The research group „Cognition & Gender” investigates sensory perception and processing of sensory information in the brain. A focus lays on vision, auditory sense and pain sensation related to gender features, e.g. the cognitive processing of emotional stimuli, like the perceiving of facial expressions. In that context the difference between healthy subjects and e.g. depressed patients is examined. Studying the various dissimilarities between the female and the male brain can improve diagnostic and therapeutic approaches, particularly with regard to the increasing importance of gender differences. A second area of interest is language recognition and learning and memory processes. Again, gender aspects play a important role in this area of research. Are there any differences in female and male cognitive processing? Which influences exert hormones (e.g. meno pause, adolescence), education and age on language processing, learning and memory? Are there any differences in language areas activity between female and male brains when studying functional and hemispheric organisation? Are there any differences in brain metabolism in these areas as depicted by magnetic resonance spectroscopy? Which factors can modulate the brains´ response to given stimuli? Another research field of our group deals with the investigation of basic attention processes and their relevance for the mental “fitness” of elderly people. In this context neurodegenerative diseases of the brain are studied.

The section brain networks and diagnostic modelling focuses on the interaction of distinct brain areas in functionally relevant networks. An important goal of these efforts is to derive diagnostic models for mental and systemic brain disorders by integrating information from multiple brain areas. For this purpose we adopt a range of multivariate data analysis methods.

In this interdisciplinary research group, psychologists, cognitive neuroscientists and medical doctors cooperate closely and thereby a broad range of research methods are used for investigations. Functional MRI (fMRI) is a technique to study the functional differences in cognitive processes under well-defined experimental conditions and visualizes activation brain pattern during different kind of stimulation e.g. such as counting tones. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) is a method to investigate biomechanically important brain metabolites in defined brain areas non-invasively.  Our work is supported by the DFG, the BMBF and the IMF.