TO TOP

PD Dr. rer. nat. Christian J. Merz


Ruhr University Bochum
Department of Cognitive Psychology
44780 Bochum, Germany

Room: IB 6-75
Phone: +49 234 32-24498
e-mail: Christian.J.Merz@ruhr-uni-bochum.de

ORCID    Google Scholar



Curriculum Vitae


since 2017: Principal Investigator
SFB 1289 "Extinction Learning", Ruhr University Bochum

since 2015: Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum

2014-2017: Principal Investigator
DFG Research Group "Extinction Learning: Neural Mechanisms, Behavioural Manifestations, and Clinical Implications" (FOR 1581)

2014-2015: Interim Professor (W2) for Biological and Clinical Psychology
Trier University

2012-2014: Postdoctoral Researcher
Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum

2011-2012: Postdoctoral Researcher
Psychotherapy and Systems Neuroscience, Justus Liebig University Giessen

2008-2011: Research Assistant
Department of Cognitive Psychology, Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Ruhr University Bochum

2008: Student Assistant
Bender Institute of Neuroimaging, Justus Liebig University Giessen

2006-2007: Student Assistant
Psychological Psychotherapy (Supervision), Justus Liebig University Giessen

2017: Habilitation for Cognitive and Biological Psychology
Ruhr University Bochum
Topic: “Neurobiology of emotional learning processes: Basics, neuroendocrine modulation, and clinical implications”

2011: Dr. rer. nat., summa cum laude
Ruhr University Bochum
Topic: “Influence of stress and sex hormones on fear conditioning under different learning conditions"

09/2007: Diploma in Psychology
Jusus Liebig University Giessen

2002-2007: Psychology Student (Minor Subject: Medicine)
Justus Liebig University Giessen

  • Psychoneuroendocrinology, Psychophysiology, fMRI
  • Stress and Stress Hormones
  • Sex Differences and Sex Hormones
  • Fear Conditioning
  • Emotional Learning
  • Episodic Memory
  • Clinical Applications

Peer-Reviewed Journals

* shared authorship

Book Chapters:

  • Merz, C.J., Elzinga, B.M. & Schwabe, L. (2016). Stress, fear, and memory in healthy individuals. In J.D. Bremner (Hrsg.), Post-traumatic stress disorder: From neurobiology to treatment. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Merz, C.J., Wolf, O.T. (2015). Stress and emotional learning in humans: Evidence for sex differences. In R. Shansky (Hrsg.), Sex Differences in the Central Nervous System. London, San Diego, Waltham, Oxford: Academic Press.
  • 2020: International Scientific Event Grant (DFG, ME 3831/6-1)
    to organize the “12th European Meeting on Human Fear Conditioning (EMHFC) 2020" in Bochum
  • 2019: DFG Research Grant (ME3831/5-1)
    “Genomic and non-genomic cortisol effects on memory retrieval dependent on sex hormone status”
  • 2018: Scholarship for Conference Participation (DAAD)
    „30th Winter Conference on Neural Plasticity“, Curaçao
  • 2017: DFG Research Grant, Subproject of SFB 1280 “Extinction Learning”
    “The impact of stress and stress hormones on extinction, renewal, reinstatement and reconsolidation”, Joint Application with O. T. Wolf
  • 2017: Project Funds, eLearning Contest 5x5000 (Center for Teaching and Learning, Ruhr University Bochum)
    „RightCite: Richtiges Zitieren und Umgang mit Plagiaten“, Joint Application with S. Brandhorst, S. Hahn, M. Krause, K. Lucht-Roussel, M. Luhmann, C. Peifer, J. Rose, A. Schüffler & M. Theile
  • 2016: Research Grant, Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR)
    “The influence of stress on retrieval of socially relevant fear memories”
  • 2016: Teaching Award (Faculty of Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum)
    Best Seminar in M.Sc. Psychology
  • 2015: Teaching Award (Students Representatives, Faculty of Psychology, Trier University)
    Best Lecture and Best Seminar in B.Sc. Psychology
  • 2015: Event Award (Ruhr University Bochum)
    to organize the “7th European Meeting on Human Fear Conditioning“
  • 2015: DFG Research Grant (LO 1980/2-1)
    “Research network for the (European) Interdisciplinary study of Fear and Extinction Learning as well as the Return of Fear (EIFEL-ROF)“, Joint Application with T. Lonsdorf; 2020: Commendation from the Society for Improving Psychological Science; SIPS
  • 2014: Scholarship for Conference Participation (DAAD)
    “44th annual ISPNE conference", Montreal
  • 2013: DFG Research Grant, Subproject of FOR 1581 "Extinction Learning: Neural Mechanisms, Behavioural Manifestations, and Clinical Implications" (WO733/13-2)
    "Effects of the stress hormone cortisol on extinction retrieval: In search of the neural correlates", Joint Application with O.T. Wolf
  • 2012: DFG Research Grant (ME 3831/4-1)
    “Neurobiology of context-dependent extinction learning: Modulation by multiple extinction contexts and cortisol”, Joint Application with A. Hermann
  • 2012: Scholarship for Conference Participation (DAAD)
    "Neuroscience 2012", New Orleans
  • 2012: Research Grant (Justus Liebig University Giessen)
    Neuronal basis of generalization of extinction learning“, Joint Application with A. Hermann
  • 2011: Young Investigator Award (International Society for Psychoneuroendocrinology)
  • 2011: Scholarship for participation at the Spring School (DGPA)
    "Genes, brain, and behavior: From personality to psychopathology", St. Goar
  • 2009: Research Grant (Women’s Representative of the Justus Liebig University Giessen)
    “Neurobiological bases of social anxiety in women”, Joint Application with A. Hermann

