News Archive

Sept. 5: New registered report on word learning in young children

Nivi Mani and her postdoc Ming Yean Sia published a new registered report in Developmental Science on "The role of systematicity in early referent selection". It is known from previous work that children's word learning is affected by their existing knowledge. In the new study, Nivi and colleagues tested if children assume that words that sound similar refer to similar things. The entire report can be found herefrom registered report Mani et al 2023

Sept 1: Join us as a PhD student at the University Medical Center

We currently offer a PhD student position in the project of Peter Marschik at the University Medical Center in Göttingen. The project focus is on multimodal dyadic communication in typically and atypically developing children. The position is available from January 1st, 2024. Candidates should hold a Master degreee in psychology, cognitive sciences, linguistics or data science. Take a look at the full job description below and apply until September 30!

July 15: Join us as a field biologist in Phu Khieo

We are recruiting a field biologist to work in the project of Oliver Schülke and Julia Ostner at our field site Phu Khieo Wildlife Sanctuary in Thailand. This is a full-time position for two years, available from January 1st, 2024. We are looking for a dedicated person with a bachelor degree in biology (or comparable) with strong interest to work in the field. If you want to join us and gain long-term experience in the field, take a look at the full job description below and apply until August 15!Phu Khieo

June 27: Get to know SFB speaker Prof. Alexander Gail

SFB speaker and Professor of Sensorimotor Neuroscience and Neuroprothetics Alexander Gail sat down with Svilen Georgiev to chat about research, career paths, animal welfare, changing from academia to industria and more. The whole episode can be found on YouTubepodcast-gb0b8d8a66_1280_pixabay_studio_Iris

Image credit: Studio Iris
(pixabay licence)

June 20: In the News: Phenomobil featured in radio programs of DLF and BR

The Phenomobil, the lab on wheels developed by Peter Marschik, Florentin Wörgötter, Luise Poustka and colleagues was again featured in the news. SFB members Franka Foth, Peter Marschik and Luise Poustka from the University Medical Center where joined by a team from the German radio stations "Deutschlandfunk" and "Bayerischer Rundfung". The two slightly different broadcasts are online on the websites of Deutschlandfunk Kultur and BR Radio (available until July 4). The Phenomobil

June 15: Alexander Gail participates in the University's Children University Program

Kinderuni GöttingenOn June 21, SFB speaker Alexander Gail addresses a different audience than usual. He will join the team of the Kinderuni Göttingen (Children University) and will introduce third to six-graders into his research. He will explain what neurons can tell us about the decision making when taking a penalty shot in soccer. His talk is titled: Links oder rechts, wie soll ich mich entscheiden? – Was uns Gehirnzellen über die Entscheidung beim Elfmeter verraten!
The presentation starts at 5 PM at the ZHG, Platz der Göttinger Sieben.

May 15: Zurna Ahmed joins the "How Animals' brain works" podcast

Zurna sat down with host Francesca Lanzarini to chat about her PhD project, the daily routine in the lab, her career paths before the PhD, and what lies ahead of her after her PhD. Zurna an Francesca also chat about animal personalities, and how Zurna's monkeys did to let her know that they were annoyed by her experiments. You can find the full episode here.

May 12: Viola Priesemann at the "Festival der Philosophie" in Hannover

viola priesmann MPG Gesellschaft
As part of the international festival series, the 8th "Festival der Philosophie" will take place from May 24 to June 9, 2023 in Hannover. This year's topic is "Wo ist die Zeit". Our SFB will be represented by Viola Priesemann, wo will speak on Sunday, May 28 in the Künstlerhaus about "Die Zeit in der Physik: Symmetrien, Muster, Lernen". The entire program can be found on the festival website.

May 2: Zurna Ahmed receives the DPZ PhD thesis award 2022

Zurna AhmedSFB member Zurna Ahmed receives the annual DPZ award for the best PhD thesis conducted with or on nonhuman primates at the German Primate Center. For her PhD, she investigated how movements are planned in the brain. For her project, she developed a novel experimental set-up that allows her to measure the activity of nerve cells in rhesus monkeys while they move naturally. The prize is endowed with 1000 euros and is supported by the MacLean-Erkelenz Foundation. The award ceremony with a lecture by the prize winner will take place on 10 May at 4 pm at the German Primate Centre, Kellnerweg 4, in Göttingen. All interested parties are cordially invited.

April 26: News from the lab of Peter Marschik & Dajie Zhang

SFB members Dajie Zhang, Peter Marschik and colleagues published a new paper in "Research in Developmental Disabilities". In their latest publication Learning about neurodiversity from parent - Auditory gestalt perception of prelinguistic vocalisations, they demonstrate that infants with Rett syndrome show subtle anomalies in their prelinguistic vocalisations that can be noticed by parents of children with Rett syndrome.
A key tool for this type of research is the new mobile lab, the so-called PHENOMOBILE. A team of the NDR visited Göttingen to report about it; their report for "Hallo Niedersachsen" can be found in the "ARD Mediathek"

April 15, 2023: SFB research goes public

If you want to learn more about SFB research, you have several opportunities right now:  Hans Scherberger (Neurobiology Lab at the German Primate Center) joined the team of the MDR podcast "Meine Challenge" to speak about his research on how actions are planned in the brain.    In May 2023, you have the chance to enjoy a cold pint of beer while listening to SFB researchers presenting their work at this year's "Pint of Science" event in Göttingen. The detailed program will be available on the organizer's website   On June 21 2023 at 5 PM, it is time to explore our research together with your kids. SFB speaker Alex Gail will join the "Kinderuni" of the University to Göttingen to explain what our brain does when we aim to take a soccer penalty shot. The presentation will be in German and targets children from the third to the sixth grade.

