Nicolas Zink

Nicolas Zink
University of California, Los Angeles | UCLA · Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior

Ph.D.

About

30
Publications
20,290
Reads
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297
Citations
Citations since 2016
27 Research Items
294 Citations
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Introduction
I am interested in attentional and executive functions (working memory, inhibition, cognitive flexibility), and the underlying neurophysiological mechanisms that drive the capacity to (voluntarily) control actions, flexibly switch between them or process them either serially or in parallel. For this, I use data-driven EEG analyses to investigate ERPs, brain oscillatory processes and the efficiency of functional network communication. Other methods are genetical analyses, clinical populations (AD(H)D), different age groups, intoxication (alcohol) or pharmacological approaches (methylphenidate).
Additional affiliations
October 2019 - February 2020
Technische Universität Dresden
Position
  • Seminar leader
Description
  • Drugs, Diagnoses, and Deprivation – when the brain develops differently
April 2018 - September 2018
Technische Universität Dresden
Position
  • Seminar leader
Description
  • Multitasking
April 2017 - September 2017
Technische Universität Dresden
Position
  • Lecturer
Description
  • Neuroplasticity
Education
July 2016 - January 2020
Universitätsklinikum Carl Gustav Carus Dresden
Field of study
  • Medical Faculty Cognitive Neurophysiology
October 2013 - October 2015
Technische Universität Dresden
Field of study
  • Cognitive Affective Neuroscience
October 2009 - December 2012

