Cognitive sciences have a long-standing tradition at the University of Potsdam. The first flagship of interdisciplinary cooperation in the cognitive sciences was the DFG Research Unit "Conflicting Rules" established in 1995. In subsequent years, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Cognitive Studies at the University of Potsdam reached high recognition for mathematical models of human thought. Together with the linguistic Collaborative Research Centre "Information Structure", the cognitive sciences then developed into a stand-alone area of research at Potsdam University.
Cognitive sciences now represent one of the four main research focuses of the university.
The University’s research focus on Cognitive Sciences (RFCS) brings together scientists from different faculties. In interdisciplinary research teams, researchers from psychology, linguistics, and philosophy as well as from sports and health sciences, mathematics, physics, and computer sciences work closely together. Prominent examples are the two Collaborative Research Centres currently funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). In the SFB "The Limits of Variability in Language", researchers from linguistics, psychology, and German studies work on the question of how much flexibility an individual or a language community has available for linguistic decisions. In the SFB "Data Assimilation", researchers at the interface of mathematics, physics, computer science, and psychology integrate large amounts of data into complex computer models in order to better understand underlying processes in the cognitive and neurosciences, among others. Other projects of the RFCS are concerned with eye movements in reading and image comprehension, cognitive processes in language disorders or multilingualism, early childhood cognitive and linguistic development, affective learning and memory processes, or the tension between cognitive processes and physical movement.
Professors, senior research assistants, or junior researchers with their own working group, who are conducting research at the University of Potsdam in the field of cognitive sciences and related disciplines, can apply for membership in the RFCS.