The new Siemens 3-Tesla Magnetom Prisma scanner is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), as the result of a successful ‘large-research equipment’ application by Professors Hermann J. Müller (Psychology), Peter Falkai (Psychiatry), and Benedikt Grothe (Neurobiology).
The new fMRI imaging laboratory provides the infrastructure for basic research and research-oriented training (e.g., in the ENB-associated M.Sc. program in Neuro-Cognitive Psychology or LMU’s Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences – GSN-LMU), on the brain mechanisms underlying core psychological functions, and dysfunctions (including perception, attention, memory, cognitive control, social cognition, etc.), in children, adolescents, and adults (including older individuals), as well as neurological and psychiatric patients.
The aim of this research is to uncover how normal cognitive processes are implemented in the brain, in terms of both the brain structures and the dynamics of the neural networks involved, and how they may become dysfunctional in neuro-/ psychological and -psychiatric disorders. Understanding the underlying brain mechanisms may explicate the relation between psychology and neuroscience and thus contribute to comprehensive psychological theory building as well as fostering the development of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic interventions.
Another major goal is to link the new fMRI scanner with existing imaging and brain stimulation technologies (e.g., EEG, TMS) at LMU Munich. This also involves the build up of solid bridges between cognitive-neuroscientific data and the growing concepts of computational neuroscience and artificial intelligence.
Of note, an essential component of the new fMRI scanner lab is a core facility team (including a new W3-Professorship for Sensory and Cognitive Systems), supporting research scientists and students alike, from study design through implementation of the experimental set-up to data analysis. “This is a unique situation allowing us to involve advanced-level students in state-of-the-art neuroscientific research”, says Prof. Dr. Hermann J. Müller, director of the Elite Graduate Program „Neuro-Cognitive Psychology”.
Text: Elite Graduate Program "Neuro-Cognitive Psychology"