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The magic of extinction learning - a detailed insight into the work of the SFB 1280

The editorials of the SFB 1280 – Learn what we are working on

Article – “Don’t forget…” (Download/German)

Our editorial from 2014 about extinction learning in “forschung – Das Magazin der Deutschen Forschungsgemeinschaft”.

Article – “SFB 1280 – Extinction learning” >> (German)

On the occasion of the start of the Collaborative Research Centre, the spokesperson duo reports in Neuroforum, the magazine of the Neuroscience Society

Article   “The reason for forgetting” >> (German)

In 2021, the SFB 1280 gives an insight into its findings from 7 years of research in “Bild der Wissenschaft”

Article “Extinction learning from a mechanistic and systems perspective” >>

Technical description of our research perspective on extinction learning

Press releases of the SFB 1280 – Our results

Article How genes, brain characteristics and intelligence are connected >>

Genes influence different structures and the function of the brain. These in turn explain differences in behavior. Analyzing all three aspects at once is a challenge – but has now been achieved. (Press release in German)


Structural architecture and brain network efficiency links polygenic scores to intelligence, in: Human Brain Mapping, 2023,
DOI: 10.1002/hbm.26286

Article Clever birds think smart and economically >>

Compared to the energy efficiency of bird brains, we mammals can pack our bags. The brain cells of birds only need about a third of the energy that mammals need to power their brains. (Press release in German)


Avian neurons consume three times less glucose than mammalian neurons, in: Current Biology, 2022, DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.07.070

Article Tracking down the strategy of pigeonholing >>

Our mental ability to divide the complex world into categories makes our daily lives easier. But how do we arrive at this categorization? And which characteristics do we evaluate? (Press release in German)


Digital embryos: a novel technical approach to investigate perceptual categorization in pigeons (Columba livia) using machine learning, in Animal Cognition, 2022, DOI: 10.1007/s10071-021-01594-1

Article How procrastinators and doers differ genetically >>

Some people tend to procrastinate. In women, this trait is associated with a genetic predisposition to have higher levels of dopamine in the brain. (Press release in German)


Genetic variation in dopamine availability modulates the self-reported level of action control in a sex-dependent manner, 2019, Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, DOI: 10.1093/scan/nsz049

When pigeons dream: fMRI imaging of pigeons in REM sleep

Article When pigeons dream >>

Dreaming has long been regarded as something that characterizes human sleep. However, new findings suggest that pigeons may experience flight scenes during sleep. (Press release in German)


Wide-spread brain activation and reduced CSF flow during avian REM sleep, in: Nature Communications, 2023, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-023-38669-1

Artikel Getting Romantic at Home Wearing and EEG Cap >>

Research into the neuronal basis of emotion processing has so far mostly taken place in unrealistic conditions. Using EEG, RUB scientists recorded the brain activity of romantic couples at home while they cuddled, kissed or talked about happy memories together.


Investigating real-life emotions in romantic couples: a mobile EEG study, in: Scientific Reports, 2021, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-80590-w

Getting to know the SFB 1280 – Interviews

Please mind: All interviews are in German.

Article Valerie Jentsch Why I do research >>

In the RUB News Portal interview series “Why I do research”, Valerie Jentsch gives insights into her research on the human stress response, her fascination with cognitive neuroscience and her work on the Early Career Researcher Council of the SFB 1280.

Article Adriane Icenhour Newly appointed >>

Adriane Icenhour introduces herself and her work on the interaction and communication between body, emotions and thoughts in the interview series of the RUB news portal “Newly appointed”. She takes a multimodal approach to this complex interaction, combining different neuroscientific and behavioral methods.

Play Video

Video Onur Güntürkün 33 Questions >>

In the Zeit Akademie interview, Onur Güntürkün tells us which famous person he would like to have dinner with, what surprised him during the filming of the seminar and that he would like to cure Alzheimer’s disease.

Article – Marlene Pacharra & Tobias Otto RDM >>

In an interview with RUB News-Portal, Marlene Pacharra and Tobias Otto provide insights into the tasks and challenges involved in organizing,  documenting and providing data. In concrete terms, this often means providing individual advice to researchers, but also creating sustainable infrastructures for the entire university.

Article Franziska Labrenz Why I do reseach >>

In the RUB News portal’s interview series “Why I do research”, Franziska Labrenz gives insights into her work on the gut-brain axis, her fascination with neuroscience and her commitment to the Gender Equality Council of the SFB 1280.

Article Sigrid Elsenbruch Newly appointed >>

In the interview series of the RUB news portal “Newly appointed”, Sigrid Elsenbruch explains why the gut and brain cannot be observed separately. Research into new therapy methods for visceral pain and the stress caused by it occupies her just as much as basic research into the gut-brain axis.

