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Research projects - Research Group Multisensory Integration and Attention

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Role of aberrant neural oscillations for multisensory processing deficits in schizophrenia

Periodic fluctuations of excitatory and inhibitory states, as reflected in neural oscillations, are crucial for information processing in cortical networks. Dysfunctional neural connectivity, which has been linked to abnormal oscillations, presumably contributes to the pathophysiology in schizophrenia. The central goal of this project is to test the assumption that abnormal neural oscillations contribute to multisensory processing deficits in schizophrenia.

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Predicting the multisensory future: Role of neuronal connectivity for integrative information processing across modalities

In natural situations, we continuously monitor and integrate the multiple inputs that enter our sensory system. For instance, when cycling on a busy street it is important to integrate the sounds and sights of other vehicles. Predicting behaviour of other road users based on sensory cues across modalities is essential for our survival. The major goal of this project is to address how ongoing oscillations, neuronal connectivity, and information flow within cortical networks influence the integration and perception of upcoming multisensory stimuli.

Funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG)

Multisensory processing of pain

Pain is a common symptom, with a prevalence of 32-67% in the German population. Natural painful events are often accompanied by sensory inputs from other modalities, which are likely to influence the processing of pain (e.g., seeing the needle when receiving an injection). The central goal of this project is to address how and under which conditions sensory inputs from other modalities affect the processing of pain. Recently, we also started exploring the effects of virtual reality feedback interventions on chronic pain.

Electrophysiological signatures of sexual attraction towards children in juveniles

This is a collaborative project with the Institute of Sexology and Sexual Medicine. Investigations in perpetrators who have committed sexual child abuse indicate that 30-50% became aware of sexual interest in children during puberty. Neuroimaging studies have consistently revealed functional and structural alterations in the brains of pedophilic adults.  Thus far, there are no comparable investigations in sexually deviant juveniles. The key objective of this collaborative project is to uncover electrophysiological biomarkers for the predisposition of sexual attraction towards children in juveniles.