CPEGraduationMaster thesisCognitive Psychology

Cognitive Psychology

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MASTER THESIS

  • MCP1 - TMS AT IFADO, DORTMUND

    SUPERVISOR: PROF. WILLEM VERWEY (UT), PROF. MICHAEL NITSCHE (IFADO)

    35EC

    In collaboration with the group of prof. Michael Nitsche at Ifado (http://www.ifado.de/neurowissenschaft/neuromodulation/), a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcranial_magnetic_stimulation) study will be carried out while participants are executing a motor sequencing task. Earlier studies suggest that the supplementary motor area (SMA) is heavily involved in learning and producing motor sequences. We previously tested this in two studies with TMS at the preSMA and the SMAproper (Ruitenberg et al., 2014, Verwey et al., 2002), and found different effects, suggesting different functional roles for preSMA and SMAproper. However, these studies were somewhat different and carried out in different laboratories. In this master assignment, we intend to re-examine the different roles of the preSMA and the SMAproper in a single study. The experiment will be carried out at the Ifado in Dortmund, Germany, and will be supervised by researchers at the Ifado.

    References

    Ruitenberg, M. F. L., Verwey, W. B., Schutter, D. J. L. G., & Abrahamse, E. L. (2014). Cognitive and neural foundations of discrete sequence skill: A TMS study. Neuropsychologia, 56, 229-238.

    Verwey, W. B., Lammens, R., & van Honk, J. (2002). On the role of the SMA in the discrete sequence production task: a TMS study. Neuropsychologia, 40(8), 1268-1276.

  • MCP2 - STRESS EFFECTS ON CONFLICT PROCESSING AT IFADO, DORTMUND

    SUPERVISORS: DR. ROB VAN DER LUBBE (UT), DR. MAURO LARRA (IFADO)

    35EC

    Stress is characterized by an activation of peripheral bodily response systems culminating in the release of stress hormones, most notably adrenaline and cortisol. These messengers act in concert to alter brain function leading to changes in perception, cognition and behavior under stress. While it is generally assumed that stress inhibits top-down control, recent evidence suggests rather process specific effects enabling a fine-tuned adaptation of psychological functions. The master project will focus on how stress influences automatic processes and cognitive control during the processing of conflicts.  A stress experiment will be conducted in which participants perform in a conflict task after being exposed to a laboratory stressor (Cold Pressor Test) or a control procedure. Stress responses are quantified via analysis of salivary stress hormone concentrations along with cardiovascular and psychological parameters. Effects on conflict processing are assessed via neuroimaging (EEG) as well as behavioral data. This project offers the opportunity to gather insights into psychobiological stress research and acquire experience in the acquisition and analysis of (electro-)physiological data. The experiment will be carried out at the IfADo in Dortmund, Germany, and will be supervised by Dr. Mauro Larra.

    Literature

    Larra, M.F., et al., 2016. Stress and selective attention: Immediate and delayed stress effects on inhibition of return. Brain Cogn 108, 66-72.

    Joels, M. & Baram, T.Z., 2009. The neuro-symphony of stress. Nat Rev Neurosci 10, 459-466.

    Hermans, E. J., et al., 2014. Dynamic adaptation of large-scale brain networks in response to acute stressors. Trends Neurosci 37(6): 304-314.