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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


Teilnehmer gesucht

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



BioPsy-Colloquium, 24.04.17, 1 - 3 pm, GAFO 05/425
Jörgen Kornfeld, MPI für Neurobiologie, Martinsried:
Connectomic analysis of zebra finch microcircuits


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

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


News & Views

It takes two to tango

The two hemispheres of the vertebrate brain are characterized by several left-right differences in the analysis and evaluation of information. Such lateralized processing requires intra- and interhemispheric mechanisms mediating exchange, integration, or suppression of information but the underlying functional organization is only basically understood. Researchers from the Biopsychology lab of Bochum therefore explored intrahemispheric integration capacities in pigeons during relational learning. Pigeons were trained in a way that each hemisphere learned only half the information that represented a transitive line (A>B>C>D>E). Subsequently, the hemispheres were tested independently from each other with stimulus pairs that required accessing information from the other brain side. The hemispheres differ in encoding interhemispheric information but both hemispheres were impaired in correct responding when the information was in conflict with directly learnt memory. In sum, the study indicates that interhemispheric communication in pigeons is an active process that integrates intra- and interhemispheric information in a context-dependent and hemispheric-specific manner. Efficient interhemispheric cooperation requires simultaneous activation of both brain sides.

Manns, M., Krause, C., Gao, M. (2017). It takes two to tango: hemispheric integration in pigeons requires both hemispheres to solve a transitive inference task. Animal Behaviour, 126: 231–241. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.02.016


News & Views

Farewell to Annika and Rena

Yes, they left... Annika and Rena were for many years indispensable members of the Biopsychology universe. Hard to believe, but now they left this mother of all labs at the end of February 2017. During their time in the magic lab they made great discoveries. They reconstructed the sequence of the Arc gene, discovered complex pathways to action in the pallium and came extremely close to finally demystifying the critical trigger for visual asymmetry in pigeons. What achievements! What bravery!

Hey Rena and Annika: We will miss you both a lot!!!!


News & Views

Apes, feathered apes, and pigeons

Apes, corvids, and pigeons differ in their pallial/cortical neuron numbers, with apes ranking first and pigeons third. Do cognitive performances rank accordingly? If they would do, cognitive performance could be explained at a mechanistic level by computational capacity provided by neuron numbers. To approach this question, biopsychologists from Bochum and Dunedin (New Zealand) reviewed five areas of cognition (short-term memory, object permanence, abstract numerical competence, orthographic processing, self-recognition) in which apes, corvids, and pigeons have been tested with highly similar procedures. They discovered that in all tests apes and corvids were on par, but also pigeons reached identical achievement levels in three tests. The scientists conclude that higher neuron numbers are poor predictors of absolute cognitive ability, but better predict learning speed and the ability to flexibly transfer rules to novel situations.

Güntürkün, O., Ströckens, F., Scarf, D. and Colombo, M., Apes, feathered apes, and pigeons: Differences and similarities, Current Opinion Behavioral Sciences, 2017, 16: 35–40.


News & Views

How others influence how we process feedback

Social context influences social decisions and outcome processing. In the present study a team of researchers from the University of Münster and the Biopsychology in Bochum investigated social context-dependent modulation of behavior and feedback. Adult participants completed an ultimatum game under social observation or not and EEG was recorded. Overall, fewer unfair than fair offers were accepted. Observation decreased acceptance rates for unfair offers. The feedback-locked feedback-related negativity (FRN) was modulated by observation and fairness, with stronger differential coding of unfair/fair under observation. This effect was strongly correlated with individual levels of social anxiety, with higher levels associated with stronger differential fairness coding in the FRN under observation. Behavioral findings support negative reciprocity in the UG, suggesting that social norms overwrite explicit task instructions even in the absence of social interaction. Observation enhances this effect.


Peterburs, J., Voegler, R., Liepelt, R., Schulze, A., Wilhelm, S., Ocklenburg, S., Straube, T. (2017). Processing of fair and unfair offers in the ultimatum game under social observation. Scientific Reports, 7. doi:10.1038/srep44062


News & Views

Where handedness starts

Almost everyone has a preferred hand that excels at most tasks, even though our hands are anatomically almost identical. So far, most researchers assumed that handedness is largely under direct control of variation in certain genes, but the scientific evidence for this assumption has been weak. Epigenetic mechanisms affect gene activity independently from the actual DNA sequence. During human embryonic development, preliminary forms of handedness arise before the motor cortex that controls our movements is connected to the spinal cord that is responsible for movement execution. A multidisciplinary team from Biopsychology and several other departments of the medical and psychological faculties could now show that along with the onset of asymmetric hand movements epigenetic factors (more specifically miRNA and DNA methylation) lead to massive gene expression asymmetries in the spinal cord segments that innervate arms and hands. These findings imply a fundamental shift in our understanding of the ontogenesis of hemispheric asymmetries in humans. For the first time, our study sheds light on the molecular epigenetics of asymmetry formation.


Ocklenburg, S., Schmitz, J., Moinfar, Z., Moser, D., Klose, R., Lor, S., Kunz, G., Tegenthoff, M., Faustmann, P., Francks, C., Epplen, J. T., Kumsta, R., Güntürkün, O. (2017). Epigenetic regulation of lateralized fetal spinal gene expression underlies hemispheric asymmetries. eLife, 6. doi:10.7554/eLife.22784


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