Don’t stop me now: How interruptions affect working memory

At work, we are interrupted and distracted from time to time. This is especially challenging when working at home due to Covid-19. Scientists at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) are focusing on how such interferences affect the performance of the working memory. They could show that it is particularly difficult to get back to the main task after an interruption. This was not the case with non-relevant distractions.

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Studying a new therapeutic approach for HER2+ breast cancer

Despite the considerable progress made in the development of new therapies, breast cancer remains the most common cause of cancer-related death in women in Germany. New treatment options are therefore needed, thus prompting scientists to continuously investigate alternative approaches. Researchers at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) have already shown that the enzyme EDI3 is associated with changes in the metabolism of cancer cells. The team now focuses on the potential of EDI3 as a therapeutic target in a specific breast cancer subgroup. This new project will be funded by the Deutsche Krebshilfe.

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Thorsten Plewan-Blombach appointed professor

Thorsten Plewan-Blombach was appointed professor of psychology in the department of “Business & Media” at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences at the end of July. Thorsten Plewan-Blombach has been working as a PostDoc in the IfADo research department “ergonomics” for eight years. He is investigating basic concepts of perception and attention as well as human-machine interaction with a focus on digital assistance systems in workplaces.

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How psychological stress affects the immune system

Stress at work or at home can make us more susceptible to infections or cancer. Immunologists at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo) are investigating how stress affects the immune system in detail. In a new research project, they are focusing the basics of how a group of neurotransmitters involved in stress reactions influences the function of certain immune cells. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) for the next three years.

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New research laboratory: Work research at IfADo strikes out in a new direction

The IfADo research is on the move: with a Gait Real-Time Analysis Interactive Lab (GRAIL). In it, the gait movement of the entire body can be analyzed in three dimensions in a virtual environment. The laboratory enables researchers to analyze phenomena of human information processing while moving. “The GRAIL allows us new and realistic research approaches“, says Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rinkenauer.

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Gerhard Rinkenauer: Associate Professor

Gerhard Rinkenauer has recently been appointed “Associate Professor” at the Faculty of Education, Psychology and Sociology at the TU Dortmund University. At IfADo, he has been researching the interface between man and technology since 2005. Besides, he has been a lecturer at the TU Dortmund University in the Department of Psychology since 2008.

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How mind wandering is reflected in the brain

It doesn’t matter whether you are already thinking about the end of the day at work or are compiling a shopping list in your head while driving: Everybody wanders with the thoughts. But this can not only reduce your own performance. It can also be dangerous in high-risk work. IfADo psychologist Dr. Stefan Arnau investigated the phenomenon in a recent study in collaboration with researchers of the Heidelberg University. The measurement of alpha power in the brain is therefore a good indicator of thought aberrations.

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Review: Transcranial direct current stimulation in ADHD shows clinical effects

If children are constantly fidgeting, impulsive and unfocused, this may in some cases be due to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This disorder is particularly problematic in everyday school life and impairs the development of the affected children and adolescents. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) could be helpful here. In a review, IfADo PhD student Ali Salehinejad and neuroscientists from Iran, Netherlands and Italy critically analyzed already published studies. The review is currently published in the journal “Neuroscience Bulletin“.

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Immune response against corona infection

Immunologists at the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors (IfADo), in collaboration with local partners, are currently developing methods to detect antibodies against the novel coronavirus. Their aim is not only to determine whether antibodies are present in a person’s blood, but also to identify the actual role of these antibodies. Thus, the team is investigating how well certain antibodies can mediate immunity against SARS-CoV-2.

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