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14.04.2014

Klausureinsicht Grundlagen der Neuro- und Sinnesphysiologie, 2. Termin

Der Termin zur Klausureinsicht Grundlagen der Neuro- und Sinnesphysiologie, 2. Termin, findet voraussichtlich Mitte/Ende Mai statt. Bitte beachten Sie die Ankündigung demnächst auf unserer Homepage.

11.04.2014

Klausureinsicht Lernen, 2. Termin

Am Freitag den 9.5.2014 besteht um 11:00 s.t. die Möglichkeit zur Klausureinsicht für die Klausur Lernen (2. Termin) im Biopsychologie-Seminarraum (GAFO 05/425).
Studenten, die Einsicht in ihre Klausur erhalten möchten, schicken bitte eine E-mail mit Namen und Matrikelnummer an: erhan.genc@rub.de
Eine Teilnahme ist nur mit vorheriger Anmeldung möglich.

Contact

Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Psychologie
AE Biopsychologie
GAFO 05/618
D-44780 Bochum

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

Email: biopsychologie@rub.de
Homepage: http://www.bio.psy.rub.de


News & Views

Functional and structural comparison of visual lateralization in birds - similar but still different.

What are the neuronal and ontogenetic foundations of cerebral asymmetries? This question is deeply investigated in two avian model systems: chickens and pigeons. It is well known that the brains of these animals display physiological and anatomical left-right differences, which are related to hemispheric dominances for specific functions. In both species, asymmetrical light stimulation during embryonic development induces a dominance of the left hemisphere for visuomotor control. Nevertheless, the underlying structural asymmetries vary essentially between both species. In this recent paper, scientist from the biopsychology lab analyzed existent data on this rather puzzling phenomenon. They found evidence that although early asymmetric light stimulation is defining the dominant hemisphere for visuomotor tasks, the structural mechanisms mediating this dominance can differ between species. Furthermore, they found that environmental stimulation likely affects the balance between hemispheric-specific processing by lateralized interactions of bottom-up and top-down systems. These findings show how the interplay between environmental factors and genetically determined lateralizations can shape functional asymmetries during early development.

Manns, M., Ströckens, F. (2014). Functional and structural comparison of visual lateralization in birds - similar but still different. Front. Psychol., 5: 206.

 

News & Views

Transient inactivation of the pigeon hippocampus or the nidopallium caudolaterale during extinction learning impairs extinction retrieval in an appetitive conditioning paradigm

Extinction learning is an extensively investigated field of research with a general focus on fear conditioning experiments. Scientists at the Biopsychology lab shed more light on context-specific extinction learning under appetitive conditions. Here, extinction learning refers to the cessation of previously reinforced conditioned responding once reinforcement is withheld. To study the context dependency of extinction learning under appetitive conditions, we adopted and modified a within-subject ABA renewal paradigm from Robert Rescorla (Q J Exp Psychol 61: 1793) and performed pharmacological interventions to investigate fundamental neural mechanisms underlying context-dependent extinction learning. More specifically, we transiently inactivated either the nidopallium caudolaterale (NCL, functional equivalent of mammalian prefrontal cortex) or the hippocampus immediately before extinction training with tetrodotoxin. Both structures are core structures for context-specific extinction learning in fear conditioning paradigms. Using an elegantly controlled procedure, we found that both manipulations lead to non-specifically response suppression. Retrieval testing under drug-free conditions showed that subjects did successfully retrieve extinction memory in the context of acquisition but were impaired when tested in the context of extinction. Thus, the present study suggests that both NCL and hippocampus are involved in the consolidation of extinction memory, and that their contribution to extinction is context-specific.
Within a follow-up experiment we currently explore the function of NMDA-receptor in the NCL for extinction learning.  

Lengersdorf, D., Stüttgen, M.C., Uengoer, M., Güntürkün, O. (2014).Transient inactivation of the pigeon hippocampus or the nidopallium caudolaterale during extinction learning impairs extinction retrieval in an appetitive conditioning paradigm. Behav Brain Res, 265: 93-100.

 

News & Views

Onur Güntürkün Wins 2014 Communicator Award

Biopsychologist Onur Güntürkün is the winner of this year's Communicator Award, conferred by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft and the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany. Professor Güntürkün, from the University of Bochum, was chosen for his exemplary approaches to communicating his research on the biological foundations for animal and human behaviour to the general public and the media. The “Communicator Award” is most important prize for science communication awarded in Germany. Established in 2000, the award is bestowed on researchers who have communicated their own scientific findings and those of their peers to a wide general audience. The prizewinners are selected by a jury comprised of science journalists and experts from the fields of public relations and communications. A total of 52 researchers working in a broad range of scientific disciplines applied or were nominated for this year's Communicator Award. After a multi-stage selection process, four of these candidates were shortlisted, with Onur Güntürkün chosen as the winner. The jury was impressed by the way in which Güntürkün combined high academic quality with a dedication to communication with the public and the media.

