Doctoral candidates 

M&B doctoral candidates

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Name
Supervisor
Doctoral project

Prof. Dr. Jonathan Flombaum

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Retinotopic Mechanics derived using classical physics
Doctoral project Retinotopic Mechanics derived using classical physics
Research area
Description

Despite decades of research, a unifying account of the functional correlates of retinotopic remapping remains elusive. To this end, the aim of my empirical investigation is to provide the first unified mechanistic understanding of the functional consequences of retinotopic remapping. In addition to this, my work also aims to provide the first psychophysical and computational account of what I refer to as the "peri-saccadic curvature of visual space”.

Funding
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Jonathan Flombaum

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Degrees obtained BA (philosophy of history), MSc (psychology conversion), MPhil (specialization in color vision)
Cohort 2015
Status Doctoral candidate
Academia.edu https://hu-berlin.academia.edu/IfedayoEmmanuelAdeyefaOlasupo

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Elisa Filevich PhD

Metacognition of one's own affective states
Doctoral project Metacognition of one's own affective states
Research area
Description

How sure are we of what we feel at a given moment? How much do we know about our emotional reactions? Much has been studied about emotional and metacognitive processing in humans, but not how these two cognitive processes work together. Studies about metacognition of emotion recognition have shown that we do know when we correctly recognise particular emotional states in others, but it remains unknown whether we are also able to do it for our own emotions. My aim is to investigate metacognitive monitoring of our own affective states, whether this ability can be trained via meditation practices, and whether it is impaired in autistic individuals. I plan to do that by comparing subjective reports of emotion with brain and peripheral activity recordings, indicative of emotional responses.

Funding Mind and Brain full scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Elisa Filevich PhD

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Institute Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email paula.alarcon@yahoo.es

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph J. Ploner

Contextual modulation of spatial memory consolidation
Doctoral project Contextual modulation of spatial memory consolidation
Research area
Description

This project aims to investigate whether hippocampal patients show deficits in integrating contextual information into memory-guided navigation. We aim to conduct a spatial navigation experiment in a virtual reality (VR) environment accompanied by electroencephalography (EEG) brain activity measurements to study how contextual factors modulate spatial learning and the corresponding brain activation patterns.

Funding CRC 1315 ‘Mechanisms and Disturbances in Memory Consolidation: From Synapses to Systems‘
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph J. Ploner

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate
Email maria.alcobendas-liern@charite.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Maria-Alcobendas

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Felix Bermpohl

Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt

Neural mechanisms underlying changes in perceptual processing during altered states of consciousness
Doctoral project Neural mechanisms underlying changes in perceptual processing during altered states of consciousness
Research area
Description

Thalamocortical dysconnectivity is observed across various psychopathologies (e.g., migraine aura) and altered states of consciousness (e.g., induced by psychedelic drugs) that involve visual hallucinatory phenomena. In my thesis project, I use flicker light stimulation (FLS), which is an experimental tool to selectively induce visual hallucinations in healthy participants, at varying frequency and rhythmicity to test which components critically contribute to the hallucinatory experience. Further, I use thalamic and visual topographic parcellation atlases to test the effects of FLS on thalamocortical dysconnectivity patterns amongst specific thalamic and cortical subregions and how they link to the visual experience.

Funding Einstein Centre for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Felix Bermpohl

Dr. Timo Torsten Schmidt

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate

Elisa Filevich, PhD

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

Metacognition of action in Parkinson’s disease
Doctoral project Metacognition of action in Parkinson’s disease
Research area
Description

Metacognition is introspection into our own cognitive processes. Up to date, metacognitive research has been focusing on visual and memory domains, with little attention given to the motor domain. Parkinson’s disease (PD) is an interesting case for metacognition of action, as it is characterized not only with motor, but also with cognitive symptoms. Some metacognitive deficits have been observed in PD as well. However, it is not clear how far they extend. In my project, I will first study metacognitive ability in PD. If it is poorer in PD than in healthy participants, it can be a potential point for intervention. Second, I will look how metacognition of action relates to metacognition in other domains. This will inform us about domain-specificity or generality of metacognitive mechanisms.

Funding 65% research position, Freigeist fellowship Elisa Filevich, Volkswagen Stiftung
Supervisors

Elisa Filevich, PhD

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2018
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone 030 / 2093-6266
Email polina.arbuzova@bccn-berlin.de
Homepage https://twitter.com/polinaarb
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Polina_Arbuzova

Prof. Dr. Norbert Kathmann

Prof. Dr. Stephan Brandt

Efficacy of physiological stimulation in modulating neurobiological markers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Doctoral project Efficacy of physiological stimulation in modulating neurobiological markers of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Research area
Description

The aim of my project is to elucidate the role of overactive error monitoring in patients with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Hyperactive error monitoring is one of the most robust psychophysiological alterations in OCD and may qualify as a neurobiological marker for the disorder. In my project, EEG will be used to assess electrophysiological correlates of error processing in patients with OCD. By employing a neurophysiological stimulation technique, I aim to answer the question whether neural correlates of error processing can be modulated in these patients and how this modulation affects obsessive-compulsive symptomatology. The overarching goal of my thesis is to increase our understanding of how specific neurocognitive functions contribute to complex psychopathological symptoms.

Funding Mind and Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Norbert Kathmann

Prof. Dr. Stephan Brandt

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email luisa.balzus@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

Cognition in group rituals
Doctoral project Cognition in group rituals
Research area
Description

Human cognition usually occurs against the backdrop of social interaction; however, experimental psychology research is still confined to solitary lab environments – to address this, I design immersive virtual reality social experiences to investigate changes in perception that occur after ritual participation in groups and explore the cognitive mechanisms underlying our tendencies to cooperate, conform, and compete. Further, my project investigates brain systems that implement the cascade of neural events associated with collective behaviour.

