Mind-Body-Emotion, Hypertension & Stress

The “Mind-Body-Emotion” Group of the Neurology Department investigates the interaction of the brain and the rest of the body during emotional processing – with a special focus on potential modulators of cardio- and cerebrovascular health.


We run psychophysiological and neuroimaging studies in classical lab-based experiments but also using more naturalistic setups like ambulatory assessment and immersive virtual reality.


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The “Mind-Body-Emotion” Group of the Neurology Department investigates the interaction of the brain and the rest of the body during emotional processing – with a special focus on potential modulators of cardio- and cerebrovascular health.

For the  “Leipzig Study for Mind-Body-Emotion Interactions” (LEMON), healthy participants were psychometrically characterized with respect to cognitive capacities and emotional or stress reactivity. In task-free (i.e., resting-state) and task-based measurements, the central nervous system of participants is comprehensively assessed using functional and structural neuroimaging (DWI, f/MRI, EEG). At the same time, activity in the autonomic nervous system was recorded (electrocardiogram and pulse, respiration, blood pressure) and endocrine markers in blood and hair were analysed. LEMON thereby comprised a joint protocol on which individual projects on diverse aspects of emotional processing build in a modular fashion.


Row 1 from left: Janis Reinelt, Anne-Christin Rohner (Student of Medicine), H. Lina Schaare, Dorothee Poelchen (Internships), Maria Voss (Internships)
Row 2 from left: Dr. Michael Gaebler, Miray Erbey, Deniz Kumral, Josefin Röbbig, Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer
Row 3 from left: Dr. Anahit Babayan, Andrea Reiter

Dr. Anahit Babayan
As co-ordinator of the LEMON project, I am responsible for managing the whole project including participant recruitment, organizing data acquisition and data storage, hiring and supervising student assistants and interns, and organizing material for the whole project.

Miray Erbey
My research is about positivity bias, which is the selective attention and memory for positive stimuli. I investigate age-related differences in attention to positive stimuli and its underlying mechanisms in temperament, social conditions, cognition and the brain.

Dr. Michael Gaebler
I’m a cognitive scientist and biological psychologist investigating the interplay of brain, mind, and body. I’m particularly interested in emotions and feelings or subjective experience.

Deniz Kumral
I studied Psychology as bachelor and later completed my master studies in Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience at Berlin Freie Universität. For my PhD Project, I am interested in the impact of perseverative cognition (e.g. worry, rumination) and prolonged stress on cardiovascular health and resting brain, and assessments of those factors.

Janis Reinelt
I am a physician by training, interested in the dynamic patterns of stress and stress recovery. By investigating its neural, physiological, endocrine, and subjective components, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of individual stress resilience. Moreover, the fact that stress research often attests to a strong connection of mental and somatic health, gives me reason to view stress as an important moderating factor between the two —sometimes artificially separated— domains of psychosomatic health.

Andrea Reiter
I am a psychologist interested in how individuals adapt their behavior and their decisions to environmental conditions. I am especially interested in investigating the disruption of these processes, on the behavioral and the neural level, in the context of psychiatric disorders and their risk factors. I focus on computational models of human behavior, also in combination with fMRI and EEG.

Josefin Röbbig
As a psychologist my research focusses on the impact of healthy & unhealthy emotion regulation in anger on psychological well-being and physical health. I furthermore investigate the neural representation of the habitual use of emotion regulation (i.e., trait emotion regulation) in everyday life applying resting state functional connectivity methods.

H. Lina Schaare
During my PhD, I am trying to investigate the mechanisms which may lead to essential hypertension. To assess body and mind in a holistic approach, I am combining measures of physiology (e.g. continuous blood pressure recordings and ECG), psychology (e.g. behavioral experiments and questionnaires) and neuroscience (e.g. resting state- /fMRI and MRI) simultaneously in my experiments.

Marie Uhlig
I am interested in stress as an opportunity to investigate the interface between mental and bodily processes. As a biologist, I focus particularly on the relationship between the evolutionarily adaptive short-term stress reaction and pathological consequences of a long-term activation of the stress system. In my PhD, I therefore wish to connect acute and chronic stress. Through subjective and bodily markers, I hope to identify turning points over the course of the stress reaction that clarify the interplay between positive and negative ramifications of stress.

Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer
I am a neurologist with a research focus on stroke. I pursue the hypothesis that the way we deal with emotions and stressors plays a crucial role in pathogenesis of stroke and recovery after stroke. I envision that the work of the emotion group can provide new approaches for stroke prevention and rehabilitation.

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