RG Behavioral Physiology in Psychiatry
Physician, Research staff, Head of the research group
Phone: +49 621 1703-2567
Laboratory Building, 1st Floor, Room 1.0
Human neuroimaging has provided fascinating insights into the neurobiology of decision making that is often impaired in psychiatric disorders. However, many research questions are difficult to answer at the macroscopic level and instead require an additional understanding of neural microcircuits. Our group develops decision making tasks for rats and combines behavioral and (electro-) physiological methods to gain insight into how specific cognitive processes are supported by distinct neural circuits. Paradigms are designed such that they facilitate a comparison of rodent findings with human research. Our work is guided by two questions. We seek to understand how animals find adaptive choices in changing environments. While humans & animals are often able to solve such behavioral problems in very efficient ways, the underlying behavioral and neural mechanisms remain largely unclear (“How do we know what to learn?”). The second focus is on the question how the brain represents social reward value during decision making. For example, it is currently unclear whether decision making based on social vs. non-social rewards is implemented in distinct or common neural populations. However, this is fundamental for an understanding of higher social functions like pro-social behavior.
Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit (ZI) - https://www.zi-mannheim.de