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Visit by Or Rabani from Haifa University

Our Virtual Reality Project on subcortical affordances benefited greatly from a visit by Or Rabani (Haifa University), who can here be seen building her own equipment to measure micro-affordances. 

„Zehn Finger Zählen“ activity at the cultural event „Stadt für eine Nacht“

The this year’s theme „Zehn“ (ten) was a good occasion to invite the
temporary city’s visitors to question their usual way of finger counting and
to realize that the way we perceive and operate with numbers is heavily
dependent on our ten finger counting habits For this purpose, the 31st of
August, Dennis Höpfel, Arianna Felisatti, Vivien Peddinghaus and Umut Vural
developed a game challenging people of any age to portray numbers by using
their fingers in an unusual way while being as fast as possible. Moreover,
they provided a symbolic activity involving the visitors to "give an hand"
to make the forests flourish.

ww.stadtfuereinenacht.de | ww<wbr />w.facebook.de/<wbr />stadtfuereinenacht

Two funded PhD posts in the PECoG Lab

There are currently two funded PhD studentships (each for 3 years at 65% full-time) available at the Potsdam Embodied Cognition Group. 

One basic research project studies the relationship between body movements and numerical cognition. Ideal candidates have a Master degree in experimental psychology and specific skills in kinematic and kinetic analyses. Start date is between December 2019 and April 2020.

The other interdisciplinary and applied project develops an augmented reality training for desaster management. Ideal candidates have a Master degree in psychology with focus on stress assessment and additional skills in VR programming. Start date is January 2020.

Please contact the lab leader Prof Fischer for further details or to submit your CV and motivation letter.

Dr Zhou serves as a guest editor of a SI in PALADYN, Journal of Behavioral Robotics

Dr Yuefang Zhou serves as a guest editor of a special issue on “Learning from Humanoid AI: Motivational, Social and Cognitive Perspectives” in Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics.  This thematic special issue is devoted to the publication of high-quality research papers, in part, to be presented at the International Workshop: Learning from humanoid AI: Motivational, Social and Cognitive Perspectives.   The aim of the workshop is to address some of the fundamental questions in human-robot interaction, for example, are there some general principles of human-robot interaction that can inform robot designs in different fields including healthcare, education and entertainment?  How can we learn from different perspectives to utilize common principles for improved human-robot interaction?

Call for submissions is now open and can be found here





Poster Presentation in Nice

In July 2019, Prof Fischer, Prof Shaki and their doctotral candidate Arianna
Felisatti attended the Workshop "The Mind's Spatialization in Humans and
Non-humans" that took place in Nice, France. Arianna Felisatti presented her
poster "From Brain's Specialization to Numbers' Spatialization".

New Article in the Journal "Frontiers in Neuroscience" by Melinda A. Mende

In July 2019, Melinda Mende, a menber of the PECoG group, published a mini-review article with the title "Alcohol in the Aging Brain – The Interplay Between Alcohol Consumption, Cognitive Decline and the Cardiovascular System". The article is in English language and can be downloaded here: https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00713.




Trip to Tel Aviv in May / June 2019

On a trip to Tel Aviv Prof Fischer met with his collaborators, Prof Danny Algom (center), Dr Tatiana Hatukai (left) and  and Hofit Bar (right). Tatiana has recently discovered the Rodin effect on attention; Hofit studies quantitative food perception.

Guest Lecture by Prof. Bendel

Professor Oliver Bendel from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland was giving a guest lecture on 23 May 2019.  He was hosted by Dr. Yuefang Zhou from the PECoG group.  Professor Bendel’s talk is entitled “Fundamentals and Artifacts of Machine Ethics” (http://oliverbendel.net/<wbr />index.html).  His talk slides can be requested for by emailing Dr Zhou (yuezhouuni-potsdamde).

Radio Interview with Prof. Fischer

On  1st of May Prof Fischer was interviewed on national radio RadioEins about the research strategy of our lab with regard to emotional links between humans and machines. The interview (held in German) can be found here:

https://www.radioeins.de/<wbr />programm/index.htm/psdoc=%<wbr />21content%21rbb%21rad%<wbr />21programm%21sendungen%<wbr />21sendungen%21378%211905%<wbr />21190501_15_00_sondersendung_<wbr />4838.html

Visit from Krakow's Jagiellonian University

On 26 April, Jacek Zloczowski (leftmost person in picture) visited the weekly PECoG lab to receive some inspiration for their own CogSci lab developments. Also among the guests were members of the Neuraltrain company who are collaborating with us to develop a mood-enhancing app.



