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Our research activities are centered around two main topics: Performance monitoring and cognitive control. Performance monitoring refers to the ability to monitor and detect conflicts and errors in internal brain states and overt behavior. Cognitive control comprises processes that serve to attain goals by means of reconfiguration of mental sets, selective enhancement of goal-relevant information and inhibition of goal-irrelevant information. Performance monitoring and cognitive control are not only strongly interrelated (e.g., the output of monitoring processes are assumed to guide the allocation of control). Both are also connected to a multitude of basic brain functions, such as attention, memory, and learning. Exemplary questions that we are currently addressing are:

  • Which cognitive and neural mechanisms are involved in the conscious and unconscious detection of self-committed errors?

  • How does the brain initiate adjustments of cognitive control based on an evaluation of the source and type of errors?

  • Is learning from errors and feedback influenced by explicit expectancies and knowledge?

  • What are causes and consequences of errors in multitasking and task switching?

  • Which control processes are involved in multitasking and task switching?

Our research is based on three methodological approaches:

  • Behavioral experiments (response times, error rates, distributional data, eye tracking)

  • EEG experiments (event-related potentials, single-trial analysis using multivariate pattern classification and independent component analysis)

  • Computational modeling (neural networks, drift diffusion models, formal models of reinforcement)

To this end, we are running an EEG lab equipped with a 64-channel BIOSEMI ActiveTwo system and a SMI RED250mobile eyetracker, and a behavioral lab that allows for simultaneous testing of multiple subjects.

Currently funded projects

Adaptive control of working memory. (2018 – 2021; PI: Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser, Prof. Dr. Miriam Gade; funded by DFG, German Research Foundation) --> more information

menschINbewegung – Teilvorhaben: Akzeptanz automatisierten Fahrens/Subproject: Acceptance of automated driving. (2018 – 2021; PI: Prof. Dr. Andreas Riener, Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser; funded by BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research) --> more information

Interplay of cognitive control in behavioral and neurophysiological correlates: Towards an understanding of control in human behavior. (2016 – 2019; PI: Dr. Alodie Rey-Mermet; funded by SNF, Swiss National Science Foundation) --> more information

Causes and consequences of errors in dual-tasking. (2015 – 2018; PI: Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser; funded by DFG, German Research Foundation) --> more information

Completed projects

The influence of top-down control on feedback processing and reinforcement learning in decision tasks. (2014 – 2017; PI: Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser; funded by DFG, German Research Foundation)  --> more information

Evaluation of error source in human performance monitoring: Validating a model using behavioral, electrophysiological and patient studies (2014 – 2017; PI: Dr. Martin Maier; funded by DFG, German Research Foundation --> more information

INEMAS - Grundlagen interaktions- und emotionssensitiver Assistenzsysteme/Basics of interaction- and emotion-sensitive assistance systems. (2015 – 2018; PI: Prof. Dr. Marco Steinhauser; funded by BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research) --> more Information

Verbal and non-verbal control settings in action control: Configuring the cognitive system for present and future task performance. (2016 – 2018; PI: PD Dr. Miriam Gade; funded by DFG, German Research Foundation; continued at the Medical School Berlin) --> more information

Recent Publications

2018/in press

Steinhauser, K., Leist, F., Maier, K., Michel, V., Pärsch, N., Rigley, P., Wurm, F., & Steinhauser, M. (in press). Effects of emotions on driving behavior. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

Steinhauser, R., Wirth, R., Kunde, W., Janczyk, M., & Steinhauser, M. (in press). Common mechanisms in error monitoring and action effect monitoring. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience.

Schuch, S., Dignath, D., Steinhauser, M., & Janczyk, M. (in press). Monitoring and control in multitasking. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

Rey-Mermet, A., & Gade, M. (in press). Inhibition in aging: What is preserved? What declines? A meta-analysis. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13423-017-1384-7

Reinmüller, K., Köhler, L., & Steinhauser, M. (2018). Adaptive warning signals adjusted to driver-passenger conversation: Impact of system awareness on behavioral adaptation. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 58, 242-252.

Steinhauser, R. & Steinhauser, M. (2018). Preparatory brain activity in dual-tasking. Neuropsychologia, 114, 32-40.

Ernst, B. & Steinhauser, M. (2018). Effects of feedback reliability on feedback-related brain activity: A feedback valuation account. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 18, 596-608.

Wirth, R., Steinhauser, R., Janczyk, M., Steinhauser, M., & Kunde, W. (2018). Long-term and short-term action-effect links and their impact on effect monitoring. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, 44, 1186-1198.

Di Gregorio, F., Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2018). Errors can elicit an error positivity in the absence of an error negativity: Evidence for independent systems of human error monitoring. Neuroimage, 172, 427-436.

Rey-Mermet, A., Gade, M., & Oberauer, K. (2018). Should We Stop Thinking About Inhibition? Searching for Individual and Age Differences in Inhibition Ability. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 44, 501-526. https://doi.org/10.1037/xlm0000450

2017

Steinhauser, M., Maier, M. E., & Ernst, B. (2017). Neural correlates of reconfiguration failure reveal the time course of task-set reconfiguration. Neuropsychologia, 106, 100-111.