Funding DAAD GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

M&B topics Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Email manisha.biswas@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw Martin Cichy

Can false-belief tasks reveal the motor and predictive basis of mentalizing?
Doctoral project Can false-belief tasks reveal the motor and predictive basis of mentalizing?
Research area
Description Apperly and Butterfill (2013, 2017) suggest that (besides a full-blown theory of mind) exists a minimal-ToM (i.e. implicit theory of mind): a ToM-ability which does not hinge on linguistic or explicit mental processes and should allow tracking other agents’ beliefs without representing their propositional contents. Low et al. (2020)’s implicit false-belief task demonstrates that the motor system activity is a necessary condition for mentalizing implicitly. I hypothesize that its contribution hinges on the instantiation of motor-prediction of potential actions’ end-states; my research project aims to verify this by associating computational methods (i.e. computer simulations of active inferences and generative models) with false-belief tasks and neuroimaging techniques (e.g. fMRI and EEG).
Funding DAAD GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw Martin Cichy

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate

Elisa Filevich, PhD

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Sense of agency within a metacognitive framework
Doctoral project Sense of agency within a metacognitive framework
Research area
Description

The sense of agency is the feeling of intentionally moving our body and through it, controlling the environment. The sense of agency is central to our daily experiences, and dysfunctions of agency are commonly reported in several psychiatric and movement related conditions. In spite of the plethora of studies already conducted to understand the human sense of agency and the neural mechanisms underlying it, there is still no consensus regarding the nature of this experience. This may be due to the diversity in the definitions, experimental paradigms and agency reports employed. This project addresses these problems and aims to provide a unified paradigm and theoretical framework where the different definitions can be tested together and therefore directly compared. We will use a novel experimental paradigm to investigate the sense of agency by systematically modifying its different components (the movement itself vs. it’s effects on the environment). We will also use metacognitive methods that will allow us to remove confounds (most importantly, response biases in subjective measures) that are often present in the typical agency task. Once we validate the paradigm, we will combine it with neurophysiological measures like electroencephalography (EEG) that will allow us to draw distinctions between the different components of agency —if they exist— at the neural level. Together, by unifying different approaches to the study of agency on the one hand, and by framing agency within the broader framework of metacognitive monitoring, this project may help explain the differences between the disparate results existing in the literature, and lay some theoretical grounds to move forwards in the field.

Funding DAAD scholarship
Supervisors

Elisa Filevich, PhD

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Email charalaa@hu-berlin.de
Homepage http://metamotorlab.filevich.com/profile_AngelikiCharalampaki.html

Prof. Dr. York Winter

Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Heinz

Prof. Dr. Randolf Menzel

The value of information in decision-making in nectar-drinking bats
Doctoral project The value of information in decision-making in nectar-drinking bats
Research area
Description Animals have been seen to violate the principles of rationality by choosing informative but low-energy rewards instead of non-informative, high-energy rewards. The question is whether Glossophaga soricina, a nectar-drinking bat which should value both information and energetic reward highly, also behaves irrationally. The free-flying animals will be studied using an electronic operant wall, and hypotheses, explanations and mathematical models underlying their behaviour will be explored.
Funding DAAD scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. York Winter

Prof. Dr. Dr. Andreas Heinz

Prof. Dr. Randolf Menzel

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email shambhavi.chidambaram@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Soyoung Q Park

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

Disturbances in body image and the role of interoception
Doctoral project Disturbances in body image and the role of interoception
Research area
Description

My research focuses on body image, body ownership, interoception and eating behaviours. While body image difficulties have been closely studied alongside disordered eating for a long time, they often do not receive enough attention in eating disorder treatments. This highlights a need for better interventions that can efficiently and pointedly target body image difficulties. The main aim of my project is to better understand body image disturbances and to investigate the interaction between body ownership and interoception, as it relates to eating behaviours. In my research I use virtual reality technology to investigate ways to reduce body image disturbances.

Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Soyoung Q Park

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Institute German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) & Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone + 49 33 200 88 2519
Email stefania.cionca@dife.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Stefania-Cionca

Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren

Dr. Roland Benoit

Role of emotion in future episodic thinking
Doctoral project Role of emotion in future episodic thinking
Research area
Description The focus of my project is towards gaining insights into the link between episodic memories and episodic future thinking. The key questions of my project are: Does the valence of our episodic memories play a significant role in simulating future episodic events? If yes, what are the neural correlates of this past-future link? Can aberrations of this past-future link influence decision-making processes?
Funding DAAD
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren

Dr. Roland Benoit

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email aroma.dabas@hu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Aroma_Dabas
Academia.edu https://mind-and-brain.academia.edu/AromaDabas

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Neural correlates of stereotypes and prejudice
Doctoral project Neural correlates of stereotypes and prejudice
Research area
Description This project examines how social biases are created through both prejudice (affective response) and stereotypes (semantic associations). Some of the essential questions are: Are these dissociable processes with distinct neural networks? Does the brain react similarly or differently across different social divisions? Do stress/arousal affect both processes or just the affective component?
Funding Mind and Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2016
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

How Reward Shapes Neural and Behavioural Responses during Somatosensory Decision Making
Doctoral project How Reward Shapes Neural and Behavioural Responses during Somatosensory Decision Making
Research area
Description

For the longest time, economic and perceptual decisions have been studied from vastly different perspectives. Although, there has been growing interest in integrating both aspects of decision-making, the precise and mechanistic role of reward on perceptual decisions has been scarcely investigated and remains largely unclear.
In my PhD project, I use different neuroimaging techniques to investigate how reward affects the underlying mechanisms of perceptual decisions throughout different contexts and modalities. The applied task disentangles perceptual components from attentional effects on response selection, to find the response-independent influence of reward on perceptual decisions.