Talk by Dr. Zhou on the 28th of May 2019 in Dresden

On the 28th of May 2019 (19–20:30),  Dr. Yuefang Zhou gave a talk on the topic "The Future of Sexuality" in the framework of the Ring-lecture "Reale Utopien". The talk took place in the Museum of Hygiene (Hygienemuseum) in Dresden.

Open the following link for further information:


The full talk can be found here




The book  "AI Love You – Developments in Human-Robot Intimate Relationships" , edited by the PECoG group, is being published now.

The book summarizes the topics of the workshop "AI Love You" that the PECoG group hosted in december 2017.





Workshop with Prof. Fischer in Rome

As part of his Research visit to the Lab of Prof. Anna Borghi at Sapienza University Rome, Prof. Fischer has organized with her a workshop on Abstract concepts. Details can be found here:

https://web.uniroma1.it/dip42/<wbr />archivionotizie/workshop-<wbr />abstract-concepts-differ-<wbr />numbers-emotions-and-<wbr />dangerous-things




Dr. Zhou visits the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies

In March 2019, Dr. Yuefang Zhou visied the Institute of Cognitive Sciences and Technologies, CNR (Italian National Research Council) in Rome.  The photo shows her discussions with Dr. Amedeo Cesta, vice-president of the Italian Association of Artificial Intelligence, on collaborative ideas using the Sanbot Elf robot.

Poster Presentations of our Master Students

In February 2019, the students of the master-program "Cognitive Science - Embodied Cognition" sucessfully completede their experimental training with a poster presentation. The training was instructed by Dr. Miklashevsky.

Poster Presentation in Bressanone

In January 2019, Arianna Felisatti presented her poster "Position prevents Precision" at the 37. European Workshop in Cognitive Neuropsychology which took place from 21st to 25th of January in Bressanone, Italy.




Virtual Finger Counting

As part of his Research Internship in the Master Course "Cognitive Science - Embodied Cognition", Umut Vural is generating a virtual reality software to study finger counting.

Commentary Published in the Journal Nature

In January 2019, Prof. Fischer published a commentary together with our collaboratuer Prof. Shaki from Ariel university in Israel in the journal Nature. The titel is "How to make talks less boring".

Here is the article: Fischer & Shaki 2019

The article is also avaible online: https://www.nature.com/<wbr />articles/d41586-019-00153-6

Research by our group was mentioned in a TV documentary about sexual behaviours in the digital age. Prof Fischer was interviewed about special personality attributes of people who might have intimate relationships with humanoid robots and reports findings about the relation between interoception and embodiment (video segment from 4min20 to 5min40, German only).

Link to the mediathek: http://www.3sat.de/mediathek/?mode=play&obj=77949




Alex Miklashevsky defended his thesis

In December 2018, our research fellow Alex Miklashevsky successfully defended his thesis in Russia. The PECoG group congratulates him.

PECoG Offspring

The PECoG group is very happy to announce that in December 2018, the daughter of Matias Bertonatti was born. We congratulate Matias and his family.

Dr. Zhou and Prof. Fischer participated in a discussion on the future of AI that is broadcast on national radio. Our contributions touched upon the Kismet robot (9min:40sec), the ICub robot (12:30), a visit to Realbotix (14:20), the possibilities of sex therapy with humanoid robots (15:40) and the need for general risk asssesment for new technologies (17:00).

The broadcast is in German language. Open the following link to listen to it:






PECoG Christmas Bowling

In December 2018, the PECoG group had a Christmas meeting at the bowling alley.

Talk by Dr. Oksana Tsaregorodtseva

In December 2018, Dr. Oksana Tsaregorodtseva from Tomsk University in Russia (http://cognitio.tsu.ru/en/staff/oksana-tsaregorodtseva/ )gave a talk at the University of Potsdam and visited the PECoG group. The topic of her talk was  "The effect of a word on visuospatial working memory".

MAZ Interview with Dr. Yuefang Zhou

In November 2018, Dr. Yuefang Zhou who works at the Charité Berlin and who is an associated scientist of the PECoG group gave an interview to the local newspaper "Märkische Allgmeine Zeitung" (MAZ). The topic was her research on social robots. 