Rey-Mermet, A., & Meier, B. (2017). How long-lasting is the post-conflict slowing after incongruent trials? Evidence from the Stroop, Simon, and flanker tasks. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 79, 1945-1967. https://doi.org/10.3758/s13414-017-1348-z

Ernst, B., Reichard, S. M., Riepl, R. F., Steinhauser, R., Zimmermann, S. F., & Steinhauser, M. (2017). The P3 and the subjective experience of time. Neuropsychologia, 103, 12-19.

Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2017). Working memory load impairs the evaluation of behavioral errors in the medial frontal cortex. Psychophysiology, 54, 1472-1482.

Ernst, B. & Steinhauser, M. (2017). Top-down control over feedback processing: The probability of valid feedback affects feedback-related brain activity. Brain & Cognition, 115, 33-40.

Steinhauser, M., Ernst, B., & Ibald, K. W. (2017). Isolating component processes of post-error slowing with the psychological refractory period paradigm. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, & Cognition, 43, 653-659.

Garofalo, S., Timmermann, C., Battaglia, S., Maier, M. E., & di Pellegrino, G. (2017). Mediofrontal negativity signals unexpected timing of salient outcomes. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 29, 718-727.

Steinhauser, R., Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2017). Neural signatures of adaptive post-error adjustments in visual search, Neuroimage, 150, 270-278.

2016

Bastian, C. C. von, Souza, A. S., & Gade, M. (2016). No Evidence for Bilingual Cognitive Advantages: A Test of Four Hypotheses. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 145, 246-258. doi: 10.1037/xge0000120.

Di Gregorio, F., Steinhauser, M., & Maier, M.E. (2016). Error-related brain activity and error awareness in an error classification paradigm. Neuroimage, 139, 202-210.

Flaisch, T., Steinhauser, M., & Schupp, H.T. (2016). Emotional aftereffects: When emotion impairs subsequent picture recognition. Emotion, 16, 987-996.

Gbadeyan, O., McMahon, K., Steinhauser*, M., & Meinzer*, M. (2016). Stimulation of dorsolateral prefrontal cortex enhances adaptive cognitive control: A high-definition transcranial direct current stimulation study. Journal of Neuroscience, 36, 12530-12536. (*shared senior authorship)

Gbadeyan, O., Steinhauser, M., McMahon, K., & Meinzer, M. (2016). Safety, tolerability, blinding efficacy and behavioural effects of a novel MRI-compatible high-definition tDCS set-up. Brain Stimulation, 9, 545-552.

Maier, M. E., & Steinhauser, M. (2016). Error significance but not error expectancy predicts error-related negativities for different error types. Behavioral Brain Research, 297, 259-267.

Maier, M. E., Scarpazza, C., Starita, F., Filogamo, R., & Làdavas, E. (2016). Error monitoring is related to processing internal affective states. Cognitive, Affective, & Behavioral Neuroscience, 16, 1050-1062.

Pfister R., Wirth R., Schwarz K., Förster, A., Steinhauser, M., & Kunde, W. (2016). The electrophysiological signature of deliberate rule violations. Psychophysiology, 53, 1870-1877.

Pfister, R., Wirth, R., Schwarz, K., Steinhauser, M., & Kunde, W. (2016). Burdens of non-conformity: Motor execution reveals cognitive conflict during deliberate rule violations. Cognition, 147, 93-99.

Rey-Mermet, A., & Gade, M. (2016). Contextual within-trial adaption of cognitive control: Evidence from the combination of conflict tasks. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 42, 1505-1532. https://doi.org/10.1037/xhp0000229

Steinhauser*, M., Flaisch*, T., Meinzer, M., & Schupp, H. T. (2016). Cognitive control modulates preferential processing of affective stimuli. Neuropsychologia, 91, 435-443. (*shared first authorship)

2015

Dundon, N., Làdavas, E., Maier, M. E., & Bertini, C. (2015). Multisensory stimulation in hemianopic patients boosts orienting responses to the hemianopic field and reduces attentional resources to the intact field. Restorative Neurology and Neuroscience, 33, 405-419.

Achtziger, A., Alos-Ferrer, C., Hügelschäfer, S., & Steinhauser, M. (2015). Higher incentives can impair performance: Neural evidence on reinforcement and rationality. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience,10, 1477–1483.

Borhani, K., Làdavas, E., Maier, M. E., Avenanti, A. & Bertini, C. (2015). Emotional and movement-related body postures modulate visual processing. Social Cognitive & Affective Neuroscience, 10, 1092-1101. doi: 10.1093/scan/nsu167. 

Ernst, B., & Steinhauser, M. (2015). Effects of invalid feedback on learning and feedback-related brain activity in decision-making. Brain and Cognition, 99, 78–86.

Gade, M. (2015). On tasks and cognitive constructs for the bilingual (non-) advantage. Cortex. doi.org/10.1016/j.cortex.2015.07.017

Maier, M. E., Di Gregorio, F., Muricchio, T., Di Pellegrino, G. (2015). Impaired rapid error monitoring but intact error signaling following rostral anterior cingulate cortex lesions in humans. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 9, 339, doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00339.

Steinhauser, M., Gade, M. (2015). Distractor onset but not preparation time affects the frequency of task confusions in task switching. Frontiers in Psychology, 6:1671. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01671