Forschungsschwerpunkt Translationale Neurowissenschaften Mainz

Cognitive Functions

Research group „Cognitive Functions“

We investigate the cognitive and neural underpinnings of higher cognitive functions, such as planning abilities and working memory.

By employing the Tower of London test (ToL) we were able to identify differential and specific cognitive parameters and investigated their neural correlates in a series of imaging studies.

Planning and other higher cognitive functions operate on mental representations held in working memory. Thus, another research focus is basic working memory operations, such as mnemonic search for certain information or cognitive and neural underpinnings of attention shifts within working memory.

Besides behavioral experiments we use imaging techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and magnetoencephalography (MEG).


Team members:

Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Josef Unterrainer

Dipl.-Psych. Benjamin Rahm


Selected publications:

– Kaller C.P., Rahm B., Spreer J., Weiller C., Unterrainer J.M. (2011) Dissociable Contributions of Left and Right Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex in Planning. Cereb Cortex. 21(2):307-17

– Bledowski, C., Kaiser, J., Rahm, B. (2010). Basic operations in working memory: Contributions from functional imaging studies.  Behav Brain Res. 214(2):172-9.

– Bledowski, C., Rahm, B., Rowe, J.B.(2009). What “works” in working memory? Separate systems for selection and updating of critical information. J Neurosci. 28;29(43):13735-41.

– Kaiser J., Lutzenberger W., Decker C., Wibral M., Rahm B. (2009). Task- and performance-related modulation of domain-specific auditory short-term memory representations in the gamma-band. Neuroimage. 15;46(4):1127-36.

– Kaller, C.P., Rahm, B., Unterrainer, J.M. (2008). Thinking around the corner: the development of planning abilities. Brain and  Cognition, 67(3):360-70.

– Unterrainer, J.M., Rahm, B., Kaller, C.P., Ruff, C.C., Spreer, J., Krause, B.J., Schwarzwald, R., Hautzel, H., Halsband, U. (2004a). When planning fails: Individual differences and error related brain activity in problem solving. Cerebral Cortex, 14(12):1390-7.


02. November 2017
NIC meeting
Renee Visser (University Camebridge) presents her work on “Imaging the dynamic nature of emotional memory” in the NIC meeting on Thursday, November 2nd at 12am. ...more
19. October 2017
NIC meeting
Benjamin Meyer (NIC) will present his new study investigating  “The neural networks of instructed fear” in the NIC meeting on Thursday, October 19th at 12 in the seminar room....more
14. September 2017
NIC meeting
Christian Paret (Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim) will give a talk on “Real-time fMRI neurofeedback from the amygdala: Feasibility, clinical application and brain mechanisms” in the NIC meeting on Thursday, September 14th....more