For the research in this Emmy Noether Group we use different methods of cognitive neuroscience, some of which are listed below. We usually start by investigating visual learning using psychophysics, followed by subsequent experiments using neuroimaging or neurostimulation, to measure the neuronal mechanisms involved. We believe that a combination of different methods is a promising approach to understand mechanisms of visual learning and plasticity.
We also use custom-made devices for our experiments. For instance, to investigate mechanisms of somatosensory plasticity, we use an MRI-safe tactile stimulation device. By using this device, we can stimulate the surface of the skin at a given location of the body (for example, the hand or the foot) with tactile movement patterns presented by highly focused air streams. Please see below for some photos of the tactile stimulation device and the experimental setup for hand and foot stimulation outside and inside the MRI scanner.
We also have access to an MRI-safe caloric vestibular stimulation (CVS) device to investigate the vestibular cortex in human participants. For CVS, hot and cold water is pumped into glass-made capsules integrated inside the MRI headphones. The capsules are inserted by the participant into the ear canals. Vestibular stimulation occurs by means of an increase/decrease of temperature inside the ear canal.