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Rats modify their own food preferences adopting the preferences of other rats. We have demonstrated that damaging the Nucleus Accumbens shell abolish this behavior. Our next step is to evaluate whether dopamine and serotonin levels within the Nucleus Accumbens Shell correlate with the change in preference observed in the rats.
The students will be involved in animal handling and care, behavioral testing, and data analysis.
Acute stress has become an inescapable companion of our daily lives - whether it's due to a delayed train, a traffic jam, or an urgent deadline. As such, it is likely to affect everyday processes, such as decision-making. To investigate this, we will conduct a psychopharmacological study on the effects of stress on economic and moral decision-making behavior in the context of social decision-making. In addition, stress may also affect emotion processing. Therefore, we will also investigate the effect of the psychopharmacological manipulation on affect misattribution.
Language: English or German
Teamwork: is possible
I am interested in the underlying neuromechanism that modulate social behavior and their vulnerability in psychiatric conditions. Therefore, in the beginning of 2022 I am working with a transgenic model of alternate DISC1-protein function, which is, also in humans, associated with conditions displaying symptoms of impaired behaviour including the social domains (Schizophrenia, Autism spectrum disorder, Bipolar disorder). Recent studies of transgenic DISC1 (tgDISC1) rats, which are expressing human non-mutant DISC1, revealed that pathological expression of DISC1 leads to a series of symptoms displayed as abnormal protein and neurotransmitter levels of Dopamine as well as altered behavioral functions in regard to memory, motor learning and social behavior (Troßbach et al. 2016, Seidisarouei 2021).
In my upcoming project I am going to dig deeper down the topic of social approach - avoidance and social conformity in tgDISC1 rats and may offer a Bachelor project for students who are interested in analysing the behavioral data of the tests.
This includes video analysis as well as organisation of behavioral data in Excel, but no animal handling.
Language: English preferred / German
Acute stress changes the direction and also the type of decisions we make. In a psychopharmacological study, we will examine how two stress modulators, Cortisol and Norepinephrine, influence our decisions to make framing-induced generous choices for either close or distant people (social discounting). Moreover, we will also examine the role Cortisol and Norepinephrine play in resource allocation decisions that our in-group love and out-group hate may influence.
Supervisor: Douman Seidisarouei
Language: English or German.