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Image: Janine Wirkner

Welcome to the Division of Biological Psychology and Affective Science

Our research focuses on the interplay between emotion, attention, and memory. We are particularly interested in the mechanisms underlying formation and retrieval of emotional memories and emotional associates (e.g., neutral cues associated with emotional events) using peripherphysiological and neuroscience measures (ERPs and fMRI). Furthermore, this research also involves the study of factors mediating these processes, such as stress, anticipatory anxiety, retrieval context (i.e., intentional or spontaneous remembering) and inter-individual differences (e.g., aging). We recently started studies on neurostimulation (transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation) to change already existing memory representations.

We are also interested in visual attention to social and phobic stimuli and in the dynamics of the emotional defensive (and appetitive) system in the face of proximate threat (or reward).

Overarching goal is to translate basic findings on neural mechanisms associated with emotional and contextual stimuli processing and memories to clinical populations (e.g., anxiety disorders, trauma- and stressor-related disorders and mood disorders).




Ventura-Bort, C., Wirkner, J., Genheimer, H., Wendt, J., Hamm, A. O., & Weymar, M. (2018). Effects of transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) on the P300 and alpha-amylase level: A pilot study. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 12:202.

Fischer, R., Ventura-Bort, C., Hamm, A. O., & Weymar, M. (2018). Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) enhances conflict-triggered adjustment of cognitive control. Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Neuroscience, 18, 680-693.

Weymar, M., Bradley, M. M., Sege, C. T., & Lang, P. J. (2018). Neural activation and memory for natural scenes: Explicit and spontaneous retrieval. Psychophysiology, e13197, 1-12.

Wirkner, J., Schulz, P., Ventura-Bort, C., Hamm, A. O, & Weymar, M. (2018). Event-related potentials of emotional and neutral memories: The role of encoding position and delayed testing. Psychophysiology, 55: e13069, 1-12.

Wendt, J., Weymar, M., Junge, M., Hamm, A. O., & Lischke, A. (2018). Heartfelt memories: Cardiac vagal tone correlates with increased memory for untrustworthy faces. Emotion. (19. Oktober 2017, Epub ahead of print)

Lang, P. J., Herring, D. R., Duncan, C., Richter, J., Sege, C. T., Weymar, M., Limberg, A., Hamm, A. O., & Bradley, M. M. (2018). The startle evoked potential: Negative affectivity and severity of pathology in anxiety/mood disorders. Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging, 3, 626-634.

Lischke, A., Junge, M., Hamm, A. O., & Weymar, M. (2018). Enhanced processing of untrustworthiness in natural faces with neutral expressions. Emotion18, 181-189.

Wieser, M., Hambach, A., & Weymar, M. (2018). Neurophysiological correlates of an attentional bias for emotional faces in socially anxious individuals – Evidence from a visual search task and N2pc. Biological Psychology, 132, 192-201.

Ventura-Bort, C., Dolcos, F., Wendt, J., Wirkner, J., Hamm, A. O., & Weymar, M. (2017). Item and source memory for emotional associates is mediated by different retrieval processes: An ERP study. Neuropsychologia. (12. Dezember 2017, Epub ahead of print)