Department of Behavioral Neuroscience

The department is focused on the research of brain mechanisms of mental processes, behavior and movements. We study neurobiological mechanisms of perception, cognitive functions, emotions and motor activity, their role in mental health and dysfunction in mental disorders and neuropsychiatric diseases. Another research focus are process of postural control and human gait and their disturbance in neurodegenerative diseases.



MUDr. Igor Riečanský, PhD.

tel.: +421 2 3229 6018




MUDr. Fedor Jagla, CSc.

RNDr. Diana Bzdúšková, PhD.

RNDr. Barbora Cimrová, PhD.

Mgr. Zuzana Hirjaková, PhD.

RNDr. Jana Kimijanová, PhD.

Mgr. Martin Marko, PhD.

Mgr. Drahomír Michalko, PhD.

Mgr. Rastislav Rovný, PhD.

Prof. MUDr. Peter Valkovič, PhD.


Research associates:

Ing. Štefan Bendžala

Mgr. Milan Mitka


PhD. students:

Mgr. Dominika Besterciová


The most important publication in the last 5 years 

MARKO, Martin – RIEČANSKÝ, Igor. Sympathetic arousal, but not disturbed executive functioning, mediates the impairment of cognitive flexibility under stress. In Cognition, 2018, vol. 174, p. 94–102. (3.414 – IF2016, Q1)  

HORAK, F. B. – KLUZIK, J. – HLAVAČKA, František. Velocity dependence of vestibular information for postural control on tilting surfaces. In Journal of Neurophysiology, 2016, vol. 116, no. 3, p. 1468-1479. (2.653 – IF2015, Q1).  

RIEČANSKÝ, Igor – PAUL, Nina – KӦLBLE, Sarah – STIEGER, Stefan – LAMM, Claus. Beta oscillations reveal ethnicity ingroup bias in sensorimotor resonance to pain of others. In Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 2015, vol. 10, no. 7, p. 893-901. (7.372 – IF2014, Q1)  

RÜTGEN, Markus – SEIDEL, Eva-Maria – SILANI, Giorgia – RIEČANSKÝ, Igor – HUMMER, Allan – WINDISCHBERGER, Christian – PETROVIC, Predrag – LAMM, Claus. Placebo analgesia and its opioidergic regulation suggest that empathy for pain is grounded in self pain. In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2015, vol. 112, no. 41, p. E5638-E5646. (9.674 – IF2014, Q1)  

HALICKÁ, Zuzana – LOBOTKOVÁ, Jana – BUČKOVÁ, Kristína – HLAVAČKA, František. Effectiveness of different visual biofeedback signals for human balance improvement. In Gait & Posture, 2014, vol.39, p. 410-414. (2.299 – IF2013, Q1)


Current projects

Interaction of nitrergic, neurotrophic and endocrine signaling in the etiopathogenesis of schizophrenia 

Principal investigator: MUDr. Igor Riečanský, PhD. 

Project number: APVV-16-0233 

Duration: 01.07.2015 – 30.06.2019 


Design and implementation of visual biofeedback for the rehabilitation of mobility deficiencies in patients with low back pain 

Principal investigator: Ing. František Hlavačka, CSc. 

Project number: APVV-16-0233 

Duration: 1.7.2017 – 30.6.2019 


The influence of constitutional factors of redox regulation on endophenotypic markers of schizophrenia 

Principal investigator: MUDr. Igor Riečanský, PhD. 

Project number: VEGA  2/0056/16 

Duration: 1.1.2016 – 31.12.2018 


The effect of transcranial direct current stimulation of the brain on sensorimotor gating in human 

Principal investigator: MUDr. Fedor Jagla, CSc. 

Project number: VEGA  2/0039/17 

Duration: 1.1.2017 – 31.12.2019 


Age-related changes in sensory control of balance during sit-to-stand and gait 

Principal investigator: Ing. František Hlavačka, CSc. 

Project number: VEGA  2/0094/16 

Duration: 1.1.2016 – 31.12.2018 


Specific methods and innovative procedures for assessing performance in athletes and physical fitness in the general population 

Principal investigator: Prof. Mgr. Erika Zemková, PhD., Faculty of Physical Education and Sports, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia 

Deputy principal investigator for CEM: RNDr. Diana Bzdúšková, PhD. 

Project number: VEGA  1/0824/17 

Duration: 1.1.2017 – 31.12.2019 


The influence of variability of NOS1 and DAT1 genes on sensorimotor gating in humans: the implications for the pathophysiology of schizophrenia

Funding: Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic

Project no.: 2012/52-SAV-2

Project leader: Igor Riečanský

Duration: 19.7.2013-30.6.2016


Research shows that interactions of functionally related genes play major role in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia. In this project, we investigate the association between combined polymorphisms of NOS1 a DAT1 genes and sensorimotor gating, an endophenotype of schizophrenia. The project will yield novel knowledge on the regulatory mechanisms of dopaminergic signaling, importantly involved in schizophrenia.


Sensory information filtering in persons with genetic risk of schizophrenia

Project no.: VEGA 2/0093/14

Project leader: Fedor Jagla

Duration: 1.1.2014 – 31.12.2016


Schizophrenia is a devastating mental disorder, but its pathophysiology not clarified yet. An important role in the development of the disorder seems to play an insufficient filtration of irrelevant sensory stimuli. Genetic predisposition is the major risk factor for developing schizophrenia and research indicates involvement of common polymorphisms in multiple functionally coupled genes. There is increasing evidence that redox dysbalance importantly contributes to schizophrenia. In this project, we will use electrophysiological methods to assess how common variability in key enzymes regulating cellular redox status, neuronal nitric oxide synthase and glutamate cysteine ligase, is related to filtering auditory stimuli in humans. This project will provide important novel knowledge on the pathomechanism of schizophrenia.


International Cooperations 

Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Unit, Department of Basic Psychological Research and Research Methods, Faculty of Psychology, University of Vienna, Austria, head: Prof. Claus Lamm 

Description: The collaboration is focused at the research of higher brain functions, in particular the neuronal mechanisms of social behavior. 


Balance Disorders Laboratory, Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA,  

Prof. Fay B. Horak 

Description: The collaboration is focused at research of posture control and balance disorders. 


National Cooperations 

1st Department of Psychiatry, Pavol Jozef  Šarárik University in Košice, Slovakia  

Currently, the collaboration is also based on common research project of the agency VEGA. 


Faculty of Physical Education and SportsComenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia
The collaboration is focused at research of posture control and balance disorders. Currently, the collaboration is also based on a joint research project of the agency VEGA. 


2nd Department of Neurology, Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia  

The collaboration is focused on research of balance disorders in neurodegenerative diseases.