Science and Research
The main topics of the structural unit Cognitive Sciences are represented by the central networks and collaborations geared to the unit’s scientific orientation. Great attention is given to the formation of large competitive research networks as well as to interdisciplinary networking.
In the BabyLab, the cognitive and language-related development of children, aged four months or older, is studied. The laboratory is under the direction of Prof. Dr. Birgit Elsner, Developmental Psychology, and Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle from the field of Psycholinguistics and Language Acquisition.
In the EyeLab, linguistic, visual, and oculomotor processes are studied. Research focuses on reading and reading processing, shifts of attention, and other processes loading working memory. In the Eyelab, psychologists, physicists, computer scientists, mathematicians and linguists co-operate closely.
The Social Psychology Laboratory, under the direction of Prof. Dr. Barbara Krahé, has set its focus on aggression and media research. Issues dealt with include, among others, the effects of media violence or the risk factors for sexual aggression in young adults.
The Potsdam Embodied Cognition Group studies conditions and consequences of "embodied knowledge". How do sensory and motor experiences become part of our knowledge representation? How do they affect the recall of knowledge? To answer these questions, the Group uses several methods. They range from behavioral measurement (e.g. reaction times, error rates, body temperature) and measurement of motion (e.g., kinematics analysis, eye tracking, power production) to neuroscientific methods (eg, TMS, EEG, fMRI).
Central concern of the Vasishth Lab is the research of processes of human understanding of sentences. To this end, the research group, led by Shravan Vasishth, uses mathematical models of syntax analysis and experimental methods, such as eye tracking, self-directed reading and event-related potentials. With the help of the obtained data, predictions of mathematical models can be reviewed and assessed.
NOLA (Neurocognition of Language) group is an interdisciplinary team of Linguists, Psychologists, and Neuroscientists led by Prof. Dr. Isabell Wartenburger. The goal is to characterize language – from basic acoustic processing to complex sentence processing –, its development and plasticity, and the respective underlying cerebral mechanisms. This is done by combining behavioral, psychophysiological (eye-tracking), neurophysiological (EEG), and neurovascular (fMRI, NIRS) methods in various populations.
The Neuromechanics research group (head: Dr. Laura Schaefer) of the division Regulative Physiology and Prevention (head: Prof. Dr. Frank Bittmann) investigates neuromuscular control processes. The aim is to get a better understanding of regulatory and adaptation processes as well as of injury mechanisms. The Adaptive Force (holding capacity to varying external forces) and neuromuscular oscillations are examined in healthy and diseased persons (e.g. with arthrosis or Parkinson´s syndrome) using special force measuring devices and methods as MMG, EMG and EEG.
The main research priorities of the Division of Training and Movement Science (head of research group: Prof. Granacher, PhD) is the investigation of muscular strength, power, and balance as well as the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions to promote physical activity and enhance physical fitness across the lifespan. Field and laboratory based tests are performed with recreational, young and elite athletes from different sports. (e.g., bobsleigh, judo, rowing, canoeing, modern pentathlon etc.).
The interaction lab, run by the "foundations of computational linguistics" group (Prof. David Schlangen), provides space and equipment for recording and analysing human/human interactions, and for testing models of interaction in human/robot settings.
Coordinated research groups
- Collaborative Research Centres 1287: "Limits of Variability in Language: Cognitive, Grammatical, and Social Aspects"
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Isabell Wartenburger
- Sonderforschungsbereich 1294:
"Data assimilation: the seamless integration of data and models"
Sprecher: Prof. Dr. Sebastian Reich
- DFG-Schwerpunktprogramm (SPP 1772): "Effects of modality mappings within working memory on postural control, associated neural correlates, and training-induced modulation of dual-task performance in old age"
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Urs Granacher, Prof. Dr. Michael A. Rapp
- Research Group (DFG-FOR 2253): "Crossing the borders: The interplay of language, cognition, and the brain in early human development"
Speakers: Prof. Dr. Barbara Höhle, Prof. Dr. Birgit Elsner
- PRIM: Potsdam Research Institute for Multilingualism
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Harald Clahsen