Institute of Medical Psychology

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Pöppel Lab - Cognitive Neurosciences

poeppelgroup.teaserResearch Topics

  • Temporal processing, behavioral and imaging paradigms
  • Spatial cognition and attentional control
  • Theoretical aspects and neural control of cognition in general and aesthetics in particular




For a better understanding of behavior and cognition an interdisciplinary approach is considered to be necessary. Members of the research team and associated scientists come from experimental psychology, neuropsychology, psychiatry, social science, physics, mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and the art sciences. The group has strong international connections, in particular with the BaoLab at Peking University (PKU). Most projects are financed by external sources („soft money“) as different foundations provide stipends to doctoral students, or private persons and institutions support challenging scientific projects.

Research is focused on temporal processing (like „time windows“ in different frequency domains), how this may be linked to what is referred to as „consciousness“, visual perception (using also artwork as stimulus material), attentional control (like harvesting the „eccentricity effect“ in the visual field), or on the theoretical level the analysis of different knowledge systems and how they are related, the development of a taxonomy of functions, or the application of new tools for a formal description of cognitive processes. Besides behavioral methods, imaging technologies like fMRI, ERP, EEG or MEG are employed. Experience shows that substantial knowledge can be gained from single case studies; thus, research on subjects with unique characteristics is included. In general, research is more oriented towards explorations rather than to hypothesis testing; such an approach carries of course a higher risk, but can be a source of unexpected satisfaction.

Although the team is focused on basic research, potential applications are systematically considered like the importance of temporal processing for the restoration of function after brain injury or the optimization of the human-machine interface. On a broader level, basic research is believed to provide a better understanding of educational processes, intercultural communication, or technological developments like what is referred to as „artificial intelligence“. Scientists in the team as well as the associated scientists consider themselves as „natural ambassadors“ who independent of scientific expertise, cultural identity, national background, historical roots, language imprinting, financial opportunities, different belief systems contribute with their work within a general frame to quality and dignity of life.

Selected Publications

Yan Bao, Dongxue Zhang, Chen Zhao, Ernst Pöppel, Vera Zabotkina (2022). An Aesthetic Frame for Three Modes of Knowing PsyCh Journal, 1–9. DOI: 10.1002/pchj.588 Pubmed

Taoxi Yang, Xiaoxuan Li, Yao Li, Ernst Pöppel, Yan Bao (2020). Temporal twilight zone and beyond: Timing mechanisms in consciously delayed actions. PsyCh Journal, 791–803. DOI: 10.1002/pchj.389 Pubmed

Chen Zhao, Paloma Enriquez, Morteza Izadifar, Ernst Pöppel, Yan Bao, Vera Zabotkina (2022). Complementarity of mental content and logistic algorithms in a taxonomy of cognitive functions. Psych Journal, 1-7. DOI: 10.1002/pchj.602 Pubmed