Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Noradrenergic control of human cognition

What is the role of the noradrenergic system in human cognition?

Sander Nieuwenhuis

The locus coeruleus-noradrenaline (LC-NA) system is one of the major neuromodulator systems in the brain and innervates a greater variety of brain areas than any other single brain system. It is clear that the neuromodulatory effects of noradrenaline must have pervasive influences on cognitive function in humans, but these are still poorly understood. The goal of this project is to enhance our understanding of the role of the LC-NA  system in human cognition through the use of various methods, including neuroimaging, psychopharmacology, genetics and pupillometry. These methods will allow us to address questions concerning the role of the LC-NA system in optimizing task performance in the context of uncertainty about the environment, performance errors, emotional  stimuli, and other demanding situations. Although much of the research is focused on the brain, the main goal is to understand the basic mechanisms underlying cognition.  

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