Bachelor and Master Theses
As a part of writing a Bachelor or Master thesis, active involvement in experimental research is required (we do not offer theses based on mere literature reviews, interview studies, etc.). The main objective consists in learning the skills to plan, implement, conduct, and analyze psychophysiological experiments. Potential research questions are (e.g.): Are there differences between anxious and non-anxious people when processing emotional images? Are there differences in processes underlying emotional learning (conditioning, extinction) between different groups? Are there different patterns of stress reactivity?
We will provide additional support in statistical analyses and methodology, since this background is not covered in equal depth by every study program.
A main topic will concern processes of conditioning (especially fear conditioning, appetitive conditioning), since those are neuronal mechanisms of high clinical relevance, presumably underlying the development, maintenance, and treatment of mental disorders. In particular, we are interested in whether individuals differ with regard to emotional learning and whether and how such processes can be modified by targeted interventions (thereby providing a model of change in psychotherapy, education and social work).
Recommendation for further reading:
Klucken, T. (2013). Neurobiologische Grundlagen der appetitiven Konditionierung. In A. Stirn, R. Stark, K. Tabbert, S. Wehrum, & S. Oddo (Eds.), Sexualität, Körper und Neurobiologie: Grundlagen und Störungsbilder im interdisziplinären Fokus. Stuttgart: Kohlhammer.
Martin-Soelch, C., Linthicum, J., & Ernst, M. (2007). Appetitive conditioning: neural bases and implications for psychopathology. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 31, 426-440.