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Der SFB 1280 lädt zum öffentlichen Vortrag von Michael Schleyer am 29.07.2019 ein . mehr



Biopsychology Research Colloquium

Schedule SS 2019



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


Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Fakultät für Psychologie
AE Biopsychologie
IB 6-121 - Postfach 18
D-44780 Bochum

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


News & Views

The influence of sex and handedness on human cradling

Have you ever noticed that children are mostly carried on the left body side of the parent? This lateral preference in infant cradling has been scientifically investigated for 60 years, but influential factors underlying this bias have remained largely unknown due to inconsistent experimental designs and low sample sizes. Luckily, meta-analyses resolve such issues, so we analyzed the entire body of literatur on this topic and generated three major findings on the cradling bias: (1) approximately 69% of all adults prefer to cradle children on the left. (2) Right-handed people have a stronger left-sided preferences than left-handed people. And (3), women have a stronger left-sided preference compared to men. These findings complement recent hypotheses on motor and emotional biases on the laterality of social touch in humans. And if you find yourself holding a baby next time, pay attention to your holding side. It might just tell you something about your feelings!


News & Views

PhD Thesis Julian Packheiser

On Friday, the 28th of June 2018, Julian successfully defended his PhD thesis entitled "The neuronal mechanisms and dynamics of extinction learning and renewal". Julian’s PhD thesis puts two bold hypotheses forward: First, consolidation of extinction is not required for extinction to occur. Julian was quite cautious to also remark that this is true for behavior analyses and must not necessarily apply for all aspects of neurobiology. Second, key events during extinction are not coded by highly specialized neurons but by cells of mixed-selectivity as they encode a large variety of parameters during an extinction learning paradigm. While the neural responses are highly distributed and diverse on the single unit level, the population response can be decoded into discrete neural archetypes. These and many more findings were pretty impressive. Even more impressive was Julian’s ability to then successfully master 90 minutes of savage grilling by Onur Güntürkün, Nikolai Axmacher, Oliver Wolf, and Jonas Rose. The committee was so impressed that they decided to award Julian’s PhD with a summa cum laude. Congratulations, Julian! We all are very proud of you! During the subsequent photo session three people took in parallel pictures from different locations. The result is funny: everybody looks somewhere else.


News & Views

How Foraging Works

Probably, none of us has ever experienced a serious and long-term shortage of food. But in principle evolution has endowed us and other vertebrates with mechanisms that alter our physiology, brain mechanisms, mental states, and behavior when environmental cues signal an upcoming scarcity of food. But what are these mechanisms? Biopsychologists now published a comprehensive theory on the mechanisms of foraging in the top tier theory-journal “Behavioral and Brain Sciences”.
The theory departs from the observation that both mammals and birds are extremely sensitive to a drop in the probability to find food and reliably react with an invigoration of food-related responses. During such a time these animals consume and/or hoard more food, get fatter, and build up a reserve against future starvation. This even happens when people are anxious to lose their job. In this paper it is argued that an anticipated long-term drop of resources has motivational effects called incentive hope that facilitates foraging effort by an altered release of dopamine - a neurotransmitter strongly involved in inducing incentive motivation. This increases the subjective value of food, promotes higher efforts to collect and consume it, and results in higher bodily or hoarded long-term energy storages. The paper shows that this hypothesis is computationally tenable, leading foragers in an unpredictable environment to search for and to consume more food items. Altogether, this theory bridges the troubled waters between ecology, psychology, and neurobiology. Twenty-three research groups have responded to the call to discuss this novel theory. Their comments are subsequently discussed and integrated into the body of their theory.

Anselme, P. and Güntürkün, O., How foraging works: Uncertainty magnifies food-seeking motivation, Behav. Brain Sci., Behav. Brain Sci., 2019, 42: e35, 1–59.


News & Views

Sebastian Ocklenburg wins Brain Products Young Investigator Award 2019

Sebastian Ocklenburg won the Brain Products Young Investigator Award 2019. This prestigous young investigator award was given to Sebastian Ocklenburg in an award ceremony during the "Psychology and Brain 2019" (Psychologie und Gehirn 2019) conference in Dresden for his work on language lateralization.











News & Views

The neurophysiological correlates of handedness

The neurophysiological correlates of handedness
Among functional hemispheric asymmetries in humans, handedness is by far the most investigated. However, the underlying neural correlates remain unclear. Previous research has mainly focused on functional imaging methods and suggests differences in ipsilateral activation during unilateral hand movements between left- and right-handers. As EEG allows for a higher temporal resolution, researchers from the Biopsychology lab adapted the classical Tapley and Bryden task for use during EEG and tested this paradigm in 36 left- and 36 right-handers. Subjects had to click as fast and accurate as possible on eight squares distributed around a fixation cross in a given sequence with varying complexity. The lateralized readiness potential (LRP) is an event related potential component related to asymmetric motor preparation. Increasing complexity of sequences was associated with earlier and less negative LRP peaks. For the last response within a sequence, right-handers had more negative LRP peak amplitudes than left-handers. The effect of handedness on LRP peak amplitude in the first response was modulated by task complexity with a more negative LRP peak amplitude in right-handers than left-handers in simple, but not in medium or complex trials. This effect might be due to more symmetrical processing in right-handers with increasing task complexity, which complements findings from previous imaging studies.

Schmitz J, Packheiser J, Birnkraut T, Hinz NA, Friedrich P, Güntürkün O, Ocklenburg S. The neurophysiological correlates of handedness: Insights from the lateralized readiness potential. Behavioural Brain Research. 2019 364: 114-122.


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