Direkt zum InhaltDirekt zur SucheDirekt zur Navigation
▼ Zielgruppen ▼

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Lebenswissen­schaftliche Fakultät - Institut für Psychologie

Forschung

 

Was passiert im Gehirn, wenn wir Angst erleben? Wie verändert Psychotherapie das Gehirn? Können wir durch ein besseres Verständnis der Mechanismen auf Ebene des Gehirns unsere psychotherapeutischen Techniken optimieren?

 

Diesen und anderen spannenden Fragen widmen wir uns in unserer Forschung. Unser Ansatz folgt einer bio-behavioralen, grundlagenorientierten Perspektive. Wir verwenden experimentelle Paradigmen, die ein hohes translationales Potential für die Psychotherapieforschung aufweisen, z.B. zum emotional-assoziativen Lernen. Unser Methodenspektrum umfasst bildgebende Verfahren (Magnetresonanztomographie), die wir in einem multimodalen Ansatz mit peripher-physiologischen (Herzrate, Respiration, Hautleitfähigkeit), neuroendokrinen (Speichelcortisol) und (epi)genetischen Daten kombinieren. Wir setzen multivariate Methoden der Mustererkennung im Rahmen des maschinellen Lernens ein, um prädiktive Marker für den individuellen Patienten zu generieren. Unser Schwerpunkt liegt dabei auf einem besseren Verständnis der biopsychologischen und neurowissenschaftlichen Grundlagen normaler und pathologischer Formen von Angst und deren Behandlung mittels expositionsbasierter kognitiver Verhaltenstherapie (KVT).

 

Laufende Forschungsprojekte:

 

Title: Exposure treatment in anxiety disorders: proof of principle of an a priori response prediction approach

Funding: SFB-TRR 58 (Principal Investigator)

Duration: 2016-2020

 

Abstract:

The aim of this project (SFB-TRR 58; C09) is to a priori predict treatment outcome in anxiety disorders following behavioral exposure based on neurobiological measures with high accuracy in a second, independent sample. We will build upon findings from previous mechanistic studies of the CRC and incorporate them into the development of a predictive pattern comprising fear-relevant (epi-) genotypes, neuropsychological, phenotype and neuroimaging markers. Multivariate pattern analyses embedded within a machine learning framework will be used to generate predictions on the individual patient level and to cross-validate markers in a second sample. We expect this project to bridge the translational gap between basic and clinical research and bring stratified medicine approaches into reach as one of the long-term goals of this collaborative research center.

Webpage: https://campus.uni-muenster.de/sfbtrr58/the-project/

 

Title: Gene-environment interactions, neural circuits and generalization in dimensional endophenotypes of fear and anxiety in adults and children: development and reversibility

Funding: SFB-TRR 58 (Principal Investigator)

Duration: 2016-2020

 

Abstract:

In this core project (SFB-TRR 58; Z02) 1.500 adult healthy volunteers as well as 500 adolescent healthy volunteers, first recruited within the 2nd funding period and by now between 12 and 16 years old, will be enrolled or catamnestically evaluated, respectively. Adult and adolescent individuals will be characterized for several anxiety-relevant psychometric measures such as anxiety sensitivity as well as for life events in childhood and adulthood. These individuals will also be genotyped for genetic/epigenetic variation in candidate genes of fear and anxiety as well as on a whole-genome scale. Applying a GxE(xC) approach the complex-genetic basis of dimensional endophenotypes of fear and anxiety in adults and adolescents will be investigated regarding candidate stressors (e.g., childhood trauma, recent negative life events), resilience-increasing coping mechanisms potentially antagonizing stressors and candidate genes, extended by an epigenetic level (DNA methylation). Large-scale meta-analytic neuroimaging analyses both on a dimensional and categorical level will be carried out including multimodal approaches such as “imaging (epi)genetics”. The identification of predictive biomarkers on an (epi)genetic, psychophysiological and neuroimaging level in synopsis with life history data and intra-individual dynamics in the evolution of anxiety and fear is expected to contribute to the development of innovative therapeutic and preventive modules and their individualized application.

Webpage: https://campus.uni-muenster.de/sfbtrr58/the-project/

 

Title: Forschungsnetzwerk Angsterkrankungen: “Providing Tools for Effective Care and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders (AD): Outcomes, Mediators and Moderators of Enhanced Extinction Learning” (PROTECT-AD)

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF; Collaborator)

Duration: 2015-2018

 

Abstract:

All anxiety disorders (AD) share elevations of fear acquisition and deficits in fear extinction, both of which contribute to the persistence of excessive fear. Exposure-based therapy (ET), derived from principles of fear extinction, is the most empirically supported treatment for AD. However, most adult and child AD do not receive treatments that target effective extinction learning, although AD are early onset, prevalent, and without therapy persistent disorders associated with exceedingly high avoidable costs and lifelong clinical-developmental risks. Our established basic and clinical research network translates recent research on fear, anxiety and extinction learning into a modular enriched treatment to augment extinction learning during ET for AD. Based on two RCTs, we hypothesize that providing more exposure trials over a shorter duration (“intensified”) during active therapy and spaced trials in various contexts during follow-up will enhance extinction learning and reduce relapse, leading to stronger, faster and more pervasive outcome effects in subjective, behavioral, physiological, neural and epigenetic indices of fear. Two additional methods for enhancing extinction learning are pa-rental participation (context generalization in child AD, P2) and facilitating positive prediction error. We link the RCT to in-depth experimental paradigms targeting behavioral/psychophysiologic (P3), neural (P4) and (epi)genetic (P5) mediator mechanisms as well as moderators of outcome (i.e. P6) to identify extinction-related mechanisms of treatment. Avoiding traditional transfer barriers and involving stakeholder groups (P7), we expect to provide improved treatment procedures for developmentally targeted care of adult and child AD, and facilitate transfer to routine care.

Webpage: https://psy2.psych.tu-dresden.de/i2/klinische/Studien/protect/index2.html