Lay summary

Human perception and cognition depend critically on age, arousal clinical, cognitive and motivational state and experience. The same factors also affect brain activity at rest (resting state networks, RSNs), and it has been shown that deviations from normal resting state activity often reflects dysfunctions in later perception and cognition. Individual brain- and behavioral responses to environmental stimuli are thus interactions of internal pre-stimulus brain states and the characteristic brain responses to perceptual and cognitive demands.

We want to clarify the interaction of resting and pre-stimulus brain states with cognitive capacities and performance in a broad range of normal and clinical populations and experimental conditions. The included subject groups and paradigms will allow cross-references among the effect of maturation, fatigue, psychosis, ADHD, and excellence upon the brain-responses to working-memory and attentional demands. We will assess brain states by simultaneously measuring EEG and fMRI, thus obtaining spatially well-defined indices of metabolic activity from the fMRI as well as EEG based information about the fast dynamics of stimulus processing.

The project assembles researchers specialized in different domains, permitting to address broad aspects of RSN and environment interaction using a bandwidth of populations and paradigms not conceivable for a single lab. At the same time, the methodological and conceptual coherence within the research team ensures that the expected findings of the sub-projects can be integrated into a common framework and are mutually informative, such that synergistic conclusions can be drawn that go beyond the extend of the single projects.