Research Groups

Aleman group

Cognitive neuropsychiatry is a theory-driven approach to investigating psychiatric symptoms and cognitive impairments at the crossroads of psychiatry, cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Methods used are neuroimaging, computer-based cognitive tasks and psychiatric or psychological interviews or questionnaires.

Research focuses on three lines of investigation: psychiatric symptoms and vulnerability, with a focus on cognitive-emotional interactions; cognitive aging, with a focus on mild cognitive impairment; treatment and prevention, with a focus on non-invasive neurostimulation.

  • People
  • Publications
  • Symptoms/vulnerability
  • Cognitive aging
  • Treatment
  • Andre Aleman PhD Visit

    Professor Cognitive Neuropsychiatry, Head of the Section Cognitive Neuroscience Center

    Research fields

    apathy, alexithymia, psychosis, hallucinations, psychiatric disorders

    Associate researchers
    PhD students
    Maryam Faramarzi
    Haiyeng Geng Msc.
    Nena Lejko Msc.
    postdoctoral fellows
    • All Publications: mepa page or  pdf Selected Publications:
      1. Aleman A, Denys D. (2014) Mental health: A road map for suicide research and prevention. Nature.
      2. Curcic-Blake B, Liemburg E, Vercammen A, Swart M, Knegtering H, Bruggeman R, Aleman A. (2012) When Broca goes uninformed: reduced information flow to Broca's area in schizophrenia patients with auditory hallucinations. Schizophr Bull.
      3. Vercammen A, Knegtering H, denBoer JA, Liemburg EJ, Aleman A.(2010) Auditory Hallucinations in Schizophrenia Are Associated with Reduced Functional Connectivity of the Temporo-Parietal Area. Biol Psychiatry
      4. Vercammen A, Knegtering H, Bruggeman R, Westenbroek HM, Jenner JA, Slooff CJ, Wunderink L, Aleman A. (2009). Effects of bilateral repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on treatment resistant auditory-verbal hallucinations in schizophrenia: a randomized controlled trial. Schizophr Res.
      5. Allen, P., Larøi, F., McGuire, P.K., Aleman, A. (2008). The hallucinating brain: A review of structural and functional neuroimaging studies of hallucinations. Neurosci Biobehav Rev
      6. Van’t Wout M, Kahn RS, Sanfey A, Aleman A. (2006). Affective state and decision making in the Ultimatum Game. Exp Brain Res.
      7. Aleman A, E Formisano, H Koppenhagen, P Hagoort, EHF de Haan, RS Kahn (2005). The functional neuroanatomy of metrical stress evaluation of perceived and imagined spoken words. Cerebral Cortex
      8. Aleman A, Kahn RS. (2005) Strange feelings: do amygdala abnormalities dysregulate the emotional brain in schizophrenia? Progress in Neurobiology
      9. Aleman A, De Haan EHF. (2000). Antipsychotics and working memory in schizophrenia. Science
      10. Aleman, A., Hijman, R., De Haan, E.H.F., & Kahn, R.S. (1999) Memory impairment in schizophrenia: a meta-analysis. American Journal of Psychiatry
  • A major focus of research concerns the cognitive and neural basis of apathy. Patients with psychiatric disorders frequently experience markedly reduced levels of interest and a lack of initiative in daily activities, i.e. apathy. Understanding apathy contributes critically to the welfare of patients because the disease has important implications for their (social) function.

    We study the neural and cognitive basis of apathy, in order to elucidate brain circuits that may be compromised. Specifically, the involvement of frontostriatal and frontoparietal circuits, with their putatively differential role in apathy, are investigated. In addition, we investigate experimental treatments, such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS) and behavioral activation therapy.



    Another important focus is the neural basis of course prediction in major depressive disorder. The effects of preventive cognitive therapy in remitted depression are studied to understand the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying relapse and relapse prevention in major depressive disorder.

    Finally, we conduct research on the neural basis of suicidality. Suicide is a leading cause of death among young people in Europe. In the Netherlands, each year approximately 25.000 people need medical care after a suicide attempt. We are studying cognitive-emotional processes that may be distorted in people with suicidal tendencies. This research can potentially inform the development of new treatments.


  • Aging is an important issue for society, and many people dread the loss of memory and other cognitive abilities. Excessive memory loss can point to early phases of dementia. We study the neural basis of mild cognitive impairment (cognitive deterioration that is not yet clinically significant) in elderly people using different neuroimaging techniques. We are particularly interested in the role of apathy as predictor for conversion to dementia. We also aim to improve cognitive functioning using neurofeedback and neurostimulation.

  • Psychosocial therapies, neurofeedback and neurostimulation approaches belong to the most important strategies for improving brain functioning. The neural basis of all three is investigated by researchers in our Department. Neurostimulation concerns repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) or transcranial alternating current stimulation (tACS).


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