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DFG Research Unit 1581

Project Profile P8


Contribution of the Human Cerebellum to Extinction Learning and Renewal


There is evidence that the cerebellum contributes to the acquisition of new associations. Comparatively little is known about the role of the cerebellum in extinction learning and related processes, particularly in humans.

The aims of the project are:

  • Provide convincing evidence that the human cerebellum is involved in extinction of conditioned eyeblink responses. Acquisition is known to be impaired in cerebellar patients. Therefore, extinction of the visual threat response, a naturally acquired conditioned eyeblink response, will be studied in cerebellar patients. The visual threat response has been acquired in early childhood and therefore before the onset of the disease.
  • Investigate whether the cerebellar cortical areas and cerebellar nuclei involved in the acquisition and extinction of conditioned eyeblinks overlap. In analogy to the function of the amygdala in fear conditioning, we expect that cerebellar areas overlap at least in part.
  • Because of the cerebellum's known anatomical connections to the prefrontal cortex and functional interactions with the hippocampus, context-related information in extinction of conditioned eyeblinks may be relayed to the cerebellum. Therefore we will investigate whether the cerebellum contributes to the context-related renewal effect both in eyeblink conditioning and cognitive associative learning.



Experiments are designed which make use of recent methodological advances in lesion-symptom mapping in cerebellar patients and of ultra-highfield (7 Tesla) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for performing functional MRI of both the cerebellar cortex and nuclei.

Subjects: Cerebellar patients with focal and degenerative disease and healthy subjects.


Cooperation within the Research Unit

  • Project P4: close collaborations regarding the investigation of renewal of cognitive associations
  • Project P6 and P7: Employs similar experimental paradigms with human subjects using fMRI.

Cooperation outside the Research

  • Unit Behavioural experiments are performed in close cooperation with Prof. Dr. Vlastik Bracha, Iowa State University, Ames, USA.


Contact: In case of any questions regarding P8 please contact

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Timmann-Braun

dagmar.timmann-braun@uni-due or

Prof. Dr. M.E. Ladd


  • SFB 1280 Extinction Learning - accepted! Read more: RUB news portal / DFG press release
  • SFB Extinction Learning evaluated successfully! Read more
  • Julian Packheiser receives treasure chest-support! Read more
  • Young Scientists enjoyed a Lab Day with our colleagues at the University of Marburg. Read more
  • Adriane Icenhour received the promotional price of the Faculty of Medicine! Read more
  • A day with Michelle Craske. Read more
  • Kid came to office: With a mobile nursery we support parents who need to take their children with them to the office in short term. Read more

 ♥ of the press

  • Cooperation with
    The online magazine presents in cooperation with FOR 1581 and SFB 636 extinction learning as one of the most exciting current research topics between mind and brain. Read more
  • E-Book on Extinction Learning
    To provide a most recent update on research on extinction learning, Denise Manahan-Vaughan, Onur Güntürkün and Oliver Wolf from the Ruhr-University came together to create an open-access Frontier Research Topic e-book.
    Don't forget...
    In everyday life we are continually confronted with situations where previously learned information is no longer valid – a phenomenon that psychologists refer to as “extinction learning”... forschung 04/2014
    German research 3/2015