BioPsy-Colloquium, 1 - 3 pm ct, GAFO 05/425
Katja Doerschner (Brain and Perception, Bilkent University, Ankara):The role of image motion in the perception of object qualities.
Fakultät für Psychologie
Phone: +49 234 - 32 28213
Fax: +49 234 - 32 14377
News & Views
PhD Thesis Clara Quetscher
On Friday, the 19th of August 2016, Clara defended her PhD thesis entitled „Stratiales GABA und Handlungskontrolle – Eine kombinierte EEG-, MRS- und fMRI-Untersuchung“. After giving a brilliant presentation, she answered all questions in her typical calm but absolutely clear way. Even the long, rambling and vague questions that were asked by one of the examiners did little to her absolutely solid standing. Accordingly, the committee unanimously decided that she had performed extremely well and decided to award her the title of a Dr. rer. nat. with magna cum laude. Afterwards everybody could enjoy sparkling wine in brilliant sunshine.
Congratulations Clara! We are proud of you!
News & Views
E-Book on Extinction Learning
Throughout life, we learn to associate stimuli with their consequences. But some of the new information that we encounter forces us to abandon what we had previously acquired. This old information is then subject to a new learning process that is called extinction learning that is extremely complex and involves a large number of brain structures. To provide a most recent update on research on extinction learning, Denise Manahan-Vaughan, Onur Güntürkün and Oliver Wolf from the Ruhr-University came together to create an open-access Frontier Research Topic e-book. Their publishing strategy departed from the formulation of three aims: First, the e-book should incorporate studies that analyze the concert of neural structures that enable extinction learning. Second, the book had to include papers that are situated at the transition between basic and clinical neuroscience. Third, the book should cover papers on the uncharted territories of extinction learning, involve less-studied entities such as the immune system or hormonal factors, or less-studied species or novel paradigms. Last but not least, the book had to have a stunning cover. This was achievedwWith the support and the courtesy of Erhan Genç (see yourself). A very large number of leading international scientists contributed to this book and turned it into a huge success. As a result, the e-book offers brand new and valuable insights into the mechanisms and the functional implementation of extinction learning at its different levels of complexity. It thus also forms the basis for new concepts and research ideas in this field. The book can be downloaded for free here.
News & Views
Asymmetries in the stressed brain
Functional hemispheric asymmetries can vary over time and steroid hormones have been shown to be one of the factors that can modulate them. Research into this matter has mainly focused on sex steroid hormones, but evidence is accumulating that stress steroid hormones might also affect asymmetries. In a newly published article, a team of researchers from the Biopsychology and Cognitive psychology labs at Ruhr-University, as well as from the University of Muenster and Utrecht University now analyzed studies in humans and animal species investigating the relation of stress and laterality. Results indicate a dual relationship of the two parameters. Both acute and chronic stress can affect different forms of lateralization in the human brain, often (but not always) resulting in greater involvement of the right hemisphere. Moreover, lateralization as a form of functional brain architecture can also represent a protective factor against adverse effects of stress. We hope that this article will stimulate further research on stress and laterality.
News & Views
A triadic model of functional brain asymmetries
Some might think of the two brain halves as roommates - while they share the same spot within your body and like to do some things together, they still have their own interests and excel in different things. Most prominently, the left hemisphere is a genius in language whereas the right hemisphere is great in mental rotation. Researchers have often tried to find out, what causes these so called functional hemispheric asymmetries. Some argue that the answer lies in the connection between the two brain halves - others say that the difference in gray matter is key. Although both perspectives are reasonable, one factor has often been neglected: the hemispheric differences in white matter connections. In our recent review, we argue that the neurobiological underpinnings of functional hemispheric differences can only be understood, if all known factors will be combined. We hence propose a “triadic” model of functional hemispheric asymmetries, which pillars represent the differences in gray matter, the callosal connection between the two hemispheres and finally the differences in the white matter within each hemisphere. These anatomical predictors are independent from one another and deliver unique contribution in predicting functional hemispheric asymmetries. Thus, we hope to increase our understanding of this interesting phenomenon, by integrating our knowledge of different factors, instead of looking at each one separately.
Ocklenburg, S., Friedrich, P., Güntürkün, O., Genc, E., Intrahemispheric white matter asymmetries: the missing link between brain structure and functional lateralization?, Reviews in the Neurosciences, 2016, 27(5): 465-480.
News & Views
More than Words and Faces
How do we understand the emotional undertone (prosody) of a conversation? It is known that humans typically combine linguistic and nonlinguistic information to comprehend emotions. But how important is the contribution of prosody in the identification of emotions? To find an answer to this question, scientists from Belgium, Germany, and Austria joined forces and investigated how different communication channels interact in the identification of emotions. In the first experiment they presented their subjects synonyms of “happy” and “sad” that were spoken with either happy and sad voice. Participants had more difficulty ignoring prosody than ignoring verbal content. Thus, prosody ran strong. In the second experiment, synonyms of “happy” and “sad” were spoken with happy and sad prosody, while happy or sad faces were displayed. As expected, accuracy was low in the incongruent condition. The power of prosody became evident when participants were required to focus on verbal content only with the facial information congruent with the verbal content. Even under this condition, a discrepancy with prosodic information strongly biased the identification of emotion. Thus, the impact of prosody is unexpectedly strong in the communication of emotion. Feelings during conversation are much more than words and faces.
Filippi, P., Ocklenburg, S., Bowling, D., Heege, L., Güntürkün, O., Newen, A., de Boer, B., More than words (and faces): Evidence for a Stroop effect of prosody in emotion word processing, Cognition and Emotion, 2016, May 3:1-13. [Epub ahead of print].