Former PhD Students

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Dmitrij Agroskin received his Diploma (MSc) degree in Psychology in 2011 at the University of Salzburg (Austria) where he was investigating the management of existential threats by focusing on various mediators of mortality salience and control deprivation effects.
From 2008 – 2009 Dmitrij Agroskin was doing two research internships at the University of the Federal Armed Forces Munich, examining the effects of dispositional sensitivity to injustice on forgiveness.
Dmitrij’s current research interests are (i) the similarities and differences between the management of different existential threats such as death and lacking control, using not only social psychological but also neurophysiological methodology, and (ii) the associations between sensitivity to injustice and uncertainty- as well as ethnocentrism-related variables.

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Aditi Arora studied Psychology and English Literature at the University of Allahabad (India) from 2005 and received her B.A. in 2008. In 2010 she received her M.A. in Cognitive Science at Centre of Behavioural and Cognitive Sciences, University of Allahabad (India).
Before moving to Salzburg she was a Junior Research Fellow at the National Brain Research Centre (NBRC), India. Her current research interests are Theory of Mind, neurocognition, and consciousness.

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Christine Blume, who started the DK+ in January 2014, graduated from the University of Würzburg (Germany) in 2013 with her diploma (MSc) in psychology. Between October 2011 and June 2012 she was a visiting student at the University of Cambridge (UK) where she attended courses in neurobiology and pharmacology. Her stay in Cambridge included a research internship at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit during which she got fascinated by the research on disorders of consciousness. Since October 2013 she is a PhD student in the lab for "Sleep, Cognition and Consciousness Research" (head: Univ-Prof. Dr. Manuel Schabus) where she is investigating cognitive processes across vigilance stages, i.e. in healthy sleep and disorders of consciousness (DOC). Moreover, she investigates circadian rhythms in DOC patients. Christine holds a PhD scholarship from the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. (Germany).

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Christina Brötzner received her diploma (Mag.rer.nat) in Biology in 2011 at the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg. (Supervisor Hubert Kerschbaum) She also assisted Belinda Pletzer with her study "Sex hormones & human brain structure”.
Her current research interests focus on the impact of sex hormones on brain oscillation, and the physiological consequences of alpha oscillation.

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Renata del Giudice (starting in DK+ in October 2012) studied Psychology at the University of Milano Bicocca (Italy). In 2011 she graduated in Clinical and Developmental Psychology and Neuropsychology with a thesis investigating the effects of prism adaptation in a visuospatial perceptual task using fMRI. During her clinical internship at Niguarda Ca´ Granda Hospital in Milan she worked with patients diagnosed with drug resistant epilepsy being involved in the pre and post-surgical neuropsychological and personality assessment. In March 2012 she completed her postgraduate research internship in the School of Psychology at Cardiff University focusing on episodic memory, switching costs and the correlation between working memory capacity and episodic memory performance, recording event related potentials. Certified psychologist in Italy since July 2012.
Her current research interests are consciousness, memory and emotional processes.

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Dominik Freunberger graduated in Psycholinguistics from the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg (Austria) in 2011 with his Master thesis being about semantic processing of a second compared to a first language, as measured with Event Related Potentials.
From 3/2010 to 6/2011 Dominik was working as a student assistant at the Salzburg Centre for Multilingual Learning and Teaching Research in the project “Neurocognitive correlates of the awareness for ungrammaticality as an indicator of language proficiency“.
Dominik is currently focussing on the examination of first versus second language processing at different proficiency levels, its underlying mechanisms and possible effects on different (implicit) processing strategies.

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Dominik Heib studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg (Austria) from 2005 and received there a master degree in Physiological Psychology in 2010. His master thesis focuses particularly on the role of slow oscillations in the process of sleep dependent memory consolidation.
In the Doctoral Program ?Imaging the Mind? Dominik is supervised by Prof. Wolfgang Klimesch and co-supervised by Ass.-Prof. Manuel Schabus.

Current research interests:

  • Function of electrophysiological EEG- patterns (e.g. sleep slow oscillations (<1Hz) and sleep spindles) in the process of sleep dependent memory consolidation
  • Neural correlates of cognitive efficiency
  • Pathophysiology of sleep disorders
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Eugenia Kulakova studied psychology and philosophy at the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg and Moscow State University. In 2011, she graduated in psychology with a diploma thesis investigating the neural correlates of thinking about counterfactual and hypothetical conditionals. In the doctoral programme "Imaging the Mind" her research still focuses on counterfactuals and reasoning and is supervised by Prof. Perner.

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Julia Lechinger graduated from the University of Salzburg in December 2011 with a Diploma in Psychology. She has been a member of the University’s Lab for Sleep and Consciousness Research (head: Manuel Schabus) since the end of 2009. Her current research interests concern the functional meaning of oscillatory brain activity mainly with respect to residual cognitive processing and consciousness in Vegetative State and Minimally Conscious State patients.