Kannste Vergessen? – Our Podcast

Learning is hard. Forgetting is sometimes even harder. How do you get rid of what you have learned?

That’s what Rainer Holl, author, presenter and poetry slammer, wants to know and understand. To find out, he interviews scientists from the Collaborative Research Centre “Extinction Learning” about their research. Look forward to peering into the brain’s cards! Fascinating insights from the fields of psychology, biopsychology and neuroscience, a look behind the scenes of everyday scientific life and slam poetry await you.

With three seasons now under its belt, “Kannste Vergessen?” really does have an episode for everyone. What does happiness mean? What can we learn from the stories people tell? How do you treat fear of heights? What is the human mind and how does it differ from artificial cognition? You can find all episodes here >>. Please mind that the podcast is recorded in German.

Vidcasts – The subprojects introduce themselves

In the short vidcasts, the sub-projects describe their work, explain what they are researching and give an insight into how the knowledge gained can help people in the future. Each project brings its own perspective and approach to the topic of extinction learning and tries to bring forth new discoveries using a variety of methods.

You can find all vidcasts  here >> and on our YouTube Channel >>.

"What kind of science are you actually doing?"

Play Video

Researchers at the SFB often hear this question. The answer is diverse and can vary greatly from project to project. What they all have in common is that they deal with forgetting – Onur Güntürkün explains in the video why exactly this is so important.

In Public – Events

Info DaySFB 1280 meets Haus des Wissens >>

The “Haus des Wissens” will be a great new place in Bochum’s city center over the next few years. Knowledge is the central theme in this building – and everyone involved should and wants to contribute ideas, concepts and offers. And not side by side, but with a joint program and an idea that goes beyond the power of what individual areas can achieve.

On Saturday, August 20, 2022 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., the future players gave a first insight into what we can already look forward to!

The SFB 1280 was also on site with a mini brain lab and a podcast lounge to get Bochum’s citizens excited about neuroscience.

Theater – SFB 1280 BRAIN TALKS >>

On October 7, 2023, we reached one of our biggest milestones: a full-length stage program in one of the most renowned and internationally renowned German theaters – with our science on the big stage.

The stage presentations by Robert Reichert (RUB), Harleen Chhabra (IfADo), Javier Schneider (RUB), Marie Jakobs (UDE) and Onur Güntürkün (RUB) and the information stations set up in the foyer were simply about everything that moves us: memory and brain research, questions of learning, unlearning, remembering and forgetting, and what happens when extinction learning occurs.

Cinema Evening – Taking Chances >>

On May 13, 2022, the interdisciplinary cinema evening “Taking chances” offered a fantastic mix of short films from the repertoire of the Oberhausen Short Film Festival and stimulating impulses from film and neuroscientists. Those who made the journey could look forward to exciting talks and discussions with the following speakers:

Robert Dörre (IFM)
Natascha Frankenberg (IFM)
Bertram Gerber (LIM)
Onur Güntürkün (SFB 1280)
Carsten Spicher (International Short Film Festival Oberhausen)
Marcella Woud (SFB 1280)

Play Video

Onur Güntürküns Keynote for the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS) 

In detail – Talks & Lectures

Video Brain and genes >> (German)

Robert Kumsta with a contribution on epigenetics at Scobel on ZDF

Video How does behavior develop in the brain? >> (German)

Onur Güntürkün in a talk on ZDF’s Alpha Forum

Video The role of the cerebellum >>

Dagmar Timmann with a lecture in the forum Clinical Neuroanatomy Seminars (CNS)

More interesting articles and videos avalaible at SFB 874 >>

Audio, Video, Interactive – Stay tuned and keep learning

Animation Human 3D Brain Model >>

If you’ve ever wondered what a human brain looks like, you’ll find an amazing 3D journey on dasgehirn.info

Animation Brain Catalogue >>

And for those who wonder how similar the brain of a wolf, squirrel or rhinoceros looks, we recommend the braincatalogue

Video How do brain scans work? >>

EEG, fMRI and PET – you might have already heard these terms, but how do those techniques work? In this short TED-ED Episode you will find the answers.

Video Explained: Optogenetics >>

In the SFB 1280 we work with Optogenetics, which makes it possible to control specific neurons with light! Find out how it’s done in this short lecture from MIT. 

Video Pigeon Genius >>

At the SFB 1280 we hold our pigeons dear to our heart. Get a deeper insight into their remarkable skills in this short National Geographic Documentary.

Webpage What is a Collaborative Research Center? >>

The SFB 1280 is one of many DFG funded collaborative research centres in Germany. But what makes a SFB/CRC so special? Find out at the official Website of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. 

Kid’s Corner – Arts, Crafts and Knowledge 

Well Said – From Researchers and Thinkers