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Section: Neuropsychology

The working group investigates the processing of emotions and the mechanisms of social cognition in healthy individuals and patients with psychiatric disorders. The aim is to characterize emotional and cognitive processes more precisely and record them in a multimodal approach using various techniques – primarily functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), but also combined fMRI–EEG measurements. To this end, visual, olfactory, nociceptive, and acoustic stimuli are used. Personal and methodological factors that may be influential (e.g. age, genetic disposition, hormonal and cultural influences, or quality assurance) are taken into consideration. Another research priority is the functional evaluation of therapeutic interventions using imaging techniques.

Additionally, the working group researches gender differences and their neural correlates in healthy subjects and in patients with mental disorders, particularly schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders and autism. The disorders are analyzed according to the cerebral dysfunctions and therapy options, including psychotherapeutic (bio-feedback) and somatic interventions (psychopharmacology, deep brain stimulation), for each gender. Using functional and structural imaging techniques, psychophysiological measurements and neuropsychological tests, the team investigates the neuropsychobiological correlates of cognition and various emotions, taking into account the influence of hormones.

The group works with Foschungszentrum Jülich within the JARA-BRAIN alliance and Professor Habel is Director of the „JARA-BRAIN Institute: Structure Function Relationship“. It also collaborates with the IZKF (Interdisciplinary Center for Clinical Research) and the Human Technology Center (HUMTEC) on projects involving the Department of Computer Science, the Institute of Philosophy, and the Institute for Language and Communication Studies at RWTH Aachen. It also works within international partnerships with the International Research Training Group "The Neuroscience of Modulating Aggression and Impulsivity in Psychopathology" (IRTG 2150; speaker: Prof. Ute Habel), the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Vienna.

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Publications of Professor Ute Habel, Ph.D.

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