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Philipp Ludersdorfer received his diploma (MSc) in Psychology in 2011 at the Karl-Franzens-University of Graz where he was studying attention and memory processes in visual search using eye tracking.
His current research interests are the brain processes associated with impaired and non-impaired reading and writing processes.

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Christina Mühlberger (Steindl) studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg and graduated in 2009. She is interested in people’s reactions after a threat to their freedom, i.e. when they experience psychological reactance, an unpleasant motivational arousal with the aim to restore one’s threatened freedom. As a master student she explored opportunities to reduce the amount of reactance. In her current research, supervised by Prof. Eva Jonas and Dr. Johannes Klackl, she focuses on the positive, energizing side of psychological reactance.
From 2011 to 2012 Christina received the Marie Andeßner Scholarship which enabled her to focus on her research, give talks at conferences, and also strengthened her ambitions to pursue a scientific career.

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Melanie Tschernegg graduated from the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz (Austria) in 2011 (Psychology). Her master project concerned fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) and the investigation of gender-related differences during multi-tasking.
Melanie’s main research interests are attention, consciousness, resting-state, and the neural substrate of mental disorders. She uses methods like fMRI and EEG (electroencephalography) and has a great interest in methodological aspects as well as experimental designs.
She will be working as a cognitive and clinical neuroscientist, helping to expand the knowledge within the above mentioned areas of brain research and considering impaired people that might benefit from outcomes in their daily lives.

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Melanie Wegerer grew up in Upper Austria and moved to Vienna in 2003 to study Biology. One year later she switched to Psychology but still kept a strong focus on biological mechanisms by specializing on biological foundations of mental functions in health and particularly in mental disease. Doing so, she also completed various neuroscientific courses at the Medical University in Vienna and collected experience in neuroscientific research doing internships at the Brain Research Lab of the Faculty of Psychology in Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna as well as at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Munich (research group: “Sleep Endocrinology”).
In 2009, she moved to Munich to conduct her diploma thesis in the research group “Molecular Psychology” at the Max-Planck-Institute of Psychiatry in Munich studying genetic associations with evoked EEG-potentials in families at high risk for affective disorders.
Since March 2011, she is working as a PhD student in the “Clinical Stress and Emotion Lab” (Prof. Frank Wilhelm) at the University of Salzburg currently focusing on emotional learning and its psycho-biological underpinnings. Her research interests mainly concern anxiety as well as affective disorders and are driven by a deep interest to better understand psychological suffering and possible treatments.

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Gabriela Werner received her diploma in 2010 at the University of Salzburg where she conducted a research project on the relationships between attachment styles and sleep architecture in healthy adults and patients with primary insomnia. During her internships, e.g. at the Psychosomatic Hospital Munich Harlaching, she worked with patients diagnosed with a variety of mental disorders, such as panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and posttraumatic stress disorder.
In 2010 she completed her postgraduate clinical training with the degree of Clinical and Health Psychologist at the Christian-Doppler-Clinic in Salzburg, working in the Department of Neurology primarily with patients with different brain damages or other neurological disorders, e.g. multiple sclerosis.
She is fascinated by the question how sleep can be so potent to restore equanimity in many people even after quite emotional events during the preceding day, while this homeostatic mechanism seems to fail in others, potentially leading to mental disorders. Derived from this question her main current research interests are the biological foundations of emotional processing of stressful events during sleep – and their relationships to emotional memory consolidation and forgetting, emotion regulation, and mental disorders.

Nicole Wiggert graduated (MSc) from the University of Salzburg in 2013. For her Master Thesis she investigated trait anxiety and the physiological response to stress among chronic smokers at the University of Minnesota (UoM) and was supervised by Professor Wilhelm and Professor al’Absi. At the UoM she started as an exchange student in September 2011 and became a research fellow in 2012 at the Department of Biobehavioral Health and Population Sciences at the Medical School Duluth where she completed her Master Thesis in March 2013. During that time she also worked with Dr. Lissek in the ANGST – Lab on a project investigating fear generalization in a fear-conditioning paradigm. She became more and more interested in psychophysiological research using multiple measures such as skin conductance, heart rate, blood pressure, and electromyography.
Since October 2013 she is a PhD candidate attending the doctoral program “Imaging the Mind” at the University of Salzburg where she examines central and peripheral correlates of social evaluations in social anxiety disorder. This project is a collaboration with the Psychosomatic Clinic “Roseneck” in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany.

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Andrea Zauner studied Psychology at the University of Salzburg. Since 2009 she is a co-worker of the oscillation research group. She received her diploma (Mag.rer.nat) in Psychology in 2010 at the Paris-Lodron University of Salzburg. In the Doctoral Program "Imaging the Mind" Andrea is supervised by Prof. Wolfgang Klimesch and co-supervised by Prof. Hubert Kerschbaum.

Current research interests:

  • Oscillatory activity in the alpha band (8 to 12 Hz) and its influences on evoked activity (traveling)
  • Physiology of the alpha frequency
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