My research is focused on the cognitive
psychology and the cognitive
neuroscience of memory, unconscious perception, executive function and emotion.
Besides of behavioral experiments, my colleagues and I use
potentials (ERPs) and functional magnetic resonance imaging
(fMRI) in order to investigate the temporal and spatial orchestration
of brain activity subserving these cognitive functions.
this field I am working on the following four topics:
Semantic Memory Structure
In this part of my research, my
coworkers and I investigate according to which general principles
conceptual object knowledge is stored in human long-term memory. Hereby
we test the assumption that conceptual knowledge is not abstract, but
modality-specific. We demonstrated that concepts are essentially derived from our perceptual
and motor interactions with the outside world and embodied in the sensory and motor brain systems. More information
regarding this research project is found on the home page
of the Semantic
Memory Research Group.
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This flyer describes evidence-based
guidelines for optimized learning in vocational education. It has been
developed in cooperation with vocational instructors at Bosch und
Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH in Gingen, Germany.
Trumpp, N. M., Kliese, D., Hoenig, K., Haarmaier, T., & Kiefer , M. (2013). Loosing the
sound of concepts: Damage to auditory association cortex impairs the processing of
sound-related concepts. Cortex, 49, 474-486.
Hoenig, K., Müller, C.,
Herrnberger, B., Spitzer, M., Ehret, G., & Kiefer, M. (2011).
Neuroplasticity of semantic maps for musical instruments in
NeuroImage, 56, 1714-1725.
Kiefer, M., & Pulvermüller, F. (2012). Conceptual representations in mind and brain:
Theoretical developments, current evidence and future directions. Cortex, 48,
Kiefer, M., Sim, E.-J., Helbig, H. B., & Graf, M. (2011). Tracking the time course of
action priming on object recognition: Evidence for fast and slow influences of action
on perception. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 23, 1864–1874.
U., Kiefer, M., Khalid, S., Grassl, S., & König, P. (2010). Testing
of embodied cognition with subliminal words. Cognition, 116,
M., Sim, E.-J., Herrnberger, B., Grothe, J. & Hoenig, K. (2008).
The sound of concepts for markers for a link between auditory and conceptual brain
The Journal of Neuroscience, 28, 12224-12230.
M., Sim, E.-J., Liebich,
S., Hauk, O. & Tanaka, J. (2007).
plasticity of conceptual representations in human
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 19, 525-542.
Mechanisms of unconscious processing
How is semantic knowledge accessed
during word recognition? What are the electrophysiological correlates
of automatic vs. controlled access to semantic memory? In order to
study automatic semantic priming in isolation, we used a visual masking
procedure, which rendered the prime words unavailable to conscious
experience. Nevertheless, although not consciously perceived, these
prime words modulated behavioral reactions as well as the N400 ERP
component. We were able to show that conscious and unconscious semantic
priming exhibit in principle the same brain areas, but show different
time courses. More
is found on the home page
of the Unconscious Visual
Perception Research Group. This research is conducted within the
research network "Neuro-cognitive Mechanisms of Conscious
and Unconscious Visual Perception" funded by the German Research
Kiefer, M. (2012). Executive control over unconscious cognition: Attentional
sensitization of unconscious information processing. Frontiers in Human
Neuroscience, 6:61, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2012.00061.Download article here
Martens, U., Ansorge, U., & Kiefer , M. (2011). Controlling the unconscious:
Attentional task sets modulate subliminal semantic and visuo-motor processes
differentially. Psychological Science, 22, 282–291.
M., Ansorge, U., Haynes, J. D., Hamker, F., Mattler, U., Verleger, R.,
Niedeggen, M. (2011). Neuro-cognitive mechanisms of conscious and
visual perception: From a plethora of phenomena to general
principles. Advances in Cognitive Psychology,7 , 55-67. Download article here
M. & Martens
(2010). Attentional sensitization of unconscious cognition. Task
sets modulate subsequent masked semantic priming. Journal of Experimental
Psychology: General, 114,
M., Martens, U., Weisbrod, M., Hermle, L., & Spitzer, M. (2009). Increased
unconscious semantic activation in schizophrenia patients with formal thought
disorder. Schizophrenia Research, 114, 79-83.
(2008). Bewusstsein (Consciousness). In Müsseler, J., Lehrbuch der
Allgemeinen Psychologie (pp. 154-188).
Spektrum, Akademischer Verlag.
M. (2007). Top-down modulation of unconscious 'automatic'
A gating framework. Advances in Cognitive Psychology, 3, 289-306.
Brendel, D. (2006). Attentional modulation of
processes: Evidence from event-related
in a masked priming paradigm.
Cognitive Neuroscience, 18, 184-198.
Working memory/Executive Function
coordination of processes underlying cognition and action is an
important prerequisite for goal-directed behavior. It is assumed
that some of the working memory systems are mainly dedicated for
holding relevant information on line while others (executive function)
are involved in manipulating this information and in the goal-directed
orchestration of information processing. My colleagues and I
investigate the functional neuroanatomy of working memory systems and
their dysfunction in psychiatric disorders.
Stroth, S., Kubesch, S., Dieterle, K., Ruchsow, M., Heim, R. & Kiefer, M. (2009).
Physical fitness, but not acute exercise modulates event-related potential indices
for executive control in healthy adolescents. Brain Research, 1269, 114-124.
Ahlegian, M. & Spitzer, M. (2005). Working memory
semantic priming and Stroop interference: Pattern of
performance differences in healthy
volunteers. Neuropsychology, 19, 332-344.
& Kiefer, M. (2005). Disturbing visual working memory:
Electrophysiological evidence for a role of prefrontal cortex in
interference. Cerebral Cortex, 15, 1075-1087.
Kiefer, M. Apel,
A., & Weisbrod, M. (2002). Arithmetic fact
retrieval and working
memory in schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research,
Kiefer, M., Marzinzik, F. & Spitzer, M. (2000).
Executive control is
disturbed in schizophrenia: Evidence from
event-related potentials in a Go/Nogo
task. Biological Psychiatry, 47,
Kiefer, M., Marzinzik, F., Weisbrod, M., Scherg, M. &
(1998). The time
course of brain activations during response
inhibition: Evidence from event-related
potentials in a Go/Nogo task.
NeuroReport, 9, 765-770.
have important modulatory influences on cognitive processes such as
memory and executive functions. It is assumed that emotions configure
the cognitive system thereby improving human adaptation to enviromental
challenges. Meanwhile it
is well accepted that emotional mood states
trigger different cognitive styles and -
as a consequence - influence memory
processes. However, the precise neuro-cognitive mechanisms underlying
the emotion/cognition interface are unclear. To address this issue, we
investigate the influences of emotions on memory and action control.
Fladung, A.-K., Baron, U., Gunst, I., & Kiefer, M. (2010). Cognitive reappraisal
modulates performance following negative feedback in patients with major
depressive disorder. Psychological Medicine, 40, 1703-1710.
Schuch, S., Schenck, W. & Fiedler, K. (2007). Mood states
activity in semantic brain areas during
emotional word encoding. Cerebral Cortex,
M., Schuch, S., Schenck, W. & Fiedler, K. (2007).
Emotion and memory:
Event-related potential indices predictive for
subsequent successful memory depend
on the emotional mood state.
Advances in Cognitive
Psychology, 3, 363-373.
Kiefer, M., Grothe, J., Wunderlich, A., Spitzer, M. &
Walter, H. (2003).
Emotional context modulates subsequent memory
effect. NeuroImage,18, 439-447.