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.


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
24. August 2017
NIC meeting
Dr. Til Ole Bergmann (University of Tübingen) will be guest speaker in the NIC meeting on Thursday, August 24th. His talk: “On the function of neuronal oscillations – insights from transcranial brain stimulation and multimodal imaging” will be at noon in the seminar room in building 701....more
13. July 2017
NIC meeting
Philipp Horstmann (Psychiatry, Mainz) will present the current status of the MRI study investigating the influence of prg-1 (plasticity related gene) genotype on brain morphology and function in the NIC meeting on July 13th. The NIC meetings starts at 12:00 in the seminar room in building 701!...more