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Cognitive Neurosciences-Pöppel Group

Cognitive Neurosciences

Project Leader: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Ernst Pöppel, ML, MAE

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 Bao Lab 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.

(See also

Research Team

Research Associates:

Dr. phil. Kai Fehse (Institute of Cognition and Communication GmbH, Munich)
Dr. rer.nat. Dr. med. habil. Evgeny Gutyrchik (LMU, Munich)
Prof. Dr. rer. biol. hum., Dipl-Math., Dipl.-Psych. Hans Strasburger (LMU, Munich)
Yuliya Zaytseva, M.D., Ph.D. (Charles University, Prague)

Doctoral Students
Dirnberger, Clemens (Dental Medicine)
Formuli, Areso (Medicine)
Geier, Katharina (Medicine)
Gu, Yu (Human Biology)
Hartwig, Sebastian (Medicine)
Heinrich, Michael (Human Biology)
Izadifar, Morteza (Human Biology)
Jeong, Garam (Human Biology)
Lara Maier, Susana (Human Biology)
Matt, Tabea (Medicine)
Michel, Hans Peter (Human Biology)
Morozowa, Alexandra (Medicine)
Mu Nan (Human Biology)
Reinisch, Maria (Human Biology)
Rizvanovic, Nejra (Human Biology)
Schäfer, Thomas (Medicine)
Simmank, Fabian (Human Biology)
Steinthaler, Johann (Human Biology)
von Trott zu Solz, Jana (Medicine)
Yang, Taoxi (Human Biology)
Yin, Xuanzi (Human Biology)

Guest Professors

Prof. Yan Bao, Ph.D. (School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, PKU, Beijing)
Prof. Bin Zhou, Ph.D. (Institute of Psychology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)

Guest Students from Peking University

Liang Wei, f (2013)
Yang Taoxi, f (2013)
Wang Zhiyuan, m (2013)
Wang Lingyan, f (2014, 2015)
Cai Wengfeng, m (2015)
Zhang Jiyuan, m (2015, 2016)
Lin Xiaoxiong, m (2015)
Li Xiang, m (2016, 2017)
Chen Xin, f (2016, 2018)
Li Yao, m (2016)
Zhao Chen, f (2016)
Zhang Dongxue, f (2016, 2017)
Li Xiaoxuan, m (2017)
Liu Yuelin, f (2017, 2018)
Cai Mengtong, f (2018)
Wang Xuanyu, m (2018)
Zeng Yifan, f (2018)
Zhao Haiteng, m (2018)
Wang Tianhe, m (2019)
Yang Haiming, f (2019)
Yu Xinchi, m (2019)
Zhang Zhilin, f (2019)

Cooperating scientists

Prof. Lin Chen (Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing)
Prof. Dr. phil. Niko Kohls (University of Applied Sciences, Coburg, Germany)
Prof. Lihua Mao, Ph.D. (School of Psychological and Cognitive Sciences, PKU, Beijing)
Prof. Yoshihiro Miyake, Ph.D. (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, Japan)
Dr. med. Marco Paolini (Clinic and Policlinic of Radiology, LMU Munich)
PD. Dr. med. Jan Rémi (Neurological Clinic and Policlinic, LMU Munich)
Dr. Tilmann Sander-Thoemmes (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin, Germany)
Dr. Sarita Silveira (University of California San Diego)
Prof. Elzbieta Szelag, Ph.D. (Nencki-Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw)
Prof. Koji Tanida (Kindai University, Osaka, Japan)
Prof. Dr. Lutz Trahms (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt, Berlin, Germany)
Prof. Vera Zabotkina, Ph.D. (Russian State University of the Humanities, Moscow)
Prof. Dr. Joself Zihl (Department of Psychology, LMU Munich)


Associated Project „Cognition and Communication“

Project Leaders: Dr. Kai Fehse and Fabian Simmank, M.Sc.

foto Kai Fehse  Project Leader: Dr. Kai Fehse

As cognitive agents, humans perceive and interact with their environment based on internal motives and external imperatives. Our brains construe these factors to compute inferences on the external world. Perceived reality as well as interactions with other cognitive agents, the process of encoding and decoding the meaning of values in a social context, is what we call „communication”.

Communication itself is a vital part of the medical art, often underestimated but a core topic in the curriculum of our institute. Furthermore communica-tion can influence biological processes. Clinical studies reveal, that certain perceived realities, as coined with the term „placebo”, can interfere with or even substitute the pharmaceutical impact of medical treatments.

In a psychological process comparable with the placebo effect, behavioural economics show us that people are driven by biased valuations in their eve-ryday decisions. Expected utility, reward seeking, and self-control are strong factors that motivate observable action.

Studying underlying processes of communicating value-based behaviour can help us understand cognition, in particular judgment and decision-making, in several aspects as roles of human-beings, ranging from patients or custom-ers, to fine arts and media recipients.

Neuroimaging technique is a powerful means to examine value representa-tions prompted by implicit processes in cortical and subcortical brain struc-tures: Predictors of preferences (producing decisions) and meaningful modu-lations (generating placebo effects) can be made visible by functional mag-netic resonance imaging, the empirical method that we focus on.

The work of our lab is driven by intense communication and cooperation be-tween scholars and independent researchers of diverse faculties of the hu-man sciences. Most of our team members have other primary affiliations at the LMU or cooperating international universities, or a professional life as phy-sician, therapist, artist or communication expert.

(See also Website of ICC GmbH:


Cooperating Scientists:

Dr. rer.nat. Dr. med. habil. Evgeny Gutyrchik (LMU, Munich) Mario Karaboja, Erasmus Student Prof. Dr. med. Karin Meissner (University of Applied Sciences, Coburg,
Dr. med. Marco Paolini (Clinic and Policlinic of Radiology, LMU Munich) Maria Reinisch (Federation of German Scientists, Berlin) Dr. Sarita Silveira (University of California San Diego)