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Prof. Dr. Dirk Wildgruber

Organization: University Hospital Tübingen

Address:

Osianderstr. 24
72076 Tübingen
Germany

Phone number: +49 (0)7071 29 82314

Department: Affective Neuropsychiatry, Dept. of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

Area: CIN Members

Scientific topic: Neuroscience of Emotion


Field of Research

We evaluate the neurobiological basis of emotional communication and social interaction in healthy subjects and psychiatric patients with disorders of emotional processing (depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, social phobia).

Emotions are expressed along different channels of communication (speech content, facial expression, gesture, tone of voice). Multimodal encoding helps to avoid misunderstanding and is associated with facilitation of emotional reactions. Beyond unimodal information processing, therefore, we study cerebral integration of multimodal signals from voice and face. Furthermore, we investigate the neural substrates subserving the perception of different laughter types. Considering the evolutionary perspective, laughter is highly relevant for social interaction among humans as well as non-human primates. While in non-human primates laughter is restricted to the contexts of roughhousing play and tickling, human laughter seems to have diversified and encompasses emotional laughter types with distinct socially communicative functions (e.g. joy, taunt).

Methods

Processing of verbal and nonverbal emotional expressions (audio and/or video recordings) and integration of signals from voice and face is evaluated at the behavioral level (accuracy rates, peripheral physiology, reports of subjective feelings) and associated cerebral activation (fMRI) under experimentally controlled conditions in healthy subjects and patients with psychiatric disorders.

Keywords

behavioural neuroscience; brain imaging; emotions; language; neuro-psychology; psychiatry


Publications
  1. Anders S, Wiens S, Eippert F, Birbaumer N, Lotze M, Wildgruber D (2009). When seeing outweighs feeling: A role for prefrontal cortex in passive control of negative affect in blindsight. Brain. 132(Pt 11):3021-31.
  2. Kreifelts B, Ethofer T, Shiozawa T, Grodd W, Wildgruber D (2009). Cerebral representation of non-verbal emotional perception: fMRI reveals audiovisual integration area between voice- and face- sensitive regions in the superior temporal sulcus. Neuropsychologia. 47(14):3059-66.
  3. Ethofer T, Kreifelts B, Wiethoff S, Wolf J, Grodd W, Vuilleumier P, Wildgruber D (2009). Differential influences of emotion, task, and novelty on the brain regions underlying the processing of speech melody. J Cogn Neurosci. 21(7):1255-68.