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Leiterin:Dr Nicole Wetzel
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
Head of Research GroupDr Nicole Wetzel
Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
The Research Group was established in 2017 at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology. Our research aim is to study the development of auditory cognition during childhood. We investigate the development of attention, perception and memory as well as the underlying neuronal mechanisms. This work focusses on a systematic analysis of the developmental path from early to late childhood as well as relevant factors like motivation, emotion and social context. We look at attention, information processing and learning processes in different environments including kindergarten, schools and a clinical setting.
1) How does attentional control develop during childhood?
In this area of research, we look at the involuntary distraction of attention as well as the underlying neuronal mechanisms. Our results show that these processes continue to develop right into late childhood and beyond. In comparison to adults, children are more sensitive to salient, emotional and meaningful distractors. We have also found that children are less successful in controlling their attention than adults. The results of these research findings can be used for educational purposes (e.g. designing an optimal learning environment) as well as in a clinical context (e.g. attention disorders).
2) How do children notice unpredictable changes in their environment?
Here we investigate how unpredictable changes in the auditory environment are perceived and noticed, even if our attention has been directed elsewhere. The underlying change detection processes are already present in an unborn baby, but these processes continue to develop into the teenage years and beyond. This particular data on development can be used to look at the perceptual processes of children with developmental disorders (e.g. autism or reading- and writing disorders).
3) How do learning processes develop?
This project investigates the connection between cognitive processes during learning and the success of this learning. We use pupillometry to look at early perceptual- and memory processes during active learning and we compare these results with the later learning achievement. The goal is to identify the underlying neuronal mechanisms and their development. This knowledge could contribute to designing learning material more appropriately.
In this project we investigate the perception of social and emotional stimuli as well as the attentional processes related to shy children or to social anxiety in children.
How do cognitive processes of prematurely
born babies develop during childhood?
Widmann, A., Schröger, E., & Wetzel, N. (2018). Emotion lies in the eye of the listener: emotional arousal to novel sounds is reflected in the sympathetic contribution to the pupil dilation response and the P3.
Biological Psychology, 133, 10-17.
Wetzel, N. & Schröger, E. (in press). Auditory attention in children and adults – a psychophysiological approach in T. Lachmann & T. Weiss (Eds.) in New Stages in Human Information Processing Research: The Role of Invariants in Cognition. Link & Townsend, Scientific Psychology Series, Taylor & Francis.
Erb., J., Ludwig, A.A., Kunke, D., Fuchs, M. & Obleser, J. (2018). Temporal Sensitivity Measured Shortly After Cochlear Implantation Predicts 6-Month Speech Recognition Outcome. Ear Hear., April 24. doi:10.1097/AUD.0000000000000588
Wetzel, N., Scharf, F., & Widmann, A. (in press). Canâ€™t ignore â€“ distraction by task-irrelevant sounds in early and middle childhood. Child Development
Buttelmann, D., Schieler, A., Wetzel, N., & Widmann, A. (2017). Infants’ and adults’ looking behavior does not indicate perceptual distraction for constrained modelled actions–an eye-tracking study. Infant Behavior and Development, 47, 103-111.
Hartmeyer, S. Grzeschik, R., Wolbers, T. & Wiener, J.M. (2017). The effects of attentional engagement on route learning performance in a virtual environment: an aging study. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience., 9, 235. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2017.00235
Henry, M.J., Herrmann, B. Kunke, D. & Obleser, J. (2017). Aging affects the balance of neural entrainment and top-down neural modulation in the listening brain. Nature Communications., 8, 15801. doi:10.1038/ncomms15801
Wetzel, N., Schröger, E., & Widmann, A. (2016). Distraction by novel and pitch-deviant sounds in children. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1949.
Wetzel, N., Buttelmann, D., Schieler, A., & Widmann, A. (2016). Infant and adult pupil dilation in response to unexpected sounds. Developmental Psychobiology, 58 (3), 382-392.
Grzeschik, R., Lewald, J., Verhey, J.L., Hoffmann, M.B. & Getzmann, S. (2016). Absence of direction-specific cross-modal visual-auditory adaptation in motion-onset ERPs. European Journal of Neuroscience, 43(1), 66-77.
2015 – 2010
Wetzel, N. (2015). Effects of the short-term learned significance of task-irrelevant sounds on involuntary attention in children and adults. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 98(1), 17-26.
Max, C., Widmann, A., Kotz, S.A., Schröger, E., & Wetzel, N. (2015). Distraction by emotional sounds: Disentangling arousal benefits and orienting costs. Emotion, 15(4), 428-437
Widmann, A., Steinberg, J., Bendixen, A., Friederici, A. D., Grimm, S., Gunter, T. C., Kotz, S. A., Müller, D., Roeber, U., Rübsamen, R., Weise, A., Wetzel, N., & Schröger, E. (Eds.). (2015). Error signals from the brain - 7th mismatch negativity conference. Leipzig: University of Leipzig.
Widmann, A., Bendixen, A., Wetzel, N., Duwe, S., Engbert, R. & Schröger, E. (2015). Untersuchung der Chronometrie auditiver kognitiver Prozesse mit Augenbewegungen. In S. Becker (Hrsg.), Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2015 (pp. 1224-1226). Berlin: DEGA.
