Research

Our group focuses on cognition in elderly individuals as well as in clinical populations. We primarily concentrate on investigating memory processes but also consider other cognitive functions (e.g., verbal fluency - see projects). At the moment, we apply the following methods:

Non-invasive brain stimulation is a group of techniques that allow the stimulation (or inhibition) of certain brain areas. We use transcranial direct current stimulation, a non-invasive method to increase (or decrease) cortical excitability with limited side effects.

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) is a class of imaging methods developed to demonstrate regional, time-varying changes in brain metabolism. These metabolic changes can be consequent to task-induced cognitive state changes or the result of unregulated processes in the resting brain.

During real-time fMRI based neurofeedback, participants are instructed to regulate their brain activity in a given brain area. The current brain activity is measured in real-time and data pre-processing as well as data analysis is performed with dedicated software. Feedback is provided to the participant in the scanner via a projector in the form of a thermometer icon, with the temperature reading indicating the current level of brain activity. The participants perform several training runs, which are composed of baseline blocks and up- or down-regulation blocks. During the regulation blocks, the target-level indicator of the thermometer display moves up or down, indicating that the participants should in- or decrease activity in the targeted brain region. With the help of feedback information, participants can learn to voluntarily control their brain activity in the targeted brain area.