in post mortem studies. Greater left- than right-hemispheric estimated neurite density was found in early auditory, inferior parietal and temporal-parietal-occipital areas. In contrast, greater right-hemispheric neurite density was found in the fusiform and inferior temporal gyrus, reflecting what has been reported in post mortem studies. Microstructural asymmetries were mostly independent from participants’ sex or handedness. These findings suggest substantial microstructural asymmetries in gray matter, making NODDI a promising marker for future genetic and behavioral studies on laterality.

Schmitz J, Fraenz C, Schlüter C, Friedrich P, Jung RE, Güntürkün O, Genç E & Ocklenburg S. Hemispheric asymmetries in cortical gray matter microstructure identified by neurite orientation dispersion and density imaging. NeuroImage. 2019 189: 667-675.

News & Views

Farewell Patrick Friedrich

For many years, Patrick was an indispensable members of the Biopsychology lab.

Hard to believe, but now he left the biopsy lab at the end of February 2019 to become a post-doc in France.

During his time in the biopsychology lab he made great discoveries, investigating structure-function relationships in the corpus callosum with the EEG Poffenberger task, using NODDI to understand the role of neurites for brain function and developing the (almost) famous triadic model.

A lover of coffee (he drank several thousand cups during his time in the lab), chess and cats, Patrick was also a big part of the social life in the lab.
While all of us will miss Patrick a lot, we wish him all the best for his future scientific path in France! We are sure he will discover great things!
Patrick, the future is yours!


News & Views

Embracing your emotions: affective state impacts lateralisation of human embraces

huggingDid you ever wonder why people sometimes hug you from the left side and sometimes from the right? No? Well, you should, because you can infer whether the hug was emotional depending on its laterality. Biopsychologists from Bochum conducted two experiments, one in the laboratory and one in the field, to test (1) if hugs are lateralized on the population level and (2) if the emotional state alters the side preference of hugs in accordance with prevailing theories of emotional lateralization. In both experiments, they found a population level asymmetry in hugs to the right side. This lateralization was associated with motor preferences such as handedness and footedness. However, they also found that the emotional state regardless of positive or negative changed the lateralization of the hug significantly to the left indicating an influence of emotional states on this important social behavior. This data support the notion that the right hemisphere is dominant in emotional processing, regardless of emotional valence. So the next time someone hugs you, pay attention to the side of the hug and it might just give you an idea about the other person's emotional state!

Packheiser, J., Rook, N., Dursun, Z., Mesenhöller, J., Wenglorz, A., Güntürkün, O., Ocklenburg, S., Embracing your emotions: affective state impacts lateralisation of human embraces, Psychological Research (2019) 83:26–36.


News & Views

The smell of fear

Do you know the smell of fear? Did you know that anxious individuals exhibit heightened sensitivity towards stress signals that they smell in sweat? But can oxytocin, a hormone that is associated with social affiliation, diminish behavioral and neural responses to social chemosensory stress cues? To provide an answer to this question, social neuroscientists from Bonn and biopsychologists from Bochum tested subjects in a forced-choice emotional face recognition task with neutral to fearful stimuli while they were exposed to both sweat stimuli and control odors following intranasal oxytocin or placebo (PLC) administration, respectively. Beforehand, axillary sweat had been obtained from healthy male donors undergoing the Trier Social Stress Test (stress) and bicycle ergometer training (sport). On the neural level, oxytocin reduced stress-evoked responses in the amygdala. It also reinstated the functional connectivity between the anterior cingulate cortex and the fusiform face area that was disrupted by stress odors under placebo. These findings open the door to a completely new role for oxytocin in the modulation of chemosensory stress communication. Mechanistically, this effect appears to be rooted in a downregulation of stress-induced limbic activations and concomitant strengthening of top-down control descending from the anterior cingulate cortex to the fusiform face area.

Maier, A., Scheele, D., Spengler, F.B., Menba, T., Mohr, F., Güntürkün, O., Stoffel-Wagner, B., Kinfe, T.M., Maier, W., Khalsa, S.S., Hurlemann, R., Oxytocin reduces a chemosensory-induced stress bias in social perception, Neuropsychopharmacol., 2019, 44: 281–288.


News & Views Archive

See older News & Views