The aim of my scientific work is to contribute to the development of prevention and treatment strategies through a more detailed understanding of the clinical and neurobiological factors involved in the development of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and affective disorders.
Central to my research activities involving fMRI, clinical and behavioral methods are aspects of social cognition, early detection of psychoses and bipolar disorders as well as the mechanisms of placebo and nocebo-response at the onset and termination of antidepressant pharmacotherapy. For example, I have investigated the neural correlates of empathy, humour processing and theory of mind in patients with mental disorders using functional magnetic resonance imaging and, based on the findings, developed, and evaluated a training programme for coping with stress using positive-emotional and humour-based approaches for clinical application in patients with schizophrenia. Furthermore, I have investigated neural and clinical characteristics of the high-risk stage of psychosis, and addressed the question of predictors of long-term psychosocial functioning (i.e. work, social contacts, independent living, etc.) in young people at increased risk of psychosis.