Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Defining Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Recently, Halligan & David (2001) outlined what is currently one of the most exciting research areas: Cognitive neuropsychiatry. This framework aims to explain clinical characteristics of psychiatric disorders such as dementia or schizophrenia in terms of deficits to normal cognitive mechanisms and to link these deficits to brain structures. This approach might profoundly change the understanding and treatment of psychiatric disorders and establish a scientific psychopathology. Accordingly, our research group investigates the neural correlates of various psychiatric and neurological disorders and their symptoms.

The main aspects are functions of the frontal lobes, such as executive abilities and social cognition, and healthy and pathological aging. We apply various methods, ranging from imaging techniques such as magnetic resonance imaging, MRI (voxel-based morphometry, VBM), functional MRI, fMRI, [18F]fluorodeoxyglucose positron emission tomography, FDG-PET, and optical imaging (near-infrared spectroscopy, NIRS) to behavioral approaches in experimental psychology, investigation of serum markers for glial and neural damage, and even transgenic animal and cell culture models of these diseases. Furthermore, we use systematic and quantitative meta-analysis approaches (activation and anatomical likelihood estimates) to develop frameworks for cognitive neuropsychiatry. Consequently, the results of our studies may contribute to the development of new therapeutic strategies.

For more information, please have also a look at the homepage of "Tagesklinik für kognitive Neurologie".


PhD, MD, Bachelor, Master and Diploma Thesis

If you are interested in one of our projects in the context of a PhD, MD, Bachelor, Master or Diploma thesis, please contact Prof. Dr Dr Matthias Schroeter or 0341-9724962.



Before examining pathological processes, one has to understand the normal functioning of the brain. more
Social cognition has been related to the frontal lobes, namely frontomedian regions. This peculiar human ability requires the prediction of mental states and behavior of others, known as “theory of mind” or “mentalizing”. Moreover, self-monitoring, processing/evaluation of internal mental states, perception of pain and emotions, and sustaining personality and self have been associated with frontomedian regions. more
This projects aims to characterize the neural correlates of memory. First of all, Alzheimer’s disease and its prodromal stage mild cognitive impairment (MCI) are the focus of this project. We isolated their neural correlates by means of systematic and quantitative meta-analyses of imaging studies. Furthermore, we identified imaging markers predicting the conversion from MCI to Alzheimer’s disease. more
Parkinson’s disease is a movement disorder that is related to dysfunctions in dopaminergic circuits. Frequently, it leads to cognitive deficits. more
Optical imaging (NIRS) is a method that is particularly suited to investigations of cognitive development and its diseases. Accordingly, we applied the method to children suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). more
This project investigates changes of spontaneous hemodynamic oscillations during healthy aging and dementia. Recently, using optical imaging (NIRS), we were able to show that spontaneous oscillations specifically around 0.1 Hz decrease in the visual cortex of the aging brain and in vascular dementia (cerebral microangiopathy). more
Methodological issues are of crucial importance in brain imaging. Accordingly, our group investigates influences of normalization procedures for FDG-PET data on diagnosis and differential diagnosis of dementia. more
Optical imaging (NIRS) has been introduced to cognitive neuroscience in recent years. It has decisive advantages in comparison with other imaging methods, namely easy application, insensitivity to movement artifacts and high temporal resolution. more
In recent years, researchers in the neurosciences have changed their focus of attention from neurons to glia. This “glial turn” has revealed new approaches and hypotheses for the healthy brain and its disorders. Recently, mood disorders, namely major depression, have been described as diseases mainly affecting glia and particularly astrocytes. more
Cognitive neuroscience has detected the neural correlates of various cognitive functions such as memory, attention, language, social cognition and executive abilities (“positive phrenology”). more
Go to Editor View