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Before joining UT, I've worked at the Max-Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (GER), the University of Saskatchewan (CAN), University College Dublin (IRE) as well as Trier University (GER), where I also got my PhD. Over the last years I've collaborated with researchers around the globe on a multitude of projects ranging from fundamental research on the neurophysiological underpinnings of cognitive control to investigating how motivation can shape performance and how games can shape motivation.

If you are interested in my research, a collaboration, a thesis project for your degree or an internship feel free to contact me. I accept external internships as well!

For a copy of my CV, please refer to: https://tinyurl.com/CV-Friehs (updated semi-regularly)


  • Psychology

    • Response Inhibition
    • Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation
    • Stop-Signal Task
    • Research
    • Attention
    • Impulsivity
    • Abilities
  • Neuroscience

    • Dorsolateral Prefrontal Cortex


In general, I am interested in changing behavior. I want to understand human behavior and experience in order to be able to enhance it in performance-critical situations.

Currently, two major research topics for me are:

  1. Human-Mediated Reality-Interactions: How do certain aspects of virtual agents influence human experiences and behavior? Can we elicit “realistic” behaviors and experiences in a game? What game-design features can be most motivating? How can we immerse people in a virtual environment best? For which goals is co-design in a mediated reality best suited?
  2. Shaping Cognitive Control: How can we optimize processing of and reaction to stimuli (e.g., warning signals)? What are the constraints in which lab research can be translated to the real world? Can we enhance performance reliably? What is the impact of altered neurophysiological states (e.g., via acute stress or non-invasive brain stimulation)?

I'm open for research on other topics; don't hesitate to contact me. Similarly, if you'd like to collaborate: feel free to reach out! 

If you're a student: extracurricular projects and internships are possible. 

For an up-to-date look at my peer-reviewed research output please refer to GoogleScholar or ResearchGate.


No effects of 1 Hz offline TMS on performance in the stop-signal gameScientific reports, 13(1), Article 11565. Friehs, M. A., Siodmiak, J., Donzallaz, M. C., Matzke, D., Numssen, O., Frings, C. & Hartwigsen, G.https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-023-38841-zYou Got It in Your Hands: Stop-Signal Modality Influences on Reactive Response Inhibition with Gaming ControlsInternational journal of human-computer interaction (E-pub ahead of print/First online). Markiewicz, N., Russa, M., Fokkens, A., Dechant, M. & Friehs, M. A.https://doi.org/10.1080/10447318.2023.2285624From C-3PO to HAL: Opening The Discourse About The Dark Side of Multi-Modal Social AgentsIn CUI '23: Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Conversational User Interfaces, Article 62. Avanesi, V., Rockstroh, J., Mildner, T., Zargham, N., Reicherts, L., Friehs, M., Kontogiorgos, D., Wenig, N. & Malaka, R.https://doi.org/10.1145/3571884.3597441The Influence of Environmental Context on Social Anxiety in Virtual Scenes: A Pilot Study. Mulvaney, P., Rooney, B. & Friehs, M.Us Versus Them: The Role of National Identity in the Formation of False Memories for Fake NewsJournal of Experimental Psychology (E-pub ahead of print/First online). Delaney, T., Castillo, L., Friehs, M. A., Buttlar, B. & Greene, C.https://doi.org/10.31234/osf.io/t86n4A proof-of-concept study exploring the effects of impulsivity on a gamified version of the stop-signal task in childrenFrontiers in psychology, 14, Article 1068229. Gallagher, R., Kessler, K., Bramham, J., Dechant, M. & Friehs, M. A.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1068229Time-dependent effects of acute stress on working memory performance: A systematic review and hypothesisPsychoneuroendocrinology, 148, Article 105998. Geißler, C. F., Friehs, M. A., Frings, C. & Domes, G.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psyneuen.2022.105998Home based remotely supervised tDCS in children with aquired brain injury: a feasibility study protocol. Stein, A., Iyer, K. K., Dux, P. E., Friehs, M., Riddle, J., Craven, M. P., Groom, M. J. & Barlow, K. M.Tasting inhibition: A proof-of-concept study of the food stop-signal gameIn Game-Based Learning in Education and Health Part B (pp. 57-80). Elsevier. Kirsten, H., Dechant, M., Gibbons, H. & Friehs, M. A.https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.pbr.2022.12.002The influence of tDCS on perceived bouncing/streamingExperimental brain research, 241, 59-66. Friehs, M. A., Stegemann, M. J., Merz, S., Geißler, C., Meyerhoff, H. S. & Frings, C.https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-022-06505-5
More than skin deep: about the influence of self-relevant avatars on inhibitory controlCognitive Research: Principles and Implications, 7, Article 31. Friehs, M. A., Dechant, M., Schäfer, S. & Mandryk, R. L.https://doi.org/10.1186/s41235-022-00384-8Enhanced Esports: Community Perspectives on Performance Enhancers in Competitive GamingProceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 6, Article 231. Friehs, M. A., Klarkowski, M., Frommel, J., Phillips, C. & Mandryk, R. L.https://doi.org/10.1145/3549494The (Gami)fictional Ego-Center: Projecting the Location of the Self Into an AvatarFrontiers in psychology, 13, Article 918688. Friehs, M. A., Schäfer, S. & Frings, C.https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.918688Stimulating performance: A scoping review on transcranial electrical stimulation effects on olympic sportsPsychology of Sport and Exercise, 59, Article 102130. Friehs, M. A., Whelan, E., Güldenpenning, I., Krause, D. & Weigelt, M.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2021.102130
Effects of single-session transcranial direct current stimulation on reactive response inhibitionNeuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 128, 749-765. Friehs, M. A., Frings, C. & Hartwigsen, G.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2021.07.013Transcranial direct current stimulation over the left anterior temporal lobe during memory retrieval differentially affects true and false recognition in the DRM taskEuropean journal of neuroscience, 54(2), 4609-4620. Friehs, M. A., Greene, C. & Pastötter, B.https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15337Serious snacking: A survival analysis of how snacking mechanics afect atrition in a mobile serious gameIn CHI 2021 - Proceedings of the 2021 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Making Waves, Combining Strengths, Article 113. Association for Computing Machinery. Alexandrovsky, D., Friehs, M. A., Grittner, J., Putze, S., Birk, M. V., Malaka, R. & Mandryk, R. L.https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445689Shocking advantage! Improving digital game performance using non-invasive brain stimulationInternational journal of human-computer studies, 148, Article 102582. Friehs, M. A., Dechant, M., Vedress, S., Frings, C. & Mandryk, R. L.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhcs.2020.102582Dual-tDCS over the right prefrontal cortex does not modulate stop-signal task performanceExperimental brain research, 239, 811-820. Friehs, M. A., Brauner, L. & Frings, C.https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-020-05995-5
Game Dynamics that Support Snacking, not FeastingIn Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play (pp. 573-588). Alexandrovsky, D., Friehs, M. A., Birk, M. V., Yates, R. K. & Mandryk, R. L.https://doi.org/10.1145/3311350.3347151

Research profiles

Affiliated study programs

Courses academic year 2023/2024

Courses in the current academic year are added at the moment they are finalised in the Osiris system. Therefore it is possible that the list is not yet complete for the whole academic year.

Courses academic year 2022/2023


University of Twente

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De Zul 10
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