Development of cognitive functions (Cognitive Development)
The aim of the study group is to research and characterize the typical brain maturation as well as possible deviations of this maturation in neuropsychiatric disorders during childhood and adolescence.
In particular, it is our effort to get a better understanding of influential factors of the brain maturation (i.e. genetic and hormonal factors as well as environmental influences on the structural and functional organization of the brain). In order to develop specific and age-appropriate interventions on a long-term base, we further study the mechanisms of neural plasticity of the developing brain. The clinical focus of our research is on ADHD and autism, as well as on specific learning disabilities (i.e. dyslexia, dyscalculia), tics and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Within this line, we are focusing on cerebral dysfunctions and the treatment options in the context of psychotherapeutic as well as psychopharmacological interventions.
To be able to identify deviations from typical brain maturation, it is essential to have precise descriptions of the typical brain maturation in typically developing children and adolescents. Here the focus is on the development of cognitive and affective regulation abilities of attention skills and empathy. In addition to neuropsychological methods, gaze behavior analyses, functional and structural MRI, EEG and psychophysiological measures are applied.