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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


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

Biopsychology Retreat in Nuremberg

On the 28th of July 2017, the Biopsychology and the Avian Cognitive Neuroscience lab as well as our guests Olga Lazareva & Martin Acerbo (of course incl. Valerie) departed towards the Nuremberg zoo for our yearly retreat. Our friend and colleague Lorenzo von Fersen had invited us to use their facilities for our presentations on the question “What is it that you would like to discover in the next year(s)?” We started in the afternoon with a firework of presentations by diverse groups and individuals. In the evening we jointly visited the traditional restaurant Barfüßer to get accustomed to Bavarian food and kegs of Bavarian beer. On the next morning we had some more talks and then visited the zoo and could participate in an experiment on magnetic perception in dolphins. Towards the late afternoon we all travelled back to Bochum. Everybody deeply enjoyed our stay and we all were convinced that our next retreat should last one day longer.


News & Views

Do emotions control our cognition?

Hemispheric asymmetries are a major organizational principle in human emotion processing, but their interaction with prefrontal control processes is not well understood. In the present study, researchers from the biopsychology lab, the University of Münster and the University of Wellington in New Zealand use a lateralized emotional paradigm to assess cognitive control processes and recorded ERP components. Electrophysiologically, Nogo-P3 responses were greater for emotional than for neutral stimuli, an effect driven primarily by an enhanced response to positive images. Hemispheric asymmetries were also observed, with greater Nogo-P3 following left versus right visual field stimuli. However, the visual field effect did not interact with emotion. We therefore find no evidence that emotion-related asymmetries affect response inhibition processes.


Ocklenburg, S., Peterburs, J., Mertzen, J., Schmitz, J., Güntürkün, O., & Grimshaw, G. M. (2017). Effects of Emotional Valence on Hemispheric Asymmetries in Response Inhibition. Symmetry9(8), 145.


News & Views

The Functional Genetics of Handedness and Language Lateralization

Handedness and language lateralization have often been thought to share a common ontogenetic basis. Although specific genetic influences contributing to each phenotype have been identified, no gene has been found to be involved in both phenotypes. However, it is still possible that genes associated with handedness and genes associated with language lateralization share similar gene functions. Here, a group of researchers from the biopsychology lab conducted gene ontology analyses to identify the amount of overlap in functional gene groups between the phenotypes. Results showed that genes associated with handedness are involved in anatomical structure development, pattern specification (especially asymmetry formation) and biological regulation. Genes associated with language lateralization are involved in responses to different stimuli, nervous system development, transport, signaling, and biological regulation. While “handedness genes” mostly contribute to structural development, genes involved in language lateralization rather contribute to activity dependent cognitive processes. This finding has been confirmed by disease association analysis revealing that genes associated with handedness are involved in with diseases affecting the whole body, while genes associated with language lateralization were specifically involved in mental and neurological diseases. These findings further support the idea that handedness and language lateralization are ontogenetically independent, complex phenotypes.


Schmitz J, Lor S, Klose R, Güntürkün O, Ocklenburg S. The Functional Genetics of Handedness and Language Lateralization: Insights from Gene Ontology, Pathway and Disease Association Analyses. Front. Psychol. 2017 8:1144. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.01144


News & Views

Whole Exome Sequencing in a Consanguineous Turkish Family with an Overrepresentation of Left-Handedness

About 90% of the population is right-handed, which has often been proposed to result from a single gene. However, molecular studies rather support the idea that handedness is determined by a multitude of small, possibly interacting genetic and non-genetic influences. Here, scientists from the biopsychology lab, the genetic psychology lab and several departments of the medical faculty of Dokuz Eylül University in Izmir performed whole exome sequencing in nine left-handed members of a Turkish family with history of consanguinity in order to detect influences of rare mutations on handedness. Quantitative trait analysis revealed that rare variants on 49 loci on 26 genes show significant associations with handedness; however, none was functionally relevant for handedness (i.e. involved in left-right axis development or nervous system development). This interpretation was further supported by gene ontology analysis, as functional gene groups were also unrelated to the brain. Taken together, this study revealed no indication for a gene or mutation that could realistically determine handedness.


Ocklenburg S, Barutçuoğlu C, Özgören AÖ, Özgören M, Erdal E, Moser D, Schmitz J, Kumsta R, Güntürkün O. The Genetics of Asymmetry: Whole Exome Sequencing in a Consanguineous Turkish Family with an Overrepresentation of Left-Handedness. Symmetry 2017, 9, 66.


News & Views

In vivo measurement of T1 and T2 relaxation times in awake pigeon and rat brains at 7T

The majority of vertebrate models used in neuroscience are rodents (rats and mice), but increasingly bird species such as zebra finches and pigeons also are used. Whereas zebra finches as songbirds are an excellent model for vocal learning, pigeons typically are used to study mechanisms of learning and memory. However, pigeons also are increasingly tested with cognitive tasks assessing functions, such as sequence acquisition, equivalence learning, categorization, transitive inference, and even orthographic processing. In contrast to rodents, some bird species such as corvids additionally demonstrate high cognitive abilities that are equivalent to those of nonhuman primates. These include complex social interactions, future planning, tool and meta-tool use, mirror self-recognition, and physical problem-solving. To understand the functional and structural organization of the pigeon brain under different conditions, scientists of the Biopsychology Department of the Ruhr-University Bochum developed functional MRI protocols with high temporal resolution. Since transverse (T2) and longitudinal (T1) relaxation times play an important role in optimizing MRI parameters [e.g., contrast level, signal-to-noise ratio], they measured these values for the first time in awake pigeons and rats. The obtained T1 and T2 values for awake pigeons and rats and the optimized habituation protocol will augment future MRI studies with awake animals. The differences in relaxation times observed between species underline the importance of the acquisition of T1/T2 values as reference points for specific experiments.


Behroozi, M., Chwiesko, C., Ströckens, F., Sauvage, M., Helluy, X., Peterburs, J., & Güntürkün, O. (2017). In vivo measurement of T1 and T2 relaxation times in awake pigeon and rat brains at 7T. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.


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