Research projects in cognitive neuroscience

Here is a selected list of research projects that members of the research group cognitive neuroscience are involved with. We are also offering research projects for students at the Bachelor and Master-level in many of these projects.

The neural basis of Mind Wandering

We all experience moments of inattention when, seemingly, our mind has wandered to a different place entirely. We have “tuned out” of our current activity, we are “day-dreaming”, experiencing an “attentional lapse” or, as scientific folk likes to call it, are engaging in “task-unrelated thoughts”. But what happens in our brain during these periods of inattention? Are we always aware that we are actually dreaming with open eyes?

Non-invasive brain stimulation for the treatment of pain and depression

Non-invasive brain stimulation is an emerging technology where the human brain is stimulated with electric currents applied by electrodes to the skull. These techniques have shown promising results in a variety of psychiatric and somatic diseases including chronic pain and depression.

Sex differences in brain mechanisms of pain and placebo analgesia

Information that a painkiller has been administrated decreases reported pain, and decreases activity in pain related areas of the brain. Expectations of pain relief activate pain inhibitory opioid mechanisms, which reduce the pain signal. Placebo analgesic responses have been found to be stronger in males, suggesting that the pain inhibitory system involved in placebo analgesia is more efficient in males. Findings in support of this are that some analgesics are more efficient in males, and that procedures that activate the pain inhibitory system have greater effect in males. Also, this pain inhibitory mechanism seems to be dysfunctional in patients with chronic pain, where females are overrepresented.

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