People

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Arno Villringer is the director of the Neurology Department of Neurology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the Day Clinic for Cognitive Neurology at the Universitätsklinikum Leipzig. How and why a stroke occurs and how the body recovers from it are the foci of his research.
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Michael Gaebler is a cognitive (neuro)scientist investigating how body-brain-environment interactions relate to mental phenomena and subjective experience. He’s also interested in increasing ecological validity of experiments using ambulatory assessment and virtual reality.
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Mauricio Martins works as a postdoc and is interested in describing the mechanisms underlying the representation of hierarchies in the visual, musical, linguistic and motor domains. Through a series of behavioral and fMRI experiments, his research program aims to describe the neural and cognitive processes of acquisition and expert use of hierarchical representations. By comparing different domains, he hopes to characterize the domain-general and domain specific computations involved in the representation of hierarchical structures, thus obtaining an empirically motivated architecture of human cognition.
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Anahit Babayan
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Miray Erbey is a psychologist with a masters degree in neuroscience. She tries to bring these two research methods together to gain an understanding about how humans behave the way they do. She is especially interested in the positivity bias, which describes preferential attention to positive over negative stimuli and is known to be larger in older adults. In her thesis she combines behavioral measures with physiological measures (i.e., resting state EEG, resting state fMRI, heart rate/blood pressure) to compare younger and older adults with respect to the positivity bias. Additionally, she is interested in knowing how the positivity bias relates to well-being and to inter-individual differences that are related to these two phenomena.
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Stella Kunzendorf is a Medical Student and curious to investigate the dynamic interaction between mind, brain and body. For her doctoral thesis she will research how bodily signals, coming from the heart, modulate processes in our mind and brain – such as perception, feelings and behaviour. Ultimately, she hopes to gain a deeper understanding of how interoceptive information is being integrated with exteroceptive sensory input in order to perceive and act upon world around us.
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Fivos Iliopoulos investigates neurophysiological processes underlying the cerebral processing of somatosensory stimuli using behavioral, EEG and MRI techniques. In an early series of experiments, he studied the interaction between subliminal electrical noise and signal in the brain of intact human subjects, proclaiming the key role of the stochastic resonance phenomenon (Iliopoulos, F., Nierhaus, T., & Villringer, A., 2014 j. neurophysiology). He performed a second series of experiments, focusing on the interaction between electrical pulse signals of different temporal attributes (regular or jittered single pulses and pulse trains of different duration and/or frequencies). Among other findings, a frequency specific plasticity effect mediated by regular monochromatic pulse signals was shown. Currently, he is investigating differences between objective and subjective task performance (alternative forced choice, interval forced choice, biased decision making) with an emphasis on conscious vs non-conscious processing.
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Ahmed Khalil is a physician currently doing neuroscience research as a NeuroCure PhD fellow. His project investigates novel neuroimaging techniques for assessing changes in blood flow following ischemic stroke. An avid science writer, he is chief editor of his graduate program’s newsletter and blogs from time to time.
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Deniz Kumral studied Psychology as bachelor and later completed her master studies in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience at Berlin Freie Universität. Starting from 2015, she became PhD student in Neurology department at Max Planck Institute for Human Brain and Cognitive Science. For her PhD, she is interested in the impact of the physiological (dys)regulation (e.g., allostatic load, heart rate variability), and chronic stress on brain structure and function (e.g. resting state fMRI).
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Esra Al
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Firat Sansal

Collaborators

Zeynep Akbal is a PhD candidate in Media Philosophy. In her philosophically motivated and clinically relevant research, she explores the possible consequences of an alignment with the virtual body in virtual reality. In further steps of her research, she wants to claim that such exposure intervention could be proposed as an alternative treatment which can encourage people to overcome the sense of detachment and feelings of alienation.
Zeynep Akbal is a PhD candidate in Media Philosophy. In her philosophically motivated and clinically relevant research, she explores the possible consequences of an alignment with the virtual body in virtual reality. In further steps of her research, she wants to claim that such exposure intervention could be proposed as an alternative treatment which can encourage people to overcome the sense of detachment and feelings of alienation.
Mert Akbal is a visual artist and researcher working in the field of digital media. His research focuses on oneiric dreams, assuming the dream experience in sleep as an artistic activity. The reconstruction of dream reality in artificial realities, especially in virtual reality, is the main subject in his artworks.
Mert Akbal is a visual artist and researcher working in the field of digital media. His research focuses on oneiric dreams, assuming the dream experience in sleep as an artistic activity. The reconstruction of dream reality in artificial realities, especially in virtual reality, is the main subject in his artworks.