Research projects of Domain C ("Interventions")

You are here:

Domain C: Specific interventions for impaired and loss of control

Domain C focuses on the modification of learning and cognitive control mechanisms in subjects with substance use disorder. The interventions will begin by examining the modification of learning processes and the effects of physical exercise on cognitive control. We will assess cognitive, emotional, and behavioral trainings as well as neurobiological interventions such as brain stimulation or specific pharmacological therapies addressing mechanisms identified in Domain A and Domain B. To do so, Domain C will use information on risk and protective factors from Domain A observed under real-life conditions, as well as the learning and executive control paradigms from Domain B and their computational modeling. Domain C will thus increasingly be able to identify the most efficient intervention strategies to strengthen control mechanisms and to alter aberrant learning mechanisms. This will result in specific mechanism-based intervention strategies for alcohol-dependent patients and patients suffering from other addictions.

  • Foci of the research projects in Domain C

    Image /

Project C01: Modification of the imbalance between goal-directed and habitual behavior in human addiction

In this study, we aim to assess the imbalance between goal-directed and habitual behavior, its neural basis and how it can be modified in treatment-seeking smokers, using two training interventions. The first intervention (cognitive remediation treatment focusing on improving inhibitory control and executive functions) is hypothesized to affect top-down processing, whereas the second intervention (a learning approach through implicit priming and contextual modulation) is suggested to modify bottom-up processes.

Principal Investigators:
Prof. Dr. Dr. Herta Flor, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
Prof. Dr. Sabine Vollstädt-Klein, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim

Project members:
Damian Karl, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
Alfred Wieland, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim

Project C02: Modification of Pavlovian and instrumental learning in human addiction

Project C02 will investigate modifications of environmental factors relevant for learning mechanisms in addictive disorders. We will examine whether the impact of Pavlovian conditioned stimuli on instrumental behavior (so-called PIT effect) can be systematically modified by manipulating these Pavlovian cues. Concerning stress as a major modulator in addiction, we plan to assess whether acute, active stress reduction modifies such PIT effects, as well as goal-directed vs. habitual behavior. Lastly, underlying neurobiological correlates of these modifications will be assessed using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Anne Beck, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
Prof. Dr. Nina Romanczuk-Seiferth, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin

Project member:
Annika Rosenthal, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Project C03: Modification of alternative reward cue reactivity and cognitive control through physical activity in human tobacco use disorder

Using behavioral testing and fMRI, the project will study the effects of a 12-week aerobic exercise training in tobacco use disorder (TUD). Investigations will focus on two potential mechanisms of regaining control: (1) modifications of tobacco and alternative reward cue reactivity, and (2) improvement of cognitive control, i.e. inhibitory control and cognitive down-regulation of craving. We expect that physical exercise training will increase alternative reward cue reactivity and cognitive control and that these modifications mediate the effect of exercise on abstinence.

Principal Investigators:
Prof. Dr. Felix Bermpohl, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin
Prof. Dr. Andreas Ströhle, CharitéUniversitätsmedizin Berlin

Project members:
Stefanie Kunas, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Dr. Heiner Stuke, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin

Project C04: Modification of cue reactivity by neurofeedback in human addiction

This project will investigate the hypothesis that combining real time fMRI neurofeedback (fMRI-NF) with a mindfulness-based intervention will increase the ability of alcohol dependent patients to deliberately reduce ventral striatal cue reactivity to alcohol. To this end we study the efficiency of fMRI-NF in patients receiving mindfulness-based training vs. patients receiving treatment as usual. We expect that the combination of mindfulness-based training and neurofeedback will boost the ability to regain control over habitual responses to alcohol-associated stimuli.

Principal Investigators:
Prof. Dr. Falk Kiefer, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
Prof. Dr. Peter Kirsch, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim

Project members:
Acelya Aslan, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
Dr. Martin Fungisai Gerchen, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim
Franziska Weiß, Zentralinstitut für Seelische Gesundheit Mannheim