Center for Neuro and Sociophysiology (CNS)

The Center for Neuro- and Sociophysiology (CNS) adopts a diagnostic function on a higher level and, in connection with the data gathered in the selected sub-projects (Epidemiology, Early Recognition, Supported Employment) focuses on the identification of markers or endophenotypes.


Endophenotypes are characteristics of an illness which between the stages of genotype (gene) and phenotype (illness) adopt an intermediary stage. Unlike the clinical diagnosis, which is established at phenotype level, endophenotypes represent underlying or even preliminary abnormalities of the actual illness, for example measurable brain dysfunctions. Endophenotypes are not immediately recognizable for the clinical psychiatric examiner and technical or psychological methods are necessary to determine them, such as, for example, imaging methods, neuro-psychological or socio-psychological tests.


As well as detecting illness-specific symptoms, the tests of the CNS aim to determine social impediments which, for example, impair the successful re-integration of individuals with a chronic mental illness. Conscious social-cognitive abilities and involuntary social-physiological functions complement each other and constitute the physiological basis for social functioning. When these malfunction, complex interpersonal phenomena are impeded, such as, for example, empathy. These neuro and socio-physiological parameters should be able to give us predictive information about the causes and characteristics of mental illnesses, to enable, ultimately, differentiating diagnostics, case-by-case therapy and better use of existing resources.


As far as the sub-project Epidemiology is concerned, neuro and/or socio-physiological parameters are to be linked with psychopathological symptoms in a subclinical area and tested for their capacity as indicators of a particular sensitivity when under stress to the development of a mental illness. In the case of the sub-project Early Recognition, the question needs to be explored whether and which neuro and sociophysiological matter can be used as predictive markers for early recognition of psychotic disorders in clinical settings.


For the sub-project Supported Employment the tests of the CNS serve to establish predictive factors, with the aim of being able to choose patients in the future who will particularly benefit from Supported Employment or who, on the other hand, need even more intensive support.


800 tests are planned in the CNS laboratory with the application of a multimodal neurophysiological (electroencephalography, near infrared spectroscopy) and sociophysiological (resonance capability, social cognition, differentiation between self and non-self) test battery.