German Psychological Society (DGPs)

  • since 2016: Member of the Ethics Committee
  • Section General Psychology
  • Section Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
  • Section Biological Psychology and Neuropsychology
  • Interest Group Biopsychology and Neurosciences in Clinical Psychology
  • Interest Group Open and Reproducible Research in the Section Biological Psychology and Neuropyschology (Founding Member)

German Society for Psychophysiology and its Applications (DGPA)

  • 2015-2016: Committee Member of the Board and Speaker of the Young Scientists

International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology (ISPNE)

Research Funding Programs

  • German Research Foundation (DFG)
  • German-American Fulbright Commission
  • German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD))
  • European Research Council (ERC)
  • Austrian Science Fund (Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF))
  • Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO)
  • Research Foundation Flanders (FWO)

Consulting Editor

  • Biological Psychology

Peer-Reviewed Journals

Acta psychologica; American Journal of Psychiatry; Behavioural Brain Research; Behavioral Neuroscience; Behavior Research Methods; Behaviour Research and Therapy; Biological Psychiatry; Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging; Biological Psychology; BMC Women's Health; Brain Imaging and Behavior; Brain Sciences; Clinical Psychological Science; Cognitive, Affective and Behvioral Neuroscience; Communications Biology; Contraception; Depression and Anxiety; European Neuropsychopharmacology; Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience; Hormones and Behavior; Human Brain Mapping; International Journal of Psychophysiology; Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry; Journal of Experimental Psychology; Journal of Individual Differenes; Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Journal of Neuroscience; Journal of Neuroscience Research; Journal of Vision; Memory; Memory & Cognition; Motivation and Emotion; Nature Communications; Nature Protocols; Neurobiology of Learning and Memory; Neurobiology of Stress; Neuroimage; Neuropsychobiology; Neuropsychologia; Neuropsychopharmacology; Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Physiology and Behavior; PLOS ONE; Psychological Medicine; Psychological Reports; Psychological Science; Psychoneuroendocrinology; Psychopathology Review; Psychopharmacology; Psychophysiology; Science Advances; Social, Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience; Social Neuroscience; Stress; The Cerebellum; Thinking and Reasoning; Translational Psychiatry; Zeitschrift für Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie.

Current Teaching Activities:

  • Seminar "Stress and Cognition"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Seminar  "Cognition I: Perception, Attention, Memory"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum

Past Teaching Activities:

  • Practical Course in Experimental Psychology "Context and Memory"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Seminar "Cognition II: Language, Thinking, Problem Solving"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Pracitcal Course in Experimental Psychology "Stress and Memory"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Seminar "Learning and Memory Processes under Stress I + II"
    B.Sc./M.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Lecture "Biopsychology I"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Lecture "Biopsychology II"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Colloquium "Biological and Clinical Psychology"
    B.Sc./M.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Seminar "Focus in Basics: Biopsychology"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Seminar "Selected Problems: Neurobiology of Mental Disorders"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Seminar "Research-Oriented Focus: Neurobiology of Mental Disorders"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Trier University
  • Seminar "Hormonal Aspects of Mental Disorders"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Practical Course "Professional Field"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Seminar "Stress and Memory"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Seminar "Obsessive-Compulsive Disordes"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Teaching Research Project
    M.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Seminar "Cognitive Neurosciences: Emotional Learning"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Seminar "Biological Psychology"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Justus Liebig University Giessen
  • Seminar "Psychoneuroendocrinology, Hormones and Behavior"
    M.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum
  • Seminar "Conditioning Processes in Cognitive Neurosciences"
    B.Sc. Psychology, Ruhr University Bochum