Funding M&B seed funding
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Institute Neurocomputation and Neuroimaging Unit / Department of Education and Psychology, Freie Universität Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email marlon.esmeyer@fu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Marlon-Esmeyer

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Consciousness across sensory modalities, expectations, and predictive coding
Doctoral project Consciousness across sensory modalities, expectations, and predictive coding
Research area
Description My project investigates the influence of prior expectations on somatosensory, visual, and auditory awareness from a predictive coding perspective, and attempts to disentangle modality-specific from supra-modal mechanisms of consciousness. Using EEG and fMRI in combination with causal modelling and multivariate pattern analysis, I aim to shed light on the recurrent neural processes presumably underlying both (multi-)sensory consciousness and the top-down signals constantly generated by the predictive brain.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Cohort 2020
Status Doctoral candidate
Email jona.foerster@fu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jona_Foerster

Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Influence of perceptual and reward uncertainty on reward learning
Doctoral project Influence of perceptual and reward uncertainty on reward learning
Research area
Description The project aims at understanding how participants learn and make reward-based decisions under different levels and types of uncertainty. The central question of the project tries to understand if participants use perceptual belief states or categorical biases to learn from reward feedback. It also aims at understanding how these cognitive processes are represented in the brain.
Funding DAAD GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Hauke Heekeren

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2020
Status Doctoral candidate
Email prashantig25@zedat.fu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Prashanti-Ganesh

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Dr. Michael Gaebler

Prof. Dr. Patrick Haggard

The influence of cardiorespiratory phase locking and heart-brain interactions on the sense of agency
Doctoral project The influence of cardiorespiratory phase locking and heart-brain interactions on the sense of agency
Research area
Description

Sense of agency is thought to arise from the successful integration of predicted and observed sensory outcomes of intentional action, including information from one’s own body and the environment. Relatedly, voluntary action initiation appears to be entrained by cardiorespiratory fluctuations, which may provide optimal, predictable windows for either action or perception. Nevertheless, whether and how this coupling between voluntary action and cardiorespiratory signals influences the emergence of a sense of agency is still unclear. Thus, the aim of my doctoral project is to investigate the behavioural relevance and neurophysiology of the link between cardiorespiratory signalling, voluntary action initiation and sense of agency, using behavioural measures and neuroimaging (mainly EEG).

Funding DAAD-GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Dr. Michael Gaebler

Prof. Dr. Patrick Haggard

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig & Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email marta.gerosa@charite.de
Homepage https://www.cbs.mpg.de/employees/gerosa

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Robert Müller

State-dependent enhancement of creative cognition
Doctoral project State-dependent enhancement of creative cognition
Research area
Description Creative cognition involves distinct mental processes that map to multiple brain states across different spatio-temporal scales. To disentangle, we aim to use a brain state dependent task (BSDT) based close loop framework during creative problem solving. BSDT monitors brain states in real time and alters the environment (e.g., presenting a new stimulus) based on target brain state(s); thus, it provides a crucial causal link between specific brain activation pattern(s) and mental processes.
Funding
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Prof. Dr. Klaus-Robert Müller

M&B topics Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Degrees obtained MSc Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience, Goldsmiths University of London
Cohort 2015
Status Doctoral candidate
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Amna_Ghani
Academia.edu https://goldsmiths.academia.edu/AmnaGhani

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Illusory sensation of agency: a deep look into the components forming a feeling of authorship
Doctoral project Illusory sensation of agency: a deep look into the components forming a feeling of authorship
Research area
Description I am looking forward to better understand the neural underpinnings and the associated cognitive models how we are aware of our actions and their consequences. In order to do so, I make use of neuroimaging and computational techniques that will allow me to uncover the neural and cognitive underlying processes of motor and body cognition.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Felix Blankenburg

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Email gianluigi.giannini@fu-berlin.de
Homepage https://www.ewi-psy.fu-berlin.de/en/einrichtungen/arbeitsbereiche/neurocom_neuroimag/team/PhD-Students/g_giannini/index.html

Prof. Dr. Angela Friederici

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

Voice–speech interactions in infant phoneme acquisition
Doctoral project Voice–speech interactions in infant phoneme acquisition
Research area
Description In my PhD project, I investigate phoneme acquisition in infants: The process in which an infant learns which sounds (vowels and consonants) are the relevant building blocks of words in their native language. When acquiring phonemes, infants are presented with a very variable input: Speakers differ widely in how they produce a given phoneme. However, in order to distil meaning, infants need to ignore this speaker variation. Since variability within one speaker is considerably smaller than within a group of speakers, the project investigates whether infants use voice information to distinguish speakers in order to reduce this acoustic variation. Specifically, we will test how the number of speakers and the familiarity of these speakers influence phoneme acquisition by means of EEG and fNIRS.
Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences Berlin
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Angela Friederici

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

M&B topics Topic 3: Language
Cohort 2018
Status Doctoral candidate
Email govaart@cbs.mpg.de
Homepage https://www.cbs.mpg.de/employees/govaart

