Thomas Polak

Learn More
According to the Reinforcement Sensitivity Theory (RST), Gray's dimension of impulsivity, reflecting human trait reward sensitivity, determines the extent to which stimuli activate the Behavioural Approach System (BAS). The potential neural underpinnings of the BAS, however, remain poorly understood. In the present study, we examined the association between(More)
An approach bias for alcohol stimuli (i.e. faster approach than avoidance reactions) might facilitate relapses in alcohol dependence. Neurobiological models suggest hypersensitivity in the reward system [inter alia nucleus accumbens and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC)] to cause pathologically enhanced approach impulses towards alcohol stimuli. At the same time,(More)
OBJECTIVE Visuospatial deficits are among the first symptoms of Alzheimer disease (AD) and linked to lower activation in the superior parietal cortex as assessed with functional imaging. Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is an optical method to measure changes in the concentration of oxygenated hemoglobin and deoxygenated hemoglobin in the microvascular(More)
The method of vagus somatosensory evoked potentials (VSEP) was introduced to easily measure the activity of vagus brain stem nuclei. In Alzheimer's disease, this measure was characterized by longer latencies as compared to controls while amplitudes did not show statistical significant differences at frontal and central recording sites. Therefore, the(More)
It has been shown that applying transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) influences declarative memory processes. This study investigates the efficacy of tDCS on emotional memory consolidation, especially experimental fear conditioning. We applied an auditory fear-conditioning paradigm, in which two(More)
In Alzheimer's disease (AD), mild functional disturbances should precede gross structural damage and even more clinical symptoms, possibly by decades. Moreover, alterations in the brainstem are supposed to occur earlier as cortical affections. Based on these considerations, we developed a new method aiming at the measurement of vagal brainstem functioning(More)
OBJECTIVES Neurotoxic effects of alcohol consumption are well-known. There is plenty of literature on frontal lobe impairment on the behavioural and structural brain imaging level. However, only few functional imaging studies investigated altered neural patterns and even less abstinence-related neural recovery. METHODS In a cross-sectional design three(More)
Background. In order to prevent future errors, we constantly control our behavior for discrepancies between the expected (i.e., intended) and the real action outcome and continuously adjust our behavior accordingly. Neurophysiological correlates of this action-monitoring process can be studied with event-related potentials (error-related negativity (ERN)(More)
The extinction of conditioned fear depends on an efficient interplay between the amygdala and the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). In rats, high-frequency electrical mPFC stimulation has been shown to improve extinction by means of a reduction of amygdala activity. However, so far it is unclear whether stimulation of homologues regions in humans might have(More)
The trail making test (TMT) is a widely applied diagnostic tool measuring executive functioning in order to discriminate between healthy and pathological aging processes. However, due to its paper-and-pencil nature it is difficult to adapt for functional brain imaging. Related neural underpinnings even in healthy aging are mostly unknown since no consistent(More)