 

News & Views

LIGHT AFFECTS THE ASYMMETRY OF INTERHEMISPHERIC INFORMATION TRANSFER

Hemispheric specialization represents a core feature of information processing in the brain of humans and other animals; however, separation of function can only be advantageous when communication systems coordinate, select and integrate information from both half brains. Scientists from the biopsychology lab have recently investigated how such systems work in pigeons and if they are influenced by envirotypic factors. Pigeons possess a lateralized visual system that is shaped by asymmetrical light stimulation during development. Comparing hemispheric-specific access to transfer information of pigeons with or without embryonic light experience demonstrates the light-modulated impact of interhemispheric communication systems.  Stronger embryonic stimulation of the left hemisphere significantly enhances access to interhemispheric visual information, thereby reversing a right-hemispheric advantage that develops in the absence of embryonic light stimulation. This corroborates that environmental experiences can affect genetically determined asymmetries. This study delivers a further piece of evidence supporting the role of envirotypic factors on lateralization in the current nature vs. nurture debate.

Letzner, S., Patzke, N., Verhaal, J., Manns, M. (2014). Shaping a lateralized brain: Asymmetrical light experience modulates access to visual interhemispheric information in pigeons. Sci Rep, 4: 4253.

 

News & Views

an advice to the president

In 2013 President Barack Obama launched the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Comparative analyses can contribute to this effort by leading to the discovery of general principles of neural circuit design, information processing, and gene-structure-function relationships that are not apparent from studies on single species. About 30 scientists, among them two Biopsychologists from Bochum, were invited in fall 2013 to a think tank in Janelia Farm to advice the President on the BRAIN-initiative. The main goal was to come up with a strategy to extend the comparative approach to nervous system ‘maps’ comprising molecular, anatomical, and physiological data. The hope was that this research will identify which neural features are likely to generalize across species, and which are unlikely to be broadly conserved. It will also suggest causal relationships between genes, development, adult anatomy, physiology, and, ultimately, behavior. To promote this research agenda, the member of the think tank recommended that teams of investigators coalesce around specific research questions and select a set of ‘reference species’ to anchor their comparative analyses. These reference species should be chosen not just for practical advantages, but also with regard for their phylogenetic position, behavioral repertoire, well annotated genome, or other strategic reasons. This will help to form networks or consortia of researchers and centers for science, technology, and education that focus on organized data collection, distribution, and training. These activities could be supported, at least in part, through existing mechanisms at NSF, NIH, and other agencies.
Thus, our advice to the President, hoping he will read it.

Striedter, G.F., Belgard, T.G., Chen, C.C., Davis, F.P., Finlay, B.L., Güntürkün, O., Hale, M.E., Harris, J.A., Hecht, E.E., Hof, P.R., Hofmann, H.A., Holland, L.Z., Iwaniuk, A.N., Jarvis, E.D., Karten, H.J., Katz, P.S., Kristan, W.B., Macagno, E.R., Mitra, P.P., Moroz, L.L., Preuss, T.M., Ragsdale, C.W., Sherwood, C.C., Stevens, C.F., Stüttgen, M.C., Tsumoto, T., Wilczynski, W. (2014). NSF Workshop Report: Discovering General Principles of Nervous System Organization by Comparing Brain Maps across Species. Brain Behav Evol, 83: 1-8.

Striedter, G.F., Belgard, T.G., Chen, C.C., Davis, F.P., Finlay, B.L., Güntürkün, O., Hale, M.E., Harris, J.A., Hecht, E.E., Hof, P.R., Hofmann, H.A., Holland, L.Z., Iwaniuk, A.N., Jarvis, E.D., Karten, H.J., Katz, P.S., Kristan, W.B., Macagno, E.R., Mitra, P.P., Moroz, L.L., Preuss, T.M., Ragsdale, C.W., Sherwood, C.C., Stevens, C.F., Stüttgen, M.C., Tsumoto, T., Wilczynski, W. (2014). NSF Workshop Report: Discovering General Principles of Nervous System Organization by Comparing Brain Maps across Species. J Comp Neurol, 522:1445–1453.

 

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