Neurobiology of motivated behavior

Motivation is a central factor eliciting and controlling behavior in animals and man, and hence is of fundamental importance not only for the life sciences, but also for society in general. While psychological theories of motivation have a century-old tradition, the investigation of brain mechanisms underlying motivation is a relatively recent endeavor. The Collaborative Research Center SFB 779 "Neurobiology of motivated behavior" at the University of Magdeburg investigates the neuronal basis of motivation-dependent and motivation-controlling processes using an interdisciplinary approach that exploits the complementary advantages of animal and human research. Specifically, the SFB aims at bridging traditional research disciplines encompassing the molecular, cellular and system-physiological levels as much as the clinical aspects of motivation control. Within the SFB new experimental paradigms have been developed, facilitating a more fundamental understanding of the elemental processes relevant for control of motivated behavior. This enables system-physiological investigation of the role of various brain structures and their neuronal interaction in generation and performance of motivated action. On the cellular and molecular levels, important signaling pathways relevant for motivated behavior are investigated.

In cooperation with:

  • Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology (LIN)
  • Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg (OVGU)

Contact: Prof. Dr. Frank W. Ohl (frank.ohl[at]

Duration: 1. funding period: 2008 – 2011, 2. funding period: 2012 - 2015, 3. funding period: 2016 - 2019

Funding: German Research Foundation (DFG)

Research Focus

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