What are the challenges for cognitive flexibility
Lise Meitner Research Group Cognition and Plasticity
Cognitive processes are organized in large networks in our brain. The flexible interaction within and between networks for different cognitive functions is made possible by a high degree of neural plasticity in our brain. Neuroplasticity thus forms the basis for lifelong learning and successful adaptation to various requirements.
The aim of our research is to identify central mechanisms of this adaptive plasticity in neural networks for cognitive functions over the adult life span. We are interested in neuroplasticity as a mechanism for learning new cognitive skills, as an adaptation to cognitive challenges and as a compensation strategy against the age-related decline in cognitive abilities, as well as a compensation strategy after brain lesions - for example after a stroke. We combine non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS, tACS) with imaging methods and EEG. A core hypothesis is that neural networks for cognitive functions can flexibly adapt the contribution of different regions, which enables compensation for disturbances. For example, after a focal disturbance in the language network, other regions within the same network or neighboring networks can be recruited in order to maintain the language. A better understanding of these processes should help in the future to promote neuroplasticity and support the recovery of cognitive functions after brain lesions.
Master theses and internships
We regularly award master's theses and internships. If you are interested, please contact PD Dr. Gesa Hartwigsen.
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