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Teilnehmer gesucht

Studienteilnehmer (Männer) für Neuro-Studie zur Bewertung von #Selfies auf Facebook gesucht. mehr


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


Symposium on emotion and consciousness

"Who am I and how do I feel about it? - First New Zealand - German symposium on emotion and consciousness" on Friday 20.10.2017, 12:00 to 15:00, Ruhr-University Bochum, GAFO 05/609


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

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


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Unpredictable rewards increase the vigor of responses in autoshaping (a Pavlovian conditioning procedure) and are preferred to predictable rewards in free-choice tasks involving fixed- versus variable-delay schedules. The significance those behavioral properties may have in field conditions is currently unknown. However, it is noticeable that when exposed to unpredictable food, small passerines – such as robins, titmice, and starlings – get fatter than when food is abundant. In functional terms, fattening is viewed as an evolutionary strategy acting against the risk of starvation when food is in short supply. But this functional view does not explain the causal mechanisms by which small passerines come to be fatter under food uncertainty. Here, it is suggested that one of these causal mechanisms is that involved in behavioral invigoration and preference for food uncertainty in the laboratory. Based on a psychological theory of motivational changes under food uncertainty, we developed an integrative computational model to test this idea. We show that, for functional (adaptive) reasons, the excitatory property of reward unpredictability can underlie the propensity of wild birds to forage longer and/or more intensively in an unpredictable environment, with the consequence that they can put on more fat reserves.


Anselme, P., Otto, T. & Güntürkün, O. (2017). How unpredictable access to food increases the body fat of small passerines: a mechanistic approach. Behavioural Processes, 144, 33-45.

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"Who am I and how do I feel about it? - First New Zealand - German symposium on emotion and consciousness" on Friday 20.10.2017

It is our pleasure to announce the first " First New Zealand - German symposium on emotion and consciousness" which will take place on

Friday, October 20th 2017
12:00 to 15:00
Ruhr-University Bochum, GAFO 05/609

Gina Grimshaw (School of Psychology, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand)
David Carmel (Department of Psychology, University of Edinburgh, Scotland)
Jutta Peterburs (Biopsychology, Heinrich-Heine-University Düsseldorf, Germany)
Julian Packheiser (Biopsychology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)
Catrona Anderson (Department of Psychology, University of Otago, New Zealand)

Hosted by:
Sebastian Ocklenburg (Biopsychology, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany)

All guests are welcome!


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Hemispheric timing differences in dichotic listening

When the two hemispheres receive different sensory input, one might think of a race in which the faster hemisphere dominates our perception.
This can be demonstrated with the so-called “dichotic listening task”. Here, two different vowels are presented simultaneously; one to the left ear that reports to the right hemisphere and one to the right ear, which communicates to the left hemisphere. However, since the left hemisphere is specialized in analyzing vowels, this task is more like a swimming contest between a shark (the left hemisphere) and a rabbit (right hemisphere). Hence, the speed difference between the hemispheres is in favor of the left one.
By using the dichotic listening task in an EEG setting, we measured this hemispheric timing difference. Furthermore, by using MRI techniques, we found that the timing difference is smaller in participants with a better microstructure in the posterior part of the corpus callosum, a white matter commissure that is often called the bridge between the two hemispheres.
Hence, in our metaphor, this bridge seems to help the rabbit across the water, thus equalizing its chances in the swimming competition against the shark.


Friedrich, P., Ocklenburg, S., Heins, N., Schlüter, C., Fraenz, C., Beste, C., Güntürkün, O., & Genç, E. (2017). Callosal microstructure affects the timing of electrophysiological left-right differences. NeuroImage.


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When rodents are given a free choice between a variable option and a constant option, they may prefer variability. This preference is even sometimes increased following repeated administration of a dopamine agonist. The present study was the first to examine preference for variability under the systemic administration of a dopamine agonist, apomorphine (Apo), in birds. Experiment 1 tested the drug-free preference and the propensity to choose of pigeons for a constant over a variable delay. It appeared that they preferred and decided more quickly to peck at the optimal delay option. Experiment 2 assessed the effects of a repeated injection of Apo on delay preference, in comparison with previous control tests within the same individuals. Apo treatment might have decreased the number of pecks at the constant option across the different experimental phases, but failed to induce a preference for the variable option. In Experiment 3, two groups of pigeons (Apo-sensitized and saline) were used in order to avoid inhomogeneity in treatments. They had to choose between a 50% probability option and a 5-s delay option. Conditioned pecking and the propensity to choose were higher in the Apo-sensitized pigeons, but, in each group, the pigeons showed indifference between the two options. This experiment also showed that long-term behavioral sensitization to Apo can occur independently of a conditioning process. These results suggest that Apo sensitization can enhance the attractiveness of conditioned cues, while having no effect on the development of a preference for variable-delay and probabilistic schedules of reinforcement.


Anselme, P., Edeş, N., Tabrik, S. & Güntürkün, O. (2018). Long-term behavioral sensitization to apomorphine is independent of conditioning and increases conditioned pecking, but not preference, in pigeons. Behavioural Brain Research, 336, 122-134.


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PhD Thesis Martin Stacho

On Friday, the 25th of August 2017, Martin defended his PhD thesis entitled „ The canonical circuit of the avian forebrain “. Martin presented us a fantastic tour de force through the circuitry of the avian pallium and was able to embed his findings and ideas into a detailed framework of previous studies and theories (he concluded that pretty much all of them were (partly) wrong).  During the subsequent discussion the word most often used by the reviewers and Martin was “column”. We all are pretty sure that Martin was dreaming of columns the next night. Martin could nicely respond to all questions and successfully defended his ideas. It was just great! Obviously, the committee unanimously decided that he had performed extremely well and decided to award him the rarely awarded grade of a Dr. rer. nat. with summa cum laude. Afterwards, Martin proudly could wear his mortar board that was decorated with… (guess what?): of course columns!!!

Congratulations Martin! We are proud of you!


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