Research Area A: Cognitive Level

Cognition and behaviour originating from integrative brain functions

Coordinators: Prof. Jan Born, Prof. Sabine DöringProf. Hanspeter Mallot

The study of cognition calls for an integrative approach where all levels of brain function are studied in parallel. Integration is mandatory for the understanding of flexible goal-directed behaviour as a function of the dynamic interaction of neural networks in the context of an organism's operation in its environmental niche. Currently the program of research area A focuses on domain-specific systems such as spatial cognition and social cognition. A more comprehensive study of cognition and behaviour demands that we now extend our approach by investigating how general mechanisms interact with domain-specific systems to generate the complex adaptive behaviour of organisms. Thus, for the CIN’s renewal period, we plan to further develop our research program towards integrating the aforementioned domain-specific systems with general mechanisms, such as perception, abstraction, memory and decision processes, so as to gain a better understanding of how task-specific behaviours emerge from their interplay. To this end, we have expanded our earlier research program so that research foci are now organised along the contrast between generality — (1) perception and abstraction, (2) memory, (3) decision processes, and specificity — (4) social cognition, (5) spatial cognition.