Fakultät für Psychologie
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News & Views
New Frontiers Research Topic Ebook "Lateralization and Cognitive Systems" published
Left-right asymmetries of structure and function are a common organization principle in vertebrates brain organization, but many aspects of this fascinating phenomenom are not well understood. Over the course of the last few years, researchers from the Biopsychology lab, the Action Lab of the University of Dresden and the Bergen fMRI group edited a large, multinatioral Research Topic in Frontiers in Psychology, encompassing peer-reviewed 34 articles from leading authorities in the field of lateralization research. With cutting-edge research in different species ranging from insects to humans, the ebook highlights many of todays main sections of lateralization research and presents a valuable ressource for researchers interested in the field.
The ebook can be downloaded here:
News & Views
Investigating the neural architecture of handedness
The question, what constitutes the neural correlates of handedness has never been answeres unequivocally. In a recent paper by Guadalupe et al. (2014) (link to the original article) the authors investigated an impressively large sample of 1960 right-handed and 106 left-handed participants to answer this question. The authors compared left- and right-handers regarding the cortical surface area of 10 different candidate regions related to language, motor control and visual processing which were obtained from previous studies investigating the structural correlates of handedness in the brain. While the authors found a nominally significant association between handedness and the surface area of the left precentral sulcus, not a single effect survived statistical correction for multiple testing. Frontiers in Psychology invited a team of lateralization experts from the Biopsychology lab to comment on this important discovery in a prestigious Frontiers Commentary Article.
News & Views
Handedness and the X chromosome
Sex differences in handedness have long been known, but their molecular basis is not well understood. In the present study, a team of scientists from the IKN and the Human Genetics Lab investigated the relationship of CAG-length variation in the androgen receptor gene AR and handedness in a large sample of over 1000 participants. Mixed-handedness in men was significantly associated with longer CAG-repeat blocks and women homozygous for longer CAG-repeats showed a tendency for stronger left-handedness. These results suggest that handedness in both sexes is associated with AR CAG-repeat length, with longer repeats being related to a higher incidence of non-right-handedness. Since longer CAG-repeat blocks have been linked to less efficient AR function, these results implicate that differences in AR signaling in the developing brain might be one of the factors that determine individual differences in brain lateralization.
Arning, L., Ocklenburg, S., Schulz, S., Ness, V., Gerding, W.M., Hengstler, J.G., Falkenstein, M., Epplen, J.T., Güntürkün, O. & Beste, C., Handedness and the X chromosome: The role of androgen receptor CAG-repeat length. Sci. Rep. 5, 8325; DOI:10.1038/srep08325 (2015).
News & Views
The role of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 in spatial extinction learning
Metabotropic glutamate (mGlu) receptors and, in particular, mGlu5 are crucially involved in forms of hippocampus-dependent synaptic plasticity that are believed to also underlie extinction learning. MGlu5 is also required for information transfer through neuronal oscillations and for spatial memory. This places this receptor in a unique position with regard to information encoding. Therefore, neurophysiologists and biopsychologists from Bochum explored the role of this receptor in context-dependent extinction learning under constant, or changed, contextual conditions. Their results support that although extinction learning in a new context is unaffected by mGlu5 antagonism, extinction of the consolidated context is impaired. This suggests that mGlu5 is intrinsically involved in enabling learning that once-relevant information is no longer valid.
André, M.A.E, Güntürkün, O., Manahan-Vaughan, D., The metabotropic glutamate receptor, mGlu5, is required for extinction learning that occurs in the absence of a context change. Hippocampus, 2015, 25: 149–158.
News & Views
Im Alltag ist der Mensch ständig mit Situationen konfrontiert, in denen früher Gelerntes nicht mehr gültig ist – Psychologen sprechen vom „Extinktionslernen“. Die damit verbundenen Mechanismen auf Verhaltens-, Hirn- und Immunebene am Beispiel von Tauben, Ratten und Menschen zu verstehen, ist Ziel der Forschergruppe 1581. Die Erkenntnisse dieser Initiative können langfristig auch der Therapie von Angstpatienten und Menschen mit Organtransplantationen zugutekommen. In der aktuellen Ausgabe des DFG-Magazins forschung berichtet Onur Güntürkün von den Untersuchungen innerhalb der Forschergruppe.