Research topics

Our research interest is the cognitive psychophysiology of aging. Age-related cognitive impairments are frequently explained with deficits of inhibitory processes, but inhibition is an equivocal term, both at physiological and psychological senses. In our recent experiments we separate the different aspects: perceptual integration, response inhibition, memory processes and creativity is studied and we demonstrate that decreased inhibitory control can produce better performance in some situations.

The aim of our investigation is the analysis of an automatic (non-attentional) visual memory. According to our findings the storage characteristics of the memory system do not confine to elementary visual features, but it is sensitive to perceptual categories (e.g. symmetry, facial emotions). The visual sensory memory is influenced by long-term (learned) effects, like stimulus familiarity. Our general research method is the analysis of event-related brain activity, most importantly the visual mismatch negativity component and the stimulus-specific adaptation. The latter is an indication of the acquisition of the memory representation, whereas the former is connected to prediction violation, commanded by the memory system. We also investigate the age-related changes of the non-attentional visual processing.

Current grants

OTKA K145940 Menopause and cognitive aging: Effects of sex hormone levels on brain functioning
MTA PC2022 II-8/2022 Training-induced compensation of cognitive decline in post-covid patients
OTKA 132880 Conext and Behaviour: Facilitating Performance in Older Age
OTKA K 115457 Inhibition and aging: costs and benefits
OTKA 119587 Automatic and task-related information processing: change detection in task context


Zsófia Anna Gaál