Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie

Methods

Neuroscience Methods

 

Our Behavioral Neuroscience Toolbox

Our methodological focus is on computer-based behavioral testing, electrophysiology, and functional neuroimaging. However, on occasion, we also use endocrinological measures, eye-tracking, or computational modeling to better understand how the brain works in health and disease.

 

behavioral tests

 

    

e.g. Ballon-Analog-Risk Task (BART)                           We like a simple technical set-up ;-)

 

To investigate cognitive, motivational, or affective process in patients, we confront them with different computer-based tasks which elicit the process of interest. Most of the time, we combine these tests with electrophysiological measures or neuroimaging to investigate the neuronal mechanism involved in the process of interest. Most of the programming is done using PsychoPy, Inquisit, presentation, or e-Prime.

 
 

computational modeling

 

    

Delay Discounting                                                        Optimization

Computational modeling enables us to investigate internal psychological variables like expactations or preferences as well as interindividual differences in impulsivity, reward sensitivity, or other "hidden" parameters. To fit methematical models to data sets, we use the optimization toolbox in Matlab and custom made Python programs.

 

psychophysiology

 

    

Stress, craving, emotions and many other psychological processes go along with specific physiological changes. Hence, physiological parameters provide us with a way to non-reactively and non-invasively measure changes in the intensity of psychological processes. The Nexus-10 MKII is a mobile amlifier, which we use in clinical contexts - bedsite or ambulant - to measure ECG, EDA, breathing, etc... For teaching purposes and student projects we use a BioPac Student Lab Pro System.

 

electroencephalography

 

   

The high temporal resolution of electroencephalography makes it an invaluable tool to measure the timing of cognitive processes in order to disentangle different processes and reveal impaired processing. Moreover, electroencephalography allows us to determine different brain states associated with sleep, relaxation, alertness, and so on. In our lab, we use a SynAmp 64 RT amplifier to measure the spontaneous electroencephalogram and event-related potentials.

functional neuroimaging

 

     

In recent years, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has become a mulit-tool capable of high resolution structural and functional imaging as well as spectroscopic analysis of brain tissue. We use fMRI not only to analyze task-related processes but also to observe the brain while it is supposedly doing nothing (resting-state). In cooperation with the University Hospital Schleswig-Holstein Campus Kiel, we conduct studies with a 3T Philips Achieva scanner.

 

eye-tracking

 

   

The human pupil does not only react to light. The width of the pupil also reflects cognitive and emotional processes. Although event-related pupil activity is slower than event-related electroencephalographic activity, pupil activity has a much better signal-to noise ratio than EEG so that fewer trials are often sufficient to see differences between experimental conditions. Our in-house software PPal allows us to perform all basic analysis steps like epoching, filtering, artifact rejection, averaging, and export of measures. PPal is programmed in Matlab and will be available to other researchers soon.