Our group studies how aging influences cognition and emotion using behavioral tools, peripheral physiology as well as structural, functional and pharmacological neuroimaging methodologies. We have a major current focus being the differentiation between successful and non-successful aging with respect to emotional health. The latter seems to be maintained by compensatory and adaptive mechanisms in response to age-related life and brain changes. We want to know how the brain contributes to this adaptation and whether/why this adaptation is lacking in non-successful aging like late-life depression. In our current studies, we investigate how emotional resilience in aging but also in younger age is modulated by cognitive and emotional regulation strategies, lifestyle behavior (i.e. weight management) and – as part of the newly established CRC 289 - treatment expectations.
My project explores the effects of the induction of positive expectation, on emotional processing under different attentional states, in healthy young adults, and both healthy older adults and those with Later Life Depression (LLD). In using functional neuroimaging, I will explore the top-down control of emotional inputs as regulated by fronto-limbic systems, and examine how such regulation is modulated as a function of attention, age, and LLD.
Within the SFB-TRR 289 I investigate in what way positive expectations influence emotional processing, focussing on the behaviour of patients with a late life depression (LLD). For this purpose, together with Josh, we combine behavioural paradigms and physical measures with high-resolution imaging techniques. As study physician I am further responsible for medical and psychiatric screening and obtaining informed consent of the participants.
I investigate the metabolic-cognitive control of food choices and long-term dietary success in aging. There is evidence that central insulin may also affect prefrontal networks involved in cognitive control, but whether central insulin impacts on self-control during eating decisions is still unknown. In a crossover, placebo-controlled, double-blind fMRI study, I combine a newly developed self-control paradigm with previously established protocols of intranasal insulin application.
My projects aim is to investigate possible behavioural and neuronal predictors of emotional well-being across the lifespan, with a specific focus on older adults. Therefore, I work on functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) connectivity data combined with behavioural and cognitive tests from the Hamburg City Health Study (HCHS) database with the intent to discover how people can successfully undergo emotional adaptation when confronting late life adversities.
Ronja Alexandra Eppel
Eun Jin Shim
Katrin Giesen, MD Physician
Judith Hettel, M.Sc. Psychology PhD student
Laura Katharina Sasse, Postdoc
Sophia Schneider, Postdoc
Paul Francke, cand. Med. MD student
Lena Tiedemann, M.Sc. Neuroscience PhD student