Annemarie Seither-Preisler has been leading the “Unit for Music Psychology and Brain Research" as a newly appointed university professor since October 2023. As a psychologist and biologist with a research focus on the neuronal foundations of auditory information processing, she worked at different German universities (Institute of Neurobiology at the University of Munich, ENT Clinic at the University of Münster, Neurological Clinic at the University of Heidelberg). During her postdoctoral period, she was a fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and received an APART fellowship from the Austrian Academy of Sciences. She habilitated in 2007 at the Institute of Psychology at the University of Graz. From 2014 to 2023, she conducted research and teaching at the Center for Systematic Musicology at the University of Graz.
For about 15 years, Annemarie Seither-Preisler's research has focused on the field of music psychology and neuromusicology. The central focus is on the relationship between musical aptitude, biological development, and learning-induced plasticity, which are investigated using neuroanatomical and -functional methods (MRI, MEG, EEG) and self-developed auditory tests. From 2009 to 2022, she, along with her German colleague Peter Schneider, conducted the most comprehensive study to date on the effects of music-making on brain and behavior from childhood to young adulthood, which was funded by the German BMBF and DFG. Currently, the Music and Brain Research Unit is developing and neuroscientifically evaluating music-based training programs that challenge auditory pattern recognition to improve hearing functions. Sound is transmitted not only through air conduction (speakers, headphones) but also directly to the body through special stimulation. The target groups primarily include children and adolescents with auditory processing disorders associated with developmental disorders and learning difficulties (ADHD, ADD, ASD, Dyslexia).
Natalia Zaretskaya is a newly appointed Assistant Professor for Visual Neuroscience. Prior to her appointment, she was a group leader funded through BioTechMed-Graz, university assistant at the University of Graz, postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience Tübingen and a research fellow the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, MGH/Harvard Medical School, Boston.
The research of Dr. Zaretskaya focuses on how the human brain processes visual information, with topics ranging from basic perceptual functions to visual illusions, hallucinations and consciousness. In her work she utilizes various human neuroscience techniques, including EEG, fMRI and non-invasive brain stimulation. She also takes advantage of the newest developments in MRI technology, such as the ultrahigh field MRI, to advance our understanding of the visual system.
This prize was awarded for her lecture exercise "Fundamentals of Differential Psychology: Individual Differences in a Technology-Supported World" from the Master's degree program in Psychology. In this course, the up to 90 students deal with individual differences in the use of various technologies as well as the effects of technology use on human cognition. In addition, highly topical issues such as artificial intelligence (AI) and human enhancement are discussed. In a mixture of input units, group discussions and homework, students will actively engage with these topics. They are also encouraged to critically apply and evaluate AI tools. Thanks to this teaching concept, Ms. Grinschgl was nominated for the teaching prize by the students and ultimately selected by the expert jury as one of the prize winners.
Michaela Meier received the Erich Mittenecker Mobility Award for PostDocs 2023. She visited the "Expertise Lab" at Michigan State University (Prof. Dr. David Zach Hambrick) in the fall to deepen the cooperation on the topic of "Mathematical Creativity & Expertise".
Specifically, a study on individual differences in mathematical creativity was done. In addition, a longitudinal study on mathematical expertise was conducted in which Ms. Meier's knowledge of mathematical expertise/math cognition was combined with Zach Hambrick's expertise, which covers several expertise domains.
Jonas Potthoff is a winner of the Erich Mittenecker Mobility Award 2023 and spent eight weeks researching at the University of Bristol from October as part of the associated scholarship. Together with Edwin Dalmaijer and the Nutrition and Behavior Unit, he conducted an eye-tracking study on the topic of food disgust. The study also used electrogastrography (EGG) - the recording of stomach activity. As the muscle contractions of the stomach are not only related to digestion, but also to perceived emotions, EGG is a method that can be used in a variety of ways in psychology, which Jonas Potthoff learned in Bristol and will also use in Graz in the future.
Katja Corcoran has been successfully acquiring third-party funding for the transformation process in the energy system since 2018. With FIWARE Driven Energy Communities for the Future (ECom4Future), she is following on from two previous projects (EC2 and I-GReta). On the one hand, it continues the successful cooperation of I-GReta in an international consortium (Austria, Germany, Sweden, Romania). In Austria, TUGraz, FH Joanneum Katzenberg, Campus 02, dwh and DiLT are involved in addition to the University of Graz as lead. New to the team at the University of Graz is legal scholar Prof. Dr. Maria Bertel. The content of Katja Corcoran's work in this project will build on the findings from the H2020 project EC2. The focus is on the question of which factors determine the willingness of citizens to actively participate in the energy transition and to join or found an energy community.
Physical activity and sport play a central role in promoting physical and mental health. The positive effects on physical performance, subjective quality of life and mental well-being are increasingly being recognized. But what kind of physical exercise and how much of it has a beneficial effect on which areas of our psyche?
The Department of Biological Psychology is investigating these fundamental questions in two projects currently approved by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) ("Running against depression with brain and heart" and "Dancing and brain"). An interdisciplinary team of psychologists and sports scientists is investigating how different movement interventions (endurance activities such as running and visuomotor/multisensory activities such as dancing) affect our brain and thus affective and cognitive functions.