Behavioral Neurology


Prof. Dr. med. Hans-Jochen Heinze


The department of behavioral neurology investigates physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms of human behavior with a strong focus on the neural mechanisms of defective cognitive control due to learning-dependent motivational, emotional and cognitive processes. For this purpose we combine basic and clinical research in order to examine the underlying mechanisms of dysfunctions related to learning and to develop effective treatment approaches. The treatments are based on the selective modulation of cerebral processes involved in the corresponding deficits.
Following this concept the department is subdivided into several groups: ‚Brain Stimulation’ (Head: Prof. Dr. Voges), ‚Neuropsychiatric Dysfunctions’ (Head: PD Dr. Walter) and ‚Clinical Experimental Neurophysiology’ (Head: Prof. Dr. Schoenfeld). A fourth group ‚Imaging Genetics’ (Head: PD Dr. Dr. Schott and PD Dr. Seidenbecher) developed in cooperation with the department of Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Topic 1: Modulation of neutral processes through deep brain stimulation

Jürgen Voges (Dept. of Stereotactic Surgery, OVGU/LIN)
Hans-Jochen Heinze
Rodrigo Quian-Quiroga


  • Hermann Hinrichs,
  • Friedhelm C. Schmitt,
  • Tino Zähle (Dept. of Neurology, OVGU)

The brain stimulation group investigates the outcome of high-frequency deep brain stimulation (DBS) in the shell of the Ncl. acc. in five patients with severe addiction to alcohol with very promising results: Following the treatment four of our patients are fully abstinent and back into regular social and professional environments. A fifth patient, who had an additional traumatic frontal lesion, is currently not fully abstinent, but he is able to limit his rare consumptions of alcohol himself (Voges et al., 2012; Müller et al., 2013).

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Topic 2: Neuropsychiatric Dysfunctions

Marie Jose van Tol
Norman Zacharias
Chuan Chi Yang
Viola Borchhardt


  • LIN: A. Fejtova, RG Schott/Seidenbecher
  • OVGU: Dept. Physiology (Lessmann/Brigadski); Dept. Physics (O. Speck); Dept. Psychiatry (Bogerts/Steiner)
  • Germany: A. Sartorius, Mannheim; B. Abler, Ulm; P. Schönknecht, Leipzig; H. Walter, Berlin
  • International: M. Breakspear, Brisbane; B. Biswal, Newark; C. Chang, Bethesda; V. Kiviniemi, Oulu; E. Seifritz,Zürich; M. Rubinov, Cambridge; C. Barros Loscertales, Jaume; H. Mouras, Amiens

The neuropsychiatric dysfunctions group performed restingstate analyses in patients with depressive symptoms and investigated neurophysiological and molecular mechanisms of behavioral and pharmacological interventions (e.g. Lord et al., 2012). Serotonergic mechanisms were also observed to modulate the connectivity between prefrontal cortex and basal ganglia (e.g. Abler et al., 2012).

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Topic 3: The Working Group for Clinical Experimental Neurophysiology

Prof. Dr. med. Mircea Ariel Schoenfeld

Dr. rer. nat. Christian Merkel
Stefanie Kau
Milena Patzelt


  • Jens-Max Hopf (LIN)
  • Emrah Düzel (DZNE)
  • Tömme Noesselt (OVGU)
  • Steven Hillyard (UCSD, LIN)
  • Thomas Münte (University of Lübeck)

Our working group investigates neural mechanisms of perception and how visual information is evaluated in normal subjects and in patients who have lesions that lead to learning disturbances. We are interested both in both basic visual processes and clinical-pathological aspects of vision research. In our basic scientific research we study how visual attention is affected by expectation(s) or reward. Therefore, we cooperate closely with members of the research group “Visual Attention and Perceptual Learning.” In our clinical scientific research we investigate the neuroplastic processes that follow one-time lesions such as in stroke as well as those generated by consecutive reoccurring lesions, such as those produced by neurodegenerative illnesses (Parkinson’s, ALS). To accomplish this we use non-invasive neuroimaging methods (structural MRI, diffusion-weighted MRI in conjunction with fiber tracking, functional MRI, high temporal resolution EEG and MEG) but also invasive procedures in cooperation with the functional stereotactic neurosurgery working group.

Basic Research

Our basic research has been primarily concerned with the role of attentional processes in the visual system. Several studies have investigated the mechanisms of feature-based attention.

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Clinical Scientific Research

In our clinical research we have carried out several studies of stroke. In these studies, we addressed new therapeutic approaches based on the concept of mirror neurons (Dettmers et al., 2012) and were able to show that video training leads to an improvement in hand function in patients with stroke-induced paresis (Dettmers et al., 2014).

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Topic 4: Molecular Determinants of Human Brain Function (AG Imaging Genetics)

Björn Schott

Constanze Seidenbecher
Anne Assmann
Adriana Barman (PhD stipend)
Gusalija Behnisch
Anna Deibele
Xenia Gorny
Maike Herbort
Marieke Klein (Master’s stipend)
Catherine Libeau
Carola Nath
Anni Richter
Joram Soch


  • Michael R. Kreutz (LIN)
  • Emrah Düzel (OVGU, DZNE Magdeburg)
  • Alan Richardson-Klavehn (OVGU)
  • Hans-Gert Bernstein (OVGU)
  • Sylvia Richter (University of Salzburg, Austria)
  • Susanne Erk, Henrik Walter (Charité Berlin)
  • Andreas Zimmer (University of Bonn)
  • Helena Danielson (University of Uppsala, Sweden)

Human motivated behaviour is subject to considerable interindividual variability, which is, at least in part, determined by naturally occurring genetic variants, so-called polymorphisms. The goal of our lab is to investigate genetic variants in neuropsychological settings and to identify novel candidate genes carrying polymorphisms with significance for human learning or executive functions.

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Last Modification: 27.10.2016 - Contact Person:

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