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Prof. Dr. Hennig Sprekeler

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Top-down interference in human random sequence generation
Doctoral project Top-down interference in human random sequence generation
Research area
Description The ability to generate random or unpredictable behaviour is adaptive but cognitively demanding. It is central e.g. for exploration, improvisation under novel situations, breaking a deadlock when facing indecision and an optimal strategy when a predator’s ability to predict the next move is costly. It has been reliably shown that animals and humans are able to switch into a stochastic mode when it is implicitly advantageous for them. However, when explicitly instructed to produce random response sequences, the performance is significantly worse and resulting sequences departure from randomness in predictable ways. We want to investigate how top-down control processes interfere with the human ability to produce randomness which will aid in understanding whether and how the brain flips a coin.
Funding Mind & Brain Scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Prof. Dr. Hennig Sprekeler

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Email maja.guseva@bccn-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Julia Sacher

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

The Triad of Mind, Brain, and Body: Decoding the Influence of Ovarian Hormones on Immune System, Stress Response, and Depression
Doctoral project The Triad of Mind, Brain, and Body: Decoding the Influence of Ovarian Hormones on Immune System, Stress Response, and Depression
Research area
Description

In my doctoral project, I am investigating the influence of sex hormones on the immune system, the stress response, and depression. Specifically, I will look at the impact of endogenous ovarian hormones, such as fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels across the female menstrual cycle, and exogenous ovarian hormones, for example contained in oral contraceptives. My overarching aim is to improve females’ mental health by contributing to the understanding of sex hormones in health, but also in disease. In my doctoral project, I am investigating the influence of sex hormones on the immune system, the stress response, and depression. Specifically, I will look at the impact of endogenous ovarian hormones, such as fluctuating estrogen and progesterone levels across the female menstrual cycle, and exogenous ovarian hormones, for example contained in oral contraceptives. My overarching aim is to improve females’ mental health by contributing to the understanding of sex hormones in health, but also in disease.

Funding Mind & Brain Scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Julia Sacher

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Max Planck Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Department of Neurology / Universität Leipzig
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate
Email hoffmannk@cbs.mpg.de

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

Dr. Andreas Horn

Transdiagnostic perspectives on connectomic deep brain stimulation
Doctoral project Transdiagnostic perspectives on connectomic deep brain stimulation
Research area
Description

Deep brain stimulation (DBS) unfolds its therapeutic potentials by modulating widespread pathological brain circuits, which are likely symptom- rather than disease-specific. Inspired by emerging transdiagnostic symptom conceptions, within my PhD, I strive to establish predictive models of structural (dMRI-derived) and functional (rsfMRI-derived) symptom network targets associated with beneficial or detrimental stimulation effects within the neuropsychiatric spectrum and across pathologies (e.g., in Parkinson’s disease or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). A resulting high-resolution, neurocircuit-derived taxonomy of DBS effects may be harnessed to personalize surgical targeting via unique blends of symptom networks weighted as a function of phenotypical profiling at the single-subject level.

Funding ECN scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

Dr. Andreas Horn

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Email barbara.hollunder@charite.de
Homepage http://www.netstim.org/
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Barbara_Hollunder

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Prof. Dr. Marianne Maertens

Object continuity through unconscious motion processing in natural vision
Doctoral project Object continuity through unconscious motion processing in natural vision
Research area
Description I investigate the possible unconscious processing of motion that follows the kinematics of saccades (invisible motion) in experimental and natural scenes. I hypothesize that the brain processes this invisible motion in the absence of saccades (during fixation) and without the observer's awareness. If indeed this is the case, it would provide an opportunity to explain object continuity with a novel approach. Additionally, I will also investigate whether natural scene backgrounds facilitate the processing of invisible motion for object continuity. As a final step in the project, I will examine the interaction between semantic congruency and invisible motion perception.
Funding ERC Consolidator Grant of supervisor
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Prof. Dr. Marianne Maertens

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Email melis.ince@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Michael Brecht

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Behavioral and cortical contagion of ticklishness
Doctoral project Behavioral and cortical contagion of ticklishness
Research area
Description
Funding Salaried research position AG Brecht
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Michael Brecht

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2020
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone +49 30 2093 6716
Email lena.kaufmann@bccn-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lena-Kaufmann-4

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Elisa Filevich, PhD

The role of volition and awareness in sense of agency
Doctoral project The role of volition and awareness in sense of agency
Research area
Description

Whenever we perform an action, this action is accompanied by the faint and elusive feeling of being the cause of an event in the outside world. This so-called sense of agency (SoA) is thought to strongly rely on the conscious decision for, as well as the voluntary control over the action. Interested in the role of volition and awareness in sense of agency, I want to examine whether these two components are necessary prerequisites for SoA or whether we can experience agency even in the absence of volitional control and action-awareness. In my PhD project, I plan to investigate this issue by means of very small fixational eye movements that are performed in the absence of voluntary control and awareness but nevertheless bear the potential to influence sense of agency.

Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Elisa Filevich, PhD

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone +49 30 2093-6789
Email jan.klanke@posteo.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jan_Nikolas_Klanke

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Prof. Dr. Werner Sommer

Virtually real cognition? Assessing human cognition in virtual environments
Doctoral project Virtually real cognition? Assessing human cognition in virtual environments
Research area
Description What is the epistemological and ontological status of human cognitions that are elicited in virtual reality (VR) environments? Are they just as real as non-virtual cognitions (Chalmers, 2017)? How much can they tell us about cognition in the “real” world (or vice versa)? Are the underlying processes significantly shaped by the level of presence in the VR? The rise and the propagation of immersive VR technologies poses important questions to the research on mind and brain, and provides a new quiver of tools to approach traditional issues of the cognitive sciences. During my doctoral project I want to examine these tools and their interaction with our cognition. I will use virtual environments with different degrees of immersion, behavioural measures, and neuroimaging techniques (EEG/fNIRS).
Funding BMBF Project
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Prof. Dr. Werner Sommer

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email felix_klotzsche@web.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Felix_Klotzsche
Academia.edu https://hu-berlin.academia.edu/FelixKlotzsche

Prof. Dr. Christine Heim

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Experience-driven plasticity of the genital somatosensory field
Doctoral project Experience-driven plasticity of the genital somatosensory field
Research area
Description A variety of studies demonstrated that different forms of childhood maltreatment are associated with regionally highly-specific cortical thinning, precisely affecting areas that are critical to the perception and processing of behaviors implicated in the type of adversity. With the aim of getting insights into the neurobiological underpinnings of decreased cortical representation of the genital somatosensory field after exposure to childhood sexual abuse (CSA), we will (1) examine the relationship between sexual behavior and cortical thickness of the genital field in healthy, non-abused female adults with precise location of the field using fMRI, and (2) investigate cortical organization in this field in adult women with and without CSA, depending on sexual behavior and sexual dysfunction.
Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Christine Heim

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

M&B topics Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email andrea.knop@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Friedemann Paul

Differences in functional and structural brain alterations between aquaporin-4-antibody-positive and aquaporin-4-antibody-negative neuromyelitis optica
Doctoral project Differences in functional and structural brain alterations between aquaporin-4-antibody-positive and aquaporin-4-antibody-negative neuromyelitis optica
Research area
Description Neuromyelitis optica is an autoimmune disease that primarily manifests itself in inflammation of optic nerves and spinal cord. It is mostly caused by antibodies for aquaporin-4, a water channel protein found in central nervous system. However, some patients repeatedly test negative for the presence of this antibody. In my project, I compare the structural and functional imaging data, as well as measures of mood and cognitive functioning between these two groups of patients. This will help us understand how different antibodies can bring about alterations not only in brain structure, but also in what are traditionally considered to be purely psychological phenomena.
Funding Elsa Neumann scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Friedemann Paul

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email komnenicd@gmail.com
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Darko_Komnenic

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

t.b.a.

Doctoral project
Research area
Description
Funding
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

t.b.a.

M&B topics
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw Cichy

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Perceptual decisions for fast motor responses under uncertainty
Doctoral project Perceptual decisions for fast motor responses under uncertainty
Research area
Description In my PhD-project I am looking into the links between perception and action. The project investigates, how fast new information can be integrated into an ongoing motor plan. In particular, I will look at motor plans in different movement effectors (eyes, hands) and compare the perceptual processes feeding into these movement plans. For my PhD project, I use psychophysical methods combined with eye- and motion-tracking.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw Cichy

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone 030/2093-4864
Email clara.kuper@posteo.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Clara_Kuper

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Grounded cognition in L1 and L2: the role(s) of iconicity during non-linguistic tasks
Doctoral project Grounded cognition in L1 and L2: the role(s) of iconicity during non-linguistic tasks
Research area
Description

Can you detect the presence of a cat faster if you a word or a sound? How similar to the cry of cat would the word have to be to help the most? The goal of the project is to use behavioural and brain imaging techniques to compare the processing of onomatopoeia by native and non-native speakers. Onomatopoeia are words which imitate the natural sound they refer to, for example “boom”, so they are particularly suited to test the grounded (or embodied) cognition theory which postulates the activation of our perceptuo-motor system during language processing. Such an activation will first be tested through a continuous flash suppression design (i.e., visual detection task while the target goes from fully invisible to progressively visible) for onomatopoeia, arbitrary words and natural sounds both by native and non-native speakers. The results will be informative on whether onomatopoeia facilitate non-linguistic cognition or not, with applications from art and entertainment (e.g., making virtual reality games or written works more immersive) to fundamental communication support (e.g., international inter-comprehension, foreign language learning, native (L1) and/or foreign language (L2) acquisition with a language and/or sensory disorder…).

Funding Mind & Brain 2023-2024
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 3: Language
Institute Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institute of Psychology
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Katja Wingenfeld

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Stress recovery as a resilience factor: neurobiological determinants of an adaptive recovery from stress
Doctoral project Stress recovery as a resilience factor: neurobiological determinants of an adaptive recovery from stress
Research area
Description

We will investigate interindividual differences in the recovery from a psychosocial stressor (trier social stress test) in a sample of healthy individuals and healthy individuals at risk for developing psychopathology. We want to characterize an adaptive stress recovery both from a biological (including immune-, hormonal-, and physiological parameters) and behavioural perspective (including tasks relevant for psychiatric disorders) in order to contribute to a better understanding of what makes some people resilient during exposure to significant stressors and what makes others vulnerable.

