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RG Psychobiology of Pain


Head of the Research Group

PD Dr. Susanne Becker

Phone: +49 621 1703-6316

Fax: +49 621 1703-6305


Research and Administrative Building, 2nd Floor, Room 234


The work of this research group focuses on the investigation of the psychobiological mechanisms underlying the interaction of pain and reward as two fundamental motivators. The goal is thereby to characterize neuroanatomical and neurochemical underpinnings. In particular, mechanisms of endogenous pain inhibition induced by reward, of perceptual and behavioral effects of motivational conflicts induced by simultaneously present positive and negative motivators such as pain and reward, and of reward-dependent learning of altered pain perception are investigated. Furthermore, related factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of chronic pain are characterized and gained knowledge is used to optimize behavioral pain therapy that is based on reward. For achieving these goals, a multimodal approach applying psychophysical and neuropsychological methods and neuroimaging is implemented, comprising e.g. functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and pharmacological interventions to manipulate the neurotransmitters dopamine and endogenous opioids. Patients with chronic pain as well as healthy volunteers are investigated.

Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de