Research

Cognitive Psychology (Theeuwes, Olivers)

The research of the Cognitive Psychology group is focused around the general theme of “Attention and Performance”.  There are several themes such as top-down and bottom-up control of visual selection, reward processing, neurobiological models of eye movement control, the relationship between attention and memory, attention and emotion, working memory, novelty processing. To investigate these issues different approaches and techniques are used such as psychophysical measures, eye movement recording, EEG, MEG and fMRI recording, Deep Brain Stimulation, patient studies (Parkinson’s) and neural network modeling.  The group currently holds one advanced ERC (Theeuwes) one consolidator ERC (Olivers), among smaller grants for basic science (including four ORA grants).

Social and Organizational Neuroscience (Van Lange, Van Vugt)

The aim of the Social and Organizational Neuroscience group is to gain knowledge about human social and organizational decision making. The research program covers three themes: Trust, leadership, and cooperation (TLC). The research focuses specifically on understanding human cooperation as determined by social, psychological, biological, evolutionary, and cognitive processes. Research methods include behavioral experiments, observations, virtual reality, questionnaires, pharmacology, and fMRI. The group currently holds one ERC starting grant (Balliet), two VENIS (Pollet, Righetti), and several other grants from NWO (Van Lange, Van Prooijen, Van Vugt), Templeton (Van Lange, Pollet), PRORaak (Maas & Van Vugt) as well as various industrial partners.

Educational Neuroscience (Krabbendam)

The aim of the Educational Neuroscience group is to further fundamental knowledge of cognitive development. The research program covers three themes: social-cognitive processes (empathy, perspective-taking, trust); self-control (inhibition, switching, mindset); and reading. The research focuses specifically, though not exclusively, on challenges to learning due to biological, cognitive, psychological, social or cultural factors. Research methods include observation, questionnaires, behavioural and neuropsychological tests, EEG and fMRI. The group currently holds one VICI (Krabbendam), one VENI (Fett), several grants within the FES program Learning, as well as several smaller grants (NWO/PROO).

Clinical Neuropsychology (Scherder, Oosterlaan)

The Clinical Neuropsychology group focuses on the relationship between physical activity, behaviour (cognition, sleep-wake rhythm, and mood) and pain perception in premature born children, children and adolescents with developmental disorders (e.g. ADHD), older persons without a cognitive impairment and in people with a cognitive impairment (dementia, intellectual disability). More specifically, research explores the way motor activity, for example participation in a physical activity program may improve cognitive functioning (e.g. executive functioning and memory) and how physical activity affects the underlying neural substrate. Next to physical activity, also the effects of neurofeedback and pharmacotherapy on cognition and behaviour of children is a focus of research.  Another focus of this group is on pain perception and how the decline in cognitive processing may result in an alteration in the experience  of pain in people with a cognitive impairment . Additional lines of research include 1) the relationship between motor activity and cognition in children, highly talented in some type of sport, e.g. soccer; 2) the effects of various types of music on cognition and behaviour over the lifespan, i.e. both children and adults, and 3) the effect of the prison environment on cognition and behaviour of prisoners, both in a ‘normal’ prison and in specialized psychiatric wards, and 4) neuro-endocrinology.

Sensorimotor control  (Smeets, Kappers)

The aim of the sensorimotor control group is to gain insight in the interplay between sensory information in various modalities (vision, proprioception, touch) and movement: how does sensory information guide our movements, and how does our motor activity shapes perception. The research focuses especially on variability and learning. Research methods include psychophysics, virtual environments, movement registration and mathematical modeling. The group currently holds one VENI (Plaisier), and various grants from STW (Kappers, Smeets), NWO (Brenner, ORA+), and EU (Brenner, Marie Curie ITN)

Neural information transfer (Daffertshofer, Beek)

The coordination dynamics group has expertise in the mathematical modeling of complex dynamics in biological systems using nonlinear dynamics and synergetics. The research agenda includes various studies on the stability and variability of coordinated movement in relation to its neuromuscular control. This covers the analysis of kinematic, electromyographic, M/EEG data alike. Next to HD-EMG and EEG system, a whole-head MEG (Neuromag Elekta) is available through close collaboration with the Dept. Clinical Neurophysiology, VU medical center. Current focus there is on functional recovery post stroke and accompanying neural plasticity (EU 4D-EEG) The current research focuses on the interplay of deterministic and stochastic aspects of neural dynamics, phase transitions in rhythmic movements and accompanying patterns of cortical activity in young and elderly (Daffertshofer, Peper, Roerdink, Stins, Erasmus Mundus MOVE-AGE), and more general aspects of neural synchronization in large networks (Daffertshofer, EU-Marie Curie ITN).

Perceptual motor control (Savelsbergh)

This research program focuses on how perceptual-motor control at the different time scales of development, learning, and peak performance is brought about by the constraints on the actor-environment system. At the different time scales, particular changes in the interaction between the constraints may act as rate-limiting factors in the emergence and mastering of perceptual-motor coordination. By manipulating these constraints in experimental settings, descriptions and explanations are deduced to what constraints are involved and how they induce perceptual-motor coordination at the different time scales. The main focus is on the interaction between the task (e.g., object properties, task instructions) and organismic constraints (e.g., brain damage, anxiety, stress) with special emphasis on the use of perceptual information. The group currently holds NWO Rubicon (Mann); NOC*NSF (Koedijker); International Para-olympic Committee (Mann & Ravensbergen) and connection with University of Applied Sciences through part-time appointment of Lectors (Van Hilvoorde, Oudejans).

 

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