The article is in German language and is available online: http://www.maz-online.de/Nachrichten/Kultur/Sozialwissenschaftlerin-Yuefang-Zhou-im-Interview-ueber-kuenstliche-Intelligenz-und-Sex-Roboter


Visit from Prof. Shaki

In November 2018, Prof. Shaki who is an associate researcher of the group from Ariel University in Israel visited the group in the in the framework of the workshop “Cross-domain semantic priming – language and arithmetic” that the group hosted. This gave the occasion to also have a meeting toghether with Arianna Felisatti who is a doctoral candidate in the group. Her project is part of the new DFG project and it is co-supervised by Prof. Shaki.

Workshop “Cross-domain semantic priming – language and arithmetic”

In November 2018, the PECoG gruop successfully hosted the workshop “Cross-domain semantic priming – language and arithmetic". The pictures show impressions of both the workshop and the dinner that the group had together with the speakers.



Elena Sixtus received the Doctor's degree

In november 2018, Elena Sixtus received the Doctor's degree. The PECoG group proudly congratulates her on this success. On the picture, Dr. Sixtus wears an impressive hat that represents her work in the PECoG lab. 



Kick-off Celebration

In October 2018, we celebrated the kick-off of a new DFG-funded Research Project on "heuristics and biases in mental arithmetic" with Professor Sam Shaki from Ariel University as our international collaborator.

"Social Robots" Conference in Hamburg

In September 2018, Dr. Youfang Zhou represented the PECoG group with a poster presentation at the "Social Robots" conference in Hamburg.

Ariannas Birthday in September 2018

This September, the PECoG group celebrated Arianna Felissatti's birthday with some delicious tiramisu.

“Cross-domain semantic priming – language and arithmetic” Workshop at the Unviresity of Potsdam, 16+17 November 2018

Cognitive scientists seek to identify mechanisms of thought that apply across domains.
Consider the relation between language and arithmetic: both domains arguably describe
real-world facts, thus perhaps explaining the “unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics”
(Wigner, 1960).
Syntactic priming between these two domains has been documented by Scheepers,
Myachykov, and colleagues (2011, 2014), semantic alignment effects were documented by
Bassok and colleagues (2008). Yet, Ronasi and colleagues (2018) failed to find semantic
priming. Why do linguistic statements such as “Everyone except John goes to school” not
prime a subsequent subtraction (e.g., “10 – 4”), by inducing faster solution compared to
when the same problem is preceded by a statement like “Nobody except John goes to
school”, which might instead prime addition? Why did it also fail the other way around?
We wish to address this topic, inform each other about recent progress, develop a set of
promising experimental paradigms, and submit a pre-registered report based on cross-
laboratory replications.
Confirmed participants

  • Prof Luisa Lugli and Dr. Stefania d’Ascenzo, Bologna/Italy, Embodied cognition
  • Prof Anna Borghi, Rome/Italy, Embodied semantics
  • Prof Samuel Shaki, Ariel/Israel, Numerical cognition
  • Dr. Andriy Myachykov, Newcastle/England, Language and embodiment
  • Dr. Christoph Scheepers, Glasgow/Scotland, Psycholinguistics and statistics
  • Dr Luigi Grisoni, FU Berlin/Germany, Embodied neuroscience
  • Golnoush Ronasi, MSc, Berlin, Cross-domain priming

For further details please contact Prof Martin H Fischer per email at martinfuni-potsdamde




PECoG Internship completed by Arianna Felisatti

This July, Arianna Felisatti sucessfully completed her internship in the PECoG group.

Guest Lecture by Dr. Marco Fabbri

This July, Dr. Marco Fabbri from University of Caserta gave a guest lecture in our group.

Lab Visit by Dr. Michal Pinhas

This July, Dr. Michal Pinhas from Ariel University visited the Pecog group and gave a guest lecture.

Lab Demonstration by IMotions

In June 2018, the Pecog group hosted a lab demonstration, which was held by the company IMotions.


PECoG Picknick

This June, our group did an excursion in Potsdam to have a picknick together.

Visit by Daniel L. Everett

In April 2018, the american linguist Daniel L. Everett visited the univesity of Potsdam and joined the PECoG group for a lab demonstration and for dinner.


International Workshop "AI Love You"

In winter 2017, the PECoG group hosted the international workshop "AI Love You".

ESCoP 2017

The PECoG group organized and hosted the 20th meething of the European Society for Cognitive Psychology ESCoP.