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Research at the structural unit Cognitive Sciences

Collaborative Research Centre1287 "Limits of Variability in Language: Cognitive, Grammatical, and Social Aspects" / Linguistcs

The Collaborative Research Centre1287 "Limits of Variability in Language: Cognitive, Grammatical, and Social Aspects" at the University of Potsdam brings together linguists and psychologists from the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Human Sciences of the University of Potsdam, and from the Department of Language Science and Technology of the Saarland University. By exploring the systematicity and limits of variability in linguistic behaviours, the main focus of the CRC is on identifying constraints of the underlying linguistc system. The CRC characterizes variability in language as the range of differnt possible linguistc behaviours that are available to a language user, a language community, or in specific languages at any linguistc level.

Further Information:

Project Description Eyelab / Distributed Research Group "Hybrid Narrativity / Psychology

The interdisciplinary and distributed research group "Hybrid Narrativity" funded by the BMBF combines methods from the cognitive sciences and digital humanities with narratology to arrive at a richer and empirically robust understanding of graphic literature. The group brings together researchers from cognitve psychology, mathematics, computer science, literary and cultural studies.

Project goalsare (1) collection of a database and a representative annotated corpus of contemporary graphic novels, (2) building tools for annotation of textual and visual aspects of graphic narrative, including specification of an XML dialect and an editor with state-of the-art image-processing features, (3) collection of an empirical reference corpus of eye movement measures and development of corresponding analysis tools and measures, (4) experimental tests involving eyetracking and gaze-contingent display change methodology, and (5) the development of central concepts of a narratology of multimodal texts and empirical description of the genre of the graphic novel from historical and comparative perspectives.

More information can be found on the project web site, https.// and a summary of the state of the art will soon appear in our forthcoming book "Empirical Approaches to Comics" (Dunst, Laubrock, and Wildfeuer; London: Routledge).


Strength Training in Young Athletes: KINGS Study / Sports Sciences

Up to the 1990s, several national and international scientific associations, researchers, and medical doctors were critical with regards to the application of strength training in youth. With the advance of research, there is convincing evidence that a properly designed and professionally supervised strength training program is effective in inducing significant performance enhancements in proxies of physical fitness in youth. Today, the importance of strength training for long-term athlete development in general, and sport-specific performance enhancement, motor skill learning, and injury prevention in particular has been acknowledged by coaches, practitioners, and researchers. However, there is only limited evidence-based information available in the literatur with regards to the effectiveness of strength training in young athletes.

Thus, an interdisciplinary team of scientific (e.g., Humboldt University of Berlin, Friedrich-Schiller University of Jena) and non-scientific partners (e.g., Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, Olympic Testing and Training Centers Berlin/Brandenburg, Federal Association of Gymnastics) designed and initiated the KINGS Study (Strength Training in Young Athletes) in September 2014 in order to remedy this void in the literature (principal investigator: Prof. Urs Granacher, Ph.D.). The 4 year study design comprises three work packages including 1) monitoring of training in general and strength training in particular, 2) long-term assessment and analysis of physical fitness and athletic performance, and 3) development and evaluation of alternative strength training programs compared to traditional training programs in particularly adolescent athletes. The KINGS Study is funded by the German Federal Institute of Sport Science (BISp)  (ZMVI1-081901 14-18).

More detailed information can be found on the following project website:

Medicine in Spine Exercise (MispEx) / Health Sciences

Idiopathic as well as nonspecific low back pain is relevant in health care systems as well as leisure and high-performance sports. Neuromuscular and/or structural deficits, mostly accompanied by biopsychological factors are known risk factors for both the onset and chronification of symptoms. Meta-analytic evidence describes positive effects of physical activity. However, type, dose-response relation, minimum of training required as well as setting-specific implementation is not finally clarified.

The national research network "Medicine in Spine Exercise" (MiSpEx) since 2011 is following a project layout called "Ran Rücken" focussing on the development and validation of intervention programs including neuromuscular and pain adaptation moderated by individual training status, pain behaviour, allostatic load and social setting. Overall about 8.000 patients and athletes are followed experimentally and clinically in 34 studies. It could be shown that compensation of extermal loads elicited by pertubations is effective in prevention and rehabilitation. Besides validation of further consecutively developed programs emphasis is put on the evaluation of transfer strategies to medical systems, sports as well as overall population. Finally, the evaluation of an efficient dose-response relation is addressed.

MiSpEx consists of clinical departments and universities that are working both clinically and with high-performance athletes. MiSpEx is funded by Bundesinstituts für Sportwissenschaft.