Funding Mind and Brain Scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Katja Wingenfeld

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Institute Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

Mechanisms and disturbances in spatial memory consolidation
Doctoral project Mechanisms and disturbances in spatial memory consolidation
Research area
Description In my PhD project, I want to investigate the temporal dynamics of spatial learning and memory consolidation. I will develop 3D virtual navigation tasks to examine (1) potentially disturbing effects of anaesthetics on the early consolidation phase, (2) alterations in spatial learning and consolidation in neurological patient groups (e.g. ALS, MTL resection) and (3) the neural dynamics of spatial memory consolidation in healthy subjects over time with fMRI.
Funding SFB 1315 doctoral research position
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Email patrizia.maier@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Functional connectivity profiles and relational memory deficits in patients with limbic encephalitis
Doctoral project Functional connectivity profiles and relational memory deficits in patients with limbic encephalitis
Research area
Description In my PhD project I investigate resting-state functional connectivity in patients with autoimmune diseases of the brain. First, I want to use resting-state fMRI data to identify a patient's disease earlier than usual based on functional connectivity measures. Secondly, I will examine functional connectivity differences in distinct variants of autoimmune encephalitis and their effect son cognitive functioning. Thirdly, I will assess relational memory in patients with limbic autoimmune encephalitis as a model for bilateral hippocampal damage. The goal of my PhD project is to facilitate clinical diagnostics using fMRI, help to elucidate differences in autoimmune encephalitis variants and generate knowledge about both the processing of relational memory and the effects of functional connectivity variations on cognition in the human brain.
Funding Mind and Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2016
Status Doctoral candidate
Email mantwill.m@googlemail.com

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

The effects of affective salience and prior probability in binocular rivalry
Doctoral project The effects of affective salience and prior probability in binocular rivalry
Research area
Description If perception is a result of probabilistic inference, how is that we may come to perceive objects of behavioural importance that may be relatively rare? Using predictive coding as a theoretical framework, this project proposes that the behavioural significance of an object may be encoded via its affective salience, which may act as a source of top-down modulation in perceptual inference. To investigate this, a binocular rivalry study will be conducted to investigate how affective salience and prior probability interact in the formation of visual percepts, while a follow-up fMRI study will be conducted to probe how these different processes may be represented in the brain.
Funding DAAD International Scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2019
Status Doctoral candidate
Email joshua.martin2902@gmail.com

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Elisa Filevich, PhD

Detection of causality for the visual consequences of saccades
Doctoral project Detection of causality for the visual consequences of saccades
Research area
Description As we explore our environment, our eyes constantly move around. Saccades, i.e., rapid gaze shifts that relocate a point of interest in the scene onto the fovea, are the most frequent kind of eye movement. Due to their high velocity, saccades briefly disrupt the visual input by creating motion blur. These immediate visual consequences of saccades are usually not (consciously) perceived, though they might still be processed. To process them correctly, external motion of objects in the world must be distinguished from motion caused by our own eye movements. I would like to explore the idea that — because saccades exhibit stereotypic kinematic profiles — the visual input they produce is sufficient to distinguish motion in the world from motion caused by our own eye movements.
Funding ERC Consolidator Grant supervisor
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

Elisa Filevich, PhD

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Email wiebke.noerenberg@hu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Wiebke-Noerenberg

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

Linguistic and non-linguistic context effects on language processing in native and non-native speakers
Doctoral project Linguistic and non-linguistic context effects on language processing in native and non-native speakers
Research area
Description Event representations and morpho-syntactic violations of tense/aspect distinctions. I use EEG and Eye Tracking to investigate on-line processing and prediction of events based on grammatical tense/aspect forms. The main aim is to investigate how morphological verb forms and semantic time reference interact and affect how we perceive events and process temporal relations. A secondary aim is to see how this differs between groups with diverse linguistic profiles.
Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

M&B topics Topic 3: Language
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Prof. Dr. Gabriel Curio

Dr. Gunnar Waterstraat

Predicting time perception during auditory stimulation by computational and dopaminergic modulations
Doctoral project Predicting time perception during auditory stimulation by computational and dopaminergic modulations
Research area
Description Time perception is a fluctuating process considerably determined by exogenous (environmental complexity) and endogenous (dopaminergic processing) factors. In line with the Neural Magnitude approach, I assume that the level of neural synchronization to temporally structured auditory stimuli (EEG) is predictive of distortions in perceptual time making it possible to establish a causal relationship between rhythmic complexity, temporal processing in the brain and perceptual time using advanced statistical learning and mediation analyses. Indirectly manipulating frontostriatal dopaminergic activity (TBS) will finally inform us whether non-invasive interventions could be developed for patients on the Schizotypal spectrum, showing aberrancies in dopaminergic processing and perceptual time.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Prof. Dr. Gabriel Curio

Dr. Gunnar Waterstraat

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2020
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

Memory independent spatial navigation in clinical and experimental settings
Doctoral project Memory independent spatial navigation in clinical and experimental settings
Research area
Description In my doctoral project, I will study impaired and unimpaired memory independent topographical orientation in old age. I developed an assessment, which integrates core cognitive processes of navigation like mental rotation, sense of direction and the synchronisation of ego- and allocentric perspective, without the necessity for subjects to memorise routes or landmarks. I intend to use this tool, to differentiate between subjects with and without difficulties in topographical orientation and to explore neural activation patterns in successful vs. insufficient orientation using fMRI. Building on these findings, I plan to study the effects of enhanced excitability of neurons in regions that are involved in successful orientation on behavioural performance in navigation with tDCS.
Funding Mind and Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Radoslaw M. Cichy

M&B topics Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2017
Status Doctoral candidate
Email sophia.rekers@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Christoph Möllers

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Prof. Dr. Tade Spranger

Fixing broken brains – The human right to mental self-determination of legally incompetent persons in favor of or against psychiatric neurosurgery
Doctoral project Fixing broken brains – The human right to mental self-determination of legally incompetent persons in favor of or against psychiatric neurosurgery
Research area
Description In my PhD thesis standard questions like the legal requirements for the information duties of doctors and the need for the ascent of legally incompetent persons will be discussed. The focus will lie on relatively new issues like the possibilities of psychiatric patients to obtain PNS without or against their proxy’s consent (when patient prefers PNS over other medical treatment or detention). Moreover, the thesis will contain suggestions as to the establishment of an effective control system (monitoring patient care, study setup and outcomes). In an outlook, I will address the regulation of legally relevant behavior induced by functional and/or psychiatric neurosurgery (buying binge, gambling addiction, criminal behavior, …) and the possibility of applying PNS beyond the strictly clinical setting.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Christoph Möllers

