log in

RG Wessa

Prof. Dr Michèle Wessa

Research Group Leader LIR, Professor and Head Department of Clinical Psychology and Neuropsychology Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz


Anna Bergmann, PhD student

Eliza Eckhardt, PhD student

Dr Aleksandra Kaurin, Postdoc

Heike Schmidt-Harth, MTA-F

Sandra Schönfelder, Study Coordination

Eike Strömer, PhD student

Research group description

The research group investigates the neurobiological and behavioural correlates of central resilience mechanisms as well as the possibilities of behaviour modification derived from them, for example through psychological interventions. Emotional, motivational, and cognitive mechanisms, such as the regulation of emotions by means of different strategies, the processing of reward and the (distorted) cognitive interpretation of situations, play a major role. The regulation of emotions under stress as well as the effect of controllable and uncontrollable stress on human behaviour is investigated. A combination of biopsychological and behavioral measurement methods enables us to comprehensively characterise the mechanisms that contribute to increased stress resilience in humans. This information is used to develop appropriate intervention methods in different formats (e.g., face-to-face training, online training), which are used in large-scale studies to test effectiveness.

Current research projects
  • Online trainings to promote resilience (ResOn)
  • Blended resilience training to foster stress resistance in teachers (BooSTERIT)
  • Computational modelling of behavioural control
External cooperation partners
  • Prof. Dr Dirk Lehr, Institute of Psychology, Leuphana University Lüneburg
  • Prof. Dr Martin Bohus, the Central Institute of Mental Health, Mannheim
  • Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation
Key Publications

Kampa M, Schick A, Sebastian A, Wessa M, Tüscher O, Kalisch R, Yuen K (2020) Replication of fMRI group activations in the neuroimaging battery for the Mainz Resilience Project (MARP). Neuroimage 204:116223. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.116223.

>> Link to Pubmed

Zeier P, Sandner M, Wessa M (2019) Script-based Reappraisal Test introducing a new paradigm to investigate the effect of reappraisal inventiveness on reappraisal effectiveness. Cogn Emot 1-7. doi: 10.1080/02699931.2019.1663153

>> Link to Pubmed

Kalisch R, Baker DG, Basten U, Boks MP, Bonanno GA, Brummelman E, Chmitorz A, Fernàndez G, Fiebach CJ, Galatzer-Levy I, Geuze E, Groppa S, Helmreich I, Hendler T, Hermans EJ, Jovanovic T, Kubiak T, Lieb K, Lutz B, Müller MB, Murray RJ, Nievergelt CM, Reif A, Roelofs K, Rutten BPF, Sander D, Schick A, Tüscher O, Diest IV, Harmelen AV, Veer IM, Vermetten E, Vinkers CH, Wager TD, Walter H, Wessa M, Wibral M, Kleim B (2017). The resilience framework as a strategy to combat stress-related disorders. Nat Hum Behav 1(11):784-790. doi: 10.1038/s41562-017-0200-8

>> Link to Pubmed

Kanske P, Heissler J, Schönfelder S, Forneck J, Wessa M (2013). Neural correlates of emotional distractibility in bipolar disorder, unaffected relatives and individuals with hypomanic personality. Am J Psychiatry 170:1487-1496.

>> Link to Pubmed

Linke J, King AV, Poupon C, Hennerici MG, Gass P, Wessa M (2013). Impaired anatomical connectivity and related executive functions: Differentiating vulnerability and disease marker in bipolar disorder. Biol Psychiatry 74:908-916.

>> Link to Pubmed

Kanske P, Heissler J, Schönfelder S, Bongers A, Wessa M (2011). How to Regulate Emotion? Neural Networks for Reappraisal and Distraction. Cereb Cortex 21:1379-88.

>> Link to Pubmed

Wessa M, Linke J, Witt S, Nieratschker V, Esslinger C, Kirsch P, Grimm O, Hennerici MG, Gass A, King AV, Rietschel M (2010). The CACNA1C risk variant for bipolar disorder influences limbic activity. Molecular Psychiatry 15:1126-1127.

>> Link to Pubmed
Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research (LIR)
Wallstraße 7
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 (0)6131 89448-77
Further Information