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Dissertation zugänglich unter
URN: urn:nbn:de:gbv:18-88676
URL: http://ediss.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2017/8867/


Shifting the balance : Understanding the causal contribution of the lateral prefrontal cortex to flexible cognition under stress and no-stress

Aus der Balance : Studien zum kausalen Beitrag des lateralen Präfrontalcortex zu kognitiver Flexibilität

Bogdanov, Mario

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Basisklassifikation: 77.05 , 77.31 , 77.50
Institut: Psychologie
DDC-Sachgruppe: Psychologie
Dokumentart: Dissertation
Hauptberichter: Schwabe, Lars (Prof. Dr.)
Sprache: Englisch
Tag der mündlichen Prüfung: 29.11.2017
Erstellungsjahr: 2017
Publikationsdatum: 08.12.2017
Kurzfassung auf Englisch: Things do not always go according to plan. What we thought to be reliable in one moment might have drastically changed in the next, forcing us to reassess and adjust our behavior. Whether we miss an important flight or whether a new job forces us to relocate to a new city, being flexible is crucial to successfully navigate our daily lives. However, constantly reconsidering alternative behavioral options is effortful, as it drains our cognitive resources. By automatizing many of our recurrent and mundane actions, for example by developing habits, we might spare these resources and become more efficient, albeit losing our ability to quickly change our behavior. Many fields of science have described this balance between flexible and rigid forms of behavior, although in different terms and concepts. Recent accounts have made significant progress in integrating knowledge gathered in psychology, economics and neuroscience. This thesis sets out to add to our understanding of how our brain enables flexible cognition. In three studies, we used non-invasive brain stimulation to investigate the causal role of the lateral prefrontal cortex in flexible cognition. In the first study, we tested whether the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex is involved in inducing social norm associated biases in economic decisions. In the second study, we investigated whether stimulation of the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex might ameliorate deficits in working memory processes following the experience of acute psychosocial stress, a condition well-known to impair top-down executive control and to lead to a shift away from flexible and towards rigid behavior. Finally, in the third study, we investigated the interplay of flexible and rigid cognition by stimulating the inferior lateral prefrontal cortex that has recently been suggested to arbitrate between both forms of behavior. We found that the lateral prefrontal cortex is indeed involved in these processes, highlighting the importance of this structure for enabling flexible cognition across paradigms and research traditions.

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