in clinical developmental psychology
Learning processes and memory functions change over the life span and, together with genetic and environmental factors, play a crucial role in the development of mental illness. Different learning and memory processes interactively influence subjective experience and overt behavior. At the same time, these mechanisms and their underlying neural substrates have different developmental trajectories which indicates that age should be considered a critical factor in the development, course and treatment of mental illness. In our research we aim to characterize the interplay of different learning and memory processes and their underlying neural systems over the course of human development. We will use Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure how changes in brain activity and structure relate to learning and memory processes. We also intend to study how these age-related changes in learning and memory are affected in people suffering from mental illnesses such as addiction, depression and anxiety disorders and how they change during treatment.