Publications

Publications (30)
Article
Full-text available
Zusammenfassung. Vorgestellt wird die Entwicklung und testpsychologische Evaluation des Multidimensionalen Düsseldorfer Trauminventars (MDTI), eines Fragebogens zur Erfassung des Traumerlebens unabhängig vom Trauminhalt. Dazu wurde eine Vorläuferversion, das Düsseldorfer Trauminventar (DTI; 51 Items), einer Stichprobe aus N = 715 vorgelegt, welche...
Article
Full-text available
Patients with attention deficit/(hyperactivity) disorder (AD(H)D) show increased intra-individual variability (IIV) in behavioral performance. This likely reflects dopaminergic deficiencies. However, the precise performance profile across time and the pattern of fluctuations within it have not yet been considered, partly due to insufficient methods...
Article
“Executive functions” (EFs) is an umbrella term for higher cognitive control functions such as working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. One of the most challenging problems in this field of research has been to explain how the wide range of cognitive processes subsumed as EFs are controlled without an all-powerful but ill-defined cent...
Article
Functional connectivity in EEG resting-state is not stable but fluctuates considerably. The aim of this study was to investigate how efficient information flows through a network, i.e. how resting-state EEG networks are organized and whether this organization it also subject to fluctuations. Differences of the network organization (small-worldness)...
Preprint
Full-text available
“Executive functions” (EFs) is an umbrella term for higher cognitive functions such as working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility. These functions refer to dissociable mechanisms that are also intricately related, justifying the view of EF as a unitary mental faculty. One of the most challenging theoretical problems in this field of rese...
Article
Full-text available
Frequent alcohol binges shift behavior from goal-directed to habitual processing modes. This shift in reward-associated learning strategies plays a key role in the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorders and seems to persist during (early stages of) sobriety in at-risk drinkers. Yet still, it has remained unclear whether this phenomeno...
Article
Attentional control is crucial for selectively attending to relevant information when our brain is confronted with a multitude of sensory signals. Graph-theoretical measures provide a powerful tool for investigating the efficiency of brain network communication in separating and integrating information. Albeit it has been demonstrated that atDCS ca...
Article
Full-text available
The neurophysiological mechanisms underlying the integration of perception and action are an important topic in cognitive neuroscience. Yet, connections between neurophysiology and cognitive theoretical frameworks have rarely been established. The Theory of Event Coding (TEC) details how perceptions and actions are associated (bound) in a common re...
Article
Full-text available
Alcohol increases GABAergic signaling and decreases glutamatergic signaling in the brain. Variations in these transmitter levels may modulate/predict executive functioning. Matching this, strong impairments of response inhibition are one of the most consistently reported cognitive/behavioral effects of acute alcohol intoxication. Yet, it has never...
Article
Full-text available
Goal-directed behavior requires the ability to resolve subliminally or consciously induced response conflicts, both of which may benefit from catecholamine-induced increases in gain control. We investigated the effects of presynaptic differences in dopamine and norepinephrine synthesis with the help of the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) rs10770141 and t...
Article
Regular binge-drinking increases the risk of developing alcohol use disorder (AUD) and induces similar acute effects of behavioral control, particularly in case of response selection conflicts. No such effects have been reported for automatic / bottom-up response selection even though AUD alters automaticity. However, it has never been reliably tes...
Article
Goal-directed behavior is affected by subliminally and consciously induced conflicts. Both seem to be modulated by catecholamines, especially dopamine. On the basis of cognitive theoretical and neurobiological considerations, we investigated the effects of dopamine D1 and D2 signaling with the help of unweighted polygenic scores in n=207 healthy yo...
Article
Full-text available
The cholinergic system is one of the most important neurotransmitter systems, but knowledge about the relevance of the cholinergic muscarinergic receptor system for cognitive functions is still scarce. Evidence suggests that the cholinergic muscarinic 2 receptor (CHRM2) plays an important role in the processing of cueing/prior information that help...
Article
Full-text available
Goal-directed behavior has been shown to be affected by consciously and subliminally induced conflicts. Both types of conflict conjointly modulate behavioral performance, but the underlying neuronal mechanisms have remained unclear. While cognitive control is linked to oscillations in the theta frequency band, there are several mechanisms via which...
Article
Full-text available
Background Highly complex tasks generally benefit from increases in cognitive control, which has been linked to dopamine. Yet, the same amount of control may actually be detrimental in tasks with low complexity, so that the task-dependent allocation of cognitive control resources (also known as „metacontrol“) is key to expedient and adaptive behavi...
Article
Background: Catecholamines affect response inhibition, but the effects of methylphenidate (MPH) on inhibitory control in healthy subjects are heterogenous. Theoretical considerations suggest that working memory demands and learning/familiarization processes are important factors to consider regarding catecholaminergic effects on response inhibition...
Article
Full-text available
Goal-directed behavior requires sufficient resource allocation of cognitive control processes, such as the ability to prioritize relevant over less relevant information in working memory. Findings from neural recordings in animals and human multimodal imaging studies suggest that reward incentive mechanisms could facilitate the encoding and updatin...
Article
Binge drinking is an increasingly prevalent pattern of alcohol consumption that impairs top-down cognitive control to a much stronger degree than automatic response generation. Even though an imbalance of those two antagonistic processes fosters the development and maintenance of alcohol use disorders (AUDs), it has never been directly investigated...
Article
Until recently, investigating microscopic changes in the integrity of human brain matter has not been possible in vivo. It has hence remained unknown whether and how small non-pathological variations in cytoskeletal neuronal integrity affect human cognitive functioning. We investigated the role of neuronal cytoskeleton integrity for complex multico...
Article
Many gene variants may impair our health and cognitive abilities at old age, but some of them paradoxically improve the same or similar functions at much younger age (antagonistic pleiotropy hypothesis). Such a diametric pattern may also hold true for the ancestral Apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele, which increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive control processes are advantageous when routines would not lead to the desired outcome, but this can be ill-advised when automated behavior is advantageous. The aim of this study was to identify neural dynamics related to the ability to adapt to different cognitive control demands – a process that has been referred to as ‘metacontrol’. A...
Article
Full-text available
Advantageous effects of cognitive control are well-known, but cognitive control may also have adverse effects, for example when it suppresses the implicit processing of stimulus –response (S-R) bindings that could benefit task performance. Yet, the neurophysiological and functional neuroanatomical structures associated with adverse effects of cogni...
Article
Full-text available
The detrimental effects of acute alcohol intoxication and long-term alcohol (ab)use on cognition are well-known. Yet, only little is known about the cognitive effects of an acute alcohol hangover, even though it might affect executive functions associated with workplace performance or driving skills. Given that alcohol hangover may increase the spe...
Article
Full-text available
Cognitive flexibility is a major requirement for successful behavior. Moreover, neural oscillations in the alpha frequency band were repeatedly associated with cognitive flexibility in task-switching paradigms. Alpha frequencies are modulated by working memory load and are used to process information during task switching, however we do not know ho...
Research
Full-text available
The present review gives an overview on common theories of dreaming with a specific emphasis on how they are able to explain lucid dreaming. The theories are grouped either to such that describe structural or biological processes of dreams or to such that describe evolutionary and adaptive functions of dreams. This overview shows that none of the t...
Article
Full-text available
The present review gives an overview on common theories of dreaming with a specific emphasis on how they are able to explain lucid dreaming. The theories are grouped either to such that describe structural or biological processes of dreams or to such that describe evolutionary and adaptive functions of dreams. This overview shows that none of the t...
Article
Full-text available
Lucid dreaming is the ability of a dreamer to become aware that he is dreaming and to possibly change some aspects of his current dream. This ability is associated with higher creativity and a proclivity for divergent thinking. Between subjects, dreams have different structural characteristics, such as the incorporation of daytime events, aversive...

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