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Prof. Dr. Tade Spranger

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Degrees obtained 1. juristisches Staatsexamen, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; Maitrise en droit (international law), Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas; Licence en droit (law of the European Union), Université Paris II Panthéon-Assas
Cohort 2015
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone +49 (0) 173 7028358
Email lucia.reuter@posteo.de
Homepage http://mindandbrain.charite.de/en/people/team_rg_mab/lucia_reuter/
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lucia_Reuter

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

Temporal complexity of resting-state signals: capturing the dynamics of spontaneous brain activity
Doctoral project Temporal complexity of resting-state signals: capturing the dynamics of spontaneous brain activity
Research area
Description In my PhD project, I investigate the temporal dynamics of resting-state brain signals in patients with autoimmune disease and in pharmacologically induced models. My current focus is thalamo-cortical functional connectivity in MS. I will next systematically compare several methods of assessing brain signal complexity and later apply this method in two groups: patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and healthy persons during ketamine infusion. Although these groups have divergent etiologies, they display common cognitive symptoms and share a neurobiological target: the NMDA receptor. If convergent alterations in network dynamics are found, this study will provide insight into the relationship between brain dynamics and cognitive symptoms related to glutamatergic system dysfunction.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Philipp Sterzer

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2020
Status Doctoral candidate
Email amy.romanello@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Soyoung Q Park

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Circadian rhythms, mealtime and their influence on decision-making
Doctoral project Circadian rhythms, mealtime and their influence on decision-making
Research area
Description

My research investigates circadian rhythms and human decision-making. Specifically, I am interested in the relationship between food intake, circadian rhythms and cognition.

Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Soyoung Q Park

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute German Institute of Human Nutrition (DIfE) & Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email lara.ryan@charite.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Lara-Ryan-2

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

Structural and functional MRI abnormalities associated with cognitive dysfunction in post-COVID syndrome
Doctoral project Structural and functional MRI abnormalities associated with cognitive dysfunction in post-COVID syndrome
Research area
Description For more than two years now, COVID-19 has had a major impact on all our lives. At the same time significant progress has been made in diagnosis, treatment, and disease prevention. However, while most patients seem to fully recover from COVID-19, a considerable number of patients suffer from persistent symptoms even months after their infection. Among these symptoms, cognitive dysfunction is particularly prevalent, including attention and memory deficits. Despite tremendous research efforts, the etiology of the so-called post-COVID syndrome remains elusive. In my PhD project I am going to investigate the potential neural bases of the cognitive dysfunction in patients who suffer from post-COVID syndrome by applying functional and structural MRI together with neuropsychological testing.
Funding
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

M&B topics Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

Dynamic functional connectivity in patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
Doctoral project Dynamic functional connectivity in patients with anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis
Research area
Description My project aims to investigate temporal dynamics of functional connectivity in patients with autoimmune encephalitis. Two main hypotheses will be tested (a) do patients show symptomatic patterns of dynamic functional connectivity that distinguishes them from healthy controls? and (b) do these alterations account for the patients’ compromising long-standing memory deficits?
Funding Cusanuswerk
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke

Prof. Dr. Christoph Ploner

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2018
Status Doctoral candidate
Email nina.schwanenflug@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Katja Wingenfeld

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

Neurobehavioural analysis of moral reasoning in borderline personality disorder
Doctoral project Neurobehavioural analysis of moral reasoning in borderline personality disorder
Research area
Description

Understanding moral decision-making is a crucial component of social interaction. My doctoral thesis aims to explore moral decision-making by integrating behavioural and neurophysiological methods in borderline personality disorder (BPD), a group characterized by complex interpersonal dynamics. Using ERPs and initial assessments for emotional arousal, theory of mind, and inhibitory control, I aim to identify social cognition deficits in BPD. The study uses a dual method: cross-sectional comparison of BPD subjects and controls, and a longitudinal analysis of moral cognition changes before and after 12 weeks dialectical behaviour therapy. This novel approach could shed light on neurocognitive underpinnings of social functioning in BPD, considering psychophysiological nuances of the disorder.

Funding DAAD-GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Katja Wingenfeld

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Institute Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate
Email buket.sen@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

Putting decision models of Libet-style experiments to a test
Doctoral project Putting decision models of Libet-style experiments to a test
Research area
Description Traditional interpretation of the results in the Libet-style experiments has challenged the existence of free will. Responding to this challenge, there are recent decision models suggesting alternative interpretations to those results. The current project aims at testing the validity of these models with the integration of behavioural and neuroimaging approaches. By validating these models, it would enrich our understanding to the psychological and neural mechanism behind volition, as well as provide hints to resolve the debate about free will in cognitive neuroscience.
Funding DAAD-GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Email shumyuhe@hu-berlin.de
Researchgate https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yu-Shum

