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About us Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences Psychology Research Units Clinical Psych. & Exp. Psychopathology

Neurobiology of Dissociation

Clinical Psychology, Psychometrics and Statistics

In the last years, there has been an ongoing debate about the role dissociation plays in health and disease, based on its putative role elucidating the emergence of consciousness. Currently, the construct of dissociation is neither well defined nor readily objectified. Within my research agenda, pathological dissociation will be conceptualized as a form of reactive, uncontrollable emotion regulation resulting in depersonalization, derealization, and emotional numbing, but not identity fragmentation or memory departmentalization. Over the course of the next five years, my group will explore the role of pathological dissociation in the development, maintenance, and treatment of trauma-related disorders. Using varied methodological approaches (including ecological momentary assessment, behavioural experiments, psychophysiology, and neuroimaging) we will test the hypotheses that pathological dissociation (1) can be objectified using psychophysiological measures, (2) results from altered prefrontal functioning, (3) is directly related to the development of intrusions, and (4) correlates with behavioural alterations such as attentional bias and risk for re-victimization.

Sub projects

  • Instrument development - the quest for valid questionnaires
  • Psychophysiology
  • Structural Neuroimaging
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment of State Dissociation
  • Functional Neuroimaging

Researchers and partners

Behavioural and Social Sciences, Psychology
Partners outside of the University of Groningen
  • Anika Sierk, External PhD student, Universitätsmedizin Charite Berlin, Germany
  • Antje Manthey, External PhD student, Universitätsmedizin Charite Berlin, Germany
  • Carolin Gebauer, External PhD student, Universität München, Germany
  • Prof. Carsten Spitzer, Asklepios Klinik Göttingen, Germany
  • PD Dr. Ilona Croy, Universitätsklinikum Dresden, Germany
  • Prof. Dr. Astrid Lampe, Universitätsklinikum Innsbruck, Austria


Courses connected to this project
  • Forensic Psychology and Victimology Master
Selection of BA and MA student projects
  • Predictors of Re-Victimization
  • Attentional Bias for Positive Emotions in Subjects with Childhood Trauma
  • Differential Association between Childhood Trauma and Dissociative Symptoms
Other remarks on education
  • Research Master - Validation of several psychometric instruments for the assessment of dissociation


  • Daniels, J.K., Frewen, P., Lanius, R.A. (2016). Structural brain alterations associated with the dissociative subtype of posttraumatic stress disorder. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica, 133(3), 232-40.
  • Daniels, J.K., Gaebler, M., Lamke, J.-P., Walter, H. (2015). Grey matter alterations in depersonalization disorder - a voxel-based morphometry study. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 40(1), 19-27.
  • Daniels, J.K. (2014). White matter alterations following childhood trauma. In Martin, C.R., Preedy, V. & Patel, V.B.(Eds.): Comprehensive Guide to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Springer: Heidelberg.
  • Gaebler, M., Lamke, J.-P., Daniels, J.K. & Walter, H. (2013). Phenomenal depth - A common phenomenological dimension in depression and depersonalization. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 20(7-8), 269-291.
  • Daniels, J.K., Lamke, J.-P., Gaebler, M., Scheel, M. (2013). White matter integrity and its relationship to PTSD and childhood trauma- a systematic review and meta-analysis. Depression and Anxiety, 30(3), 207-216.
  • Daniels, J.K., Hegadoren, K., Coupland, N.J., Neufeld, R.J. & Lanius, R. (2012). Neural and behavioural correlates of peritraumatic dissociation in an acutely traumatized sample. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 73(4), 420-426.
Successful grant proposals and other achievements
  • The Neurobiology of Dissociation, Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, 2014-2017

More information

Last modified:29 March 2021 10.18 a.m.
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