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Disorders of consciousness, vegetative state, and locked-in


Research Aims

Consciousness is the most general ability to subjective experience, because everything we know, we know from experiencing it. Its main components are wakefulness, qualitative experiences (e.g. to feel, see, or taste), and intentional states. Disorders of Consciousness (DoC) are conditions in which one, two, or all three components of consciousness described above, are disturbed. One central question is, whether the three components of consciousness are dissociable. Another issue is how modern neurophysiological techniques can reveal covert conscious functions in patients with extremely severe DoC.



1.) Boris Kotchoubey
2.) Susanne Diekelmann
3.) Lilian Ohrlogge
4.) Petra Augurzky (Department of Linguistics)

5.) Vladimir Bostanov

6.) Steffen Gais

7.) Isabella Neuper
8.) Yuri G. Pavlov



Current projects
  • Neurophysiological correlates of mindfulness-based interventions in patients with recurrent depression (Prof. M. Hautzinger, Dr. V. Bostanov, L. Ohrlogge)
  • Cognition and consciousness in Vegetative State (Dr. F. Müller, Hospital for Neurological Rehabilitation, Bad Aibling; S. Veser)
  • Event-related potentials and prosodic comprehension (Prof. D. Dogil and Prof. A. Alexiadou, Institute of Linguistics, University of Stuttgart; P. Augurzsky)



Key publications
  • Kotchoubey, B., Merz, S., Lang, S., Markl, A., Müller, F., Yu, T., & Schwarzbauer, C. Global functional connectivity reveals highly significant differences between the vegetative and the minimally conscious state. Journal of Neurology, 2013, 260:975-983.
  • Kotchoubey, B. Why Are You Free? Neurobiology and Psychology of Voluntary Action. Hauppauge, New York, Nova Science Publishers, 2012, 178 pp.
  • Kotchoubey, B., Pavlov, Y. G., & Kleber, B. Music in research and rehabilitation of disorders of consciousness: Psychological and neurophysiological foundations. Frontiers in Psychology, 2015, 6, Article 1783
  • Yu, T., Lang, S., Vogel, D., Markl, A., Müller, F., & Kotchoubey, B. Patients with unresponsive wakefulness syndrome respond to the pain cries of other people. Neurology, 2013, 80:345-352 (featured article).
  • Bostanov, V., Keune, P. M., Kotchoubey, B., & Hautzinger, M. Changes in event-related brain potentials reflect an increase in sustained mindful attention after mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression: A randomized clinical trial. Psychiatry Research, 2013, 99, 174-180



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