Grzeschik, R., Lübken, B. & Verhey, J.L. (2015). Comodulation masking release in an off-frequency masking paradigm. The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(2), 1194-1205.
Wetzel, N., (2014). Development of control of attention from different perspectives. Frontiers in Psychology, 5:1000.
Wetzel, N., & Schröger, E. (2014). On the development of auditory distraction: A review. PsyCh Journal, 3, 72-91.
Wetzel, N., Schröger, E., Widmann, A. (2013). The dissociation between the P3a event-related potential and behavioral distraction. Psychophysiology, 50(9), 920-930.
Grzeschik, R., Böckmann-Barthel, M., Mühler, R., Verhey, J.L. & Hoffmann, M.B. (2013). Direction-specific adaptation of motion-onset auditory evoked potentials. European Journal of Neuroscience, 38 (4), 2557-2565.
Wetzel, N., Widmann, A., & Schröger, E. (2012). Distraction and facilitation - two faces of the same coin? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception andPerformance, 38(3), 664-674.
Wetzel, N. (2012). It’s irrelevant for the task but interesting! – How children process and attend to task-irrelevant information. Research Topic. Frontiers in Psychology.
Wetzel, N., Widmann, A., & Schröger, E. (2011). Processing of novel identifiability and duration in children and adults. Biological Psychology, 86(1), 39-49.
Hoffmann, M.B., Kaule, F., Grzeschik, R., Behrens-Baumann, W. & Wolynski,, B. (2011). Retinotopic mapping of the human visual cortex with functional magnetic resonance imaging – principles, current developments & ophthalmological perspectives. Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde, 228, 613-620.
Hoffmann, M.B., Kaule, F., Grzeschik, R., Behrens-Baumann, W. & Wolynski,, B. (2011). Retinotope Kartierung des menschlichen visuellen Kortex mit funktioneller Magnetresonanztomografie – Grundlagen, aktuelle Entwicklungen und Perspektiven für die Ophthalmologie. Klinische Monatsblätter für Augenheilkunde, 228, 613-620.
Bendixen, A., Grimm, S., Deouell, L. Y., Wetzel, N., Mädebach, A., & Schröger, E. (2010). The time-course of auditory and visual distraction effects in a new crossmodal paradigm. Neuropsychologia, 48, 2130-2139.
Mikkola, K., Wetzel, N., Leipälä, J., Serenius-Sirve, S., Schröger, E., Huotilainen, M., & Fellman, V. (2010). Behavioral and evoked potential measures of distraction in 5-year old children born preterm. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 77(1), 8-12.
Ruhnau, P., Wetzel, N., Widmann, A., & Schröger, E. (2010). The modulation of auditory novelty processing by working memory load in school age children and adults: a combined behavioral and event-related potential study. BMC Neuroscience, 11, 126, 1-14.
Grzeschik, R., Böckmann-Barthel, M., Mühler, R. & Hoffmann, M.B. (2010). Motion-onset auditory-evoked potentials critically depend on history. Experimental Brain Research, 203 (1), 159-168.
Wetzel, N., Widmann, A., & Schröger, E. (2009). The cognitive control of distraction by novelty in children aged 7-8 and adults. Psychophysiology, 46(3), 607-616.
Wolynski, B., Wollrab, A., Grzeschik, R., Speck, O., Stadler, J. & Hofmann, M.B. (2009). Retinotopic mapping of the human occipito-parietal cortex at a magnetic field strength 7 T. Perception, 39, 119.
Wetzel, N., & Schröger, E. (2007). Cognitive control of involuntary attention and distraction in children and adolescents. Brain Research, 1155, 134-146.
Wetzel, N., & Schröger, E. (2007). Modulation of involuntary attention by the duration of novel and pitch deviant sounds in children and adolescents. Biological Psychology, 75(1), 24-31
Wetzel, N., Widmann, A., Berti, S., & Schröger, E. (2006). The development of involuntary and voluntary attention from childhood to adulthood: a combined behavioral and event-related potential study. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117(10), 2191-2203.
Wetzel, N., Berti, S., Widmann, A., & Schröger, E. (2004). Distraction and reorientation in children: a behavioral and ERP study. Neuroreport, 15(8), 1355-1358.
Leibniz Association, P58/2017, "Leibniz Best Minds: Programme for Women Professors" (2018-2022)
Independent CBBS Research Group ZS/2016/04/78120 (2017-2021)
German Research Foundation (DFG) WE 5026/1-2, (2016-2019)
German Research Foundation (DFG) WE 5026/2-1, International Scientific Events: "Error Signals from the Brain - 7th Mismatch Negativity Conference" (2015)
German Research Foundation (DFG) WE 5026/1-1, (2012-2015)
Clinical psychology and psychotherapy for children and adolescents and Educational Psychology
Cognitive and biological Psychology
Information for families
Thank you for your interest in our studies. In the following you will find further information.
Leibniz Insitute for Neurobiology (LIN)
0049 391 626 393431
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