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Research group “Active Perception”

The inter­disci­pli­nary DFG Re­search Unit “Ac­tive Per­cep­tion” (FOR 2293) at the LMU De­part­ment of Psy­chol­ogy (cen­tered around the Chair of Gen­eral and Ex­peri­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy; Prof. Dr. Her­mann Mül­ler) is enter­ing the sec­ond fund­ing peri­od.

Second funding period for Research Unit “Active Perception”

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The DFG-funded Re­search Unit “Ac­tive Per­cep­tion” (RU-AP) is con­cerned with, and brings to­geth­er, cen­tral func­tions of hu­man cogni­tion, in par­ticu­lar: per­cep­tion, selec­tive atten­tion, learn­ing in per­cep­tion/action, and action con­trol. Ac­tive Per­cep­tion im­plies that per­cep­tual pro­cess­ing does not simp­ly lead to ac­tions, but is itself influ­enced by in­tend­ed ac­tions (in­clud­ing their antic­ipated con­se­quences), in addi­tion to memory (‘pri­ors’) and con­textu­al (e.g., social) influ­en­ces.

The over­arch­ing aim of the re­search unit is to con­trib­ute to the inte­gra­tion of these themes, that have hith­erto been treat­ed large­ly sepa­rately, in a unify­ing framework of the ‘situ­ated’, adap­tively per­ceiv­ing ob­serv­er. To foster such an inte­gra­tion, the N=11 pro­jects fund­ed in the sec­ond phase of the RU-AP are com­mit­ted to using a com­mon testbed for both the exper­imental and the mod­eling work, name­ly, para­digms of visual search.

All pro­jects are inter­disci­pli­nary by de­sign, com­bining be­hav­ioral ap­proaches (psy­cho­phys­ics and men­tal chro­nometry) with neu­rosci­ence tech­niques (in­clud­ing EEG, fMRI, TMS, and neu­ropsycho­logi­cal as­sess­ment) in the inves­tiga­tion of “Ac­tive Per­cep­tion”.

This inte­gra­tive ap­proach is also at the heart of the Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram in "Neuro-Cognitive Psychology" (NCP), for which the RU-AP pro­jects pro­vide an ad­vanced-level train­ing ground: dur­ing their in­tern­ships on these pro­jects (as well as for their M.Sc. the­ses), NCP stu­dents have access to the Unit’s sta­te-of-the-art re­search facili­ties, in­clud­ing the new MRI scan­ner labor­atory that will be opened in 2019 (see news re. estab­lish­ment of new neu­roim­aging lab), thus ena­bling them to de­velop hands-on ex­peri­ence with sta­te-of-the-art meth­ods in cogni­tive neu­rosci­ence. And as mem­bers of the wider pro­ject teams, NCP stu­dents con­trib­ute ac­tively to the suc­cess of RU-AP, as is at­test­ed, e.g., by stu­dents be­com­ing co-au­thors of RU-AP-related con­fer­ence presenta­tions and jour­nal publi­cati­ons.

Text: Elite Grad­uate Pro­gram "Neu­ro-Cognitive Psy­chol­ogy"