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmidt

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

Emotions as a source of moral knowledge
Doctoral project Emotions as a source of moral knowledge
Research area
Description Recent empirical research in moral psychology has underscored the importance of emotions in determining either all or some class of our moral judgments. This can be taken to justify skepticism with regards to the truth of such judgments. My project aims to explore the empirical underpinnings of moral emotions with the goal of ascertaining whether they can function as legitimate evidence for moral judgment and belief. Taking my cue from research in the model-based learning mechanisms involved in generating and refining emotional reactions, I will investigate whether moral emotions are also the upshot of such learning, and whether this can be a way of vindicating emotions as a source of moral knowledge.
Funding Elsa Neumann Stipendium des Landes Berlin
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Thomas Schmidt

Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2018
Status Doctoral candidate
Email sofronir@hu-berlin.de
Academia.edu https://hu-berlin.academia.edu/RazvanSofroni

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

Why not only the nose is getting longer: Behavioral and neurocognitive investigations on speech production during lying
Doctoral project Why not only the nose is getting longer: Behavioral and neurocognitive investigations on speech production during lying
Research area
Description

Although lying is a fundamental element of human social communication, the underlying cognitive processes are mainly unknown. Therefore, the objective of this project is to investigate the verbalization processes of lying using behavioral and EEG measurements. Aiming to create an ecologically valid situation within the laboratory (or in an online context), the lies will be embedded in social contexts encouraging spontaneous lying. Guided by current models of deception and speech production research, I will investigate which cognitive processes are modulated when a lie is verbalized, how emotions influence the production processes, and whether the truth is lexically coactive during the production of a lie. Thereby, I hope to improve the understanding of natural (everyday) lies.

Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Rasha Abdel Rahman

Prof. Dr. Pia Knoeferle

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 3: Language
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Phone (030) 2093-9442
Email kirsten.stark@hu-berlin.de

Prof. Dr. Fabian Klostermann

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

The eye as a biomarker and treatment target for cognitive impairment in Parkinson's Disease and related conditions
Doctoral project The eye as a biomarker and treatment target for cognitive impairment in Parkinson's Disease and related conditions
Research area
Description

As part of the brain, the eye might open a window to cognitive processing in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease (PD). My PhD aims to investigate cognitive processing in patients with PD by means of biomarkers such as eye-tracking and pupillometry. Building on the results of these physiological markers, a non-invasive treatment option using blue-enriched light stimulation is planned. By offering timing signals to restore the inner clock, my PhD aims to help improve cognitive impairment, a key symptom in PD.

Funding Mind and Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Fabian Klostermann

Prof. Dr. Martin Rolfs

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email oliver.steiner@charite.de
Homepage https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliverleopoldsteiner/

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

Manipulating free will beliefs through immersive Virtual Reality experiences
Doctoral project Manipulating free will beliefs through immersive Virtual Reality experiences
Research area
Description For the past 20 years, there has already been quite some research within social and cognitive psychology experimentally inducing disbelief in free will and assessing its impact on behavior. In these studies, a text or video based manipulation was used, claiming that free will does not exist. More recently, a number of replication studies using these classical free will belief manipulations have failed to find an impact on downstream processes. Therefore, in this project, we would like to tap into a more immersive manipulation of these beliefs, creating a Virtual Reality experience where participants question the sense of agency they have over their actions, and see what impact this could have on their belief in free will.
Funding Mind & Brain scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen

M&B topics Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Cohort 2021
Status Doctoral candidate
Doctoral project
Research area
Description
Funding Einstein Center for Neurosciences
Supervisors
M&B topics
Cohort 2023
Status Doctoral candidate

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

Prof. Dr. Fabian Klostermann

Dr. Roxanne Lofredi

Fibre-specific neuromodulation to probe the influence of the response inhibition network in both cognitive and motor deficits
Doctoral project Fibre-specific neuromodulation to probe the influence of the response inhibition network in both cognitive and motor deficits
Research area
Description

In Parkinsonian patients, Deep Brain Stimulation is a common treatment used to alleviate rigidity and bradykinetic symptoms. However, the stimulation can induce side effects, both at the motor and cognitive levels. These side effects could arise from the non-voluntary stimulation of fibre tracts from the response inhibition network, involved in motor suppression and impulsive behaviors regulation. By using directional DBS and neuroimaging, the aim of the project is to probe the influence of this network at the motor and cognitive levels.

Funding DAAD-GSSP scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Andrea Kühn

Prof. Dr. Fabian Klostermann

Dr. Roxanne Lofredi

M&B topics Topic 1: Perception, attention, consciousness
Topic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Institute Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin / Movement Disorders and Neuromodulation Unit
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email juliette.vivien@charite.de

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Dr. Myriam Sander

Prof. Dr. Ben Eppinger

Developmental Differences in Memory Encoding during Experiential and Observational Learning
Doctoral project Developmental Differences in Memory Encoding during Experiential and Observational Learning
Research area
Description

My project aims to apply a neurocomputational approach to investigate whether experiential and observational learning differ in their effect on memory encoding and whether these differ across development. Participants will perform a task involving experiential and observational learning trials and will be subsequently tested on recognition memory of the visual stimuli used in the learning task. To check for possible memory differences behavioral performance and neural activity (EEG) will be analyzed and compared between experiential and observational learning as well as between adults and children. Further, computational modeling will be employed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of how both learning types affect memory encoding and if these differ across development.

Funding Einstein Foundation Berlin; Greifwald Univ.; external scholarship
Supervisors

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass

Dr. Myriam Sander

Prof. Dr. Ben Eppinger

M&B topics Topic 2: Decision-making
Topic 4: Brain plasticity and lifespan ontogeny
Topic 6: Social cognition / human sociality and the brain
Institute Social Intelligence Lab, Department of Psychology, Humboldt University of Berlin
Cohort 2022
Status Doctoral candidate
Email maria.woitow@hu-berlin.de