March 27, 2023: In the press - The Phenomobil - Research with children for children

SFB members Peter Marschik, Dajie Zhang and Florentin Wörgötter present the newest SFB infrastructure: the first mobile infant lab to study early child development worldwide. Together with Luise Poustka, the team replicated the existing lab at the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the Medical Center in a van. This new concept enables the scientists to visit their study participants at home. "We know that it can be very time-consuming for parents with several small children to attend regular examination appointments, even if they would like to take part in a study. So if parents can't come to our clinic, the lab drives right up to their front door," says Luise Poustka". The aim of the long-term study is to gain a more precise understanding of typical early childhood development. "This will subsequently enable us to identify developmental disorders such as autism earlier and provide targeted support for children and their families," adds Peter Marschik. The van is equipped with six cameras to record the infants from different angles, recording equipment and powerful computers as well as a dedicated air conditioning and heating system. "With the help of artificial intelligence, we can introduce new methodological approaches to developmental science" explains Florentin Wörgötter, who accompanied the technical development of the Phenomobile. "This project and the cooperation between the participating institutions is thus exemplary for the interdisciplinary cooperation practised on the Göttingen Campus".

The press release can be found here (in German; a English translation can be found on the website of the Leibniz ScienceCampus).

March 20, 2023: SFB 1528 supports Women's Careers and Networks Symposium

A symposium with talks, plenary discussions, and career talks where female researchers can explore different career options and establish important contacts to promote their career path: After the success of the last web symposia, this year’s Women’s Careers and Networks Symposium will take place on the 11 and 12 of May 2023 at the MPI for Multidisciplinary Sciences (Faßberg).
Organized by PhD students and postdocs of the University as well as the Max Planck Institutes the symposium aims to attract young scientists with inspiring lectures and discussions. The meeting’s goal is to bring together female PhD students and postdocs to meet successful women of varied professional backgrounds to exchange experiences and to discuss diverse career options. The symposium will start the 11 of May with a workshop day. The 12 of May the symposium will be opened by Prof. Dr. Viola Priesemann, group leader at MPI for Dynamics and Self-Organization. Besides looking for their potential in different career paths, female scientists might like to get insight into which advancements will help them to achieve a leadership position. All the talks will be followed by interactive discussions with the participants. For more information on the
program and the speakers, please visit the WoCaNet Website

In addition, during the symposium Career talks will provide information and insights in career opportunities in academia and industry. The interactive concept of the symposium includes an exclusive Networking Dinner as an exceptional networking platform where the speakers meet a limited number of participants. Candidates interested in attending the dinner are asked to register. Registration is possible at the WoCaNet Website until the end of April 2023.

March 16, 2023: In the press - You or me: who gets the higher reward?

Drama or comedy? Couples who want to spend Sunday evenings together in front of the TV but like different movie genres face this question again every weekend. Do they agree on a movie and watch it together? Or does each one watch "their" favorite movie alone? And when they watch TV together, do they take turns picking? A team of SFB researchers studied how monkeys and humans coordinate and resolve such inherent conflicts of interest. In humans, this problem is already well studied in the context of game theory. But in contrast to previous approaches, the coordination game has now been extended to include a visibility component: In the game setting developed by Sebastian Möller, Igor Kagan and colleagues from the Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory and the Cognitive Ethology Laboratory (both at the German Primate Center), players were able to observe their counterparts while making decisions. The research showed that both humans and rhesus monkeys follow the actions of their counterpart and include them in their decision. However, they use different strategies in doing so. Humans coordinate in a dynamic process and achieve a "fair" balance over time: "today" you get to choose, next week it's my turn. In contrast, rhesus monkeys coordinate statically, which often means that one of the two players loses out over time. Two rhesus monkeys learned dynamic coordination skills after playing with human partner, but unlike humans, used these skills to compete. The publication appeared online in eLife, the press release can be found here.

March 10, 2023: In the press: How can we embed empathic intelligence in robots?

True cooperation of robots working hand in hand with humans requires that robots can read and react to human behaviour. Such collaborating robots ("Kobots") require empathic intelligence. How this can be implemented is at the core of a new collaborative research project between researchers at the TU Clausthal and the University of Göttingen. SFB members Anne Schacht and Florentin Wörgötter are members of project 'Keiko' (Kognitiv und Empathisch Intelligente Roboter). The project is running for three years, and is supported with 1.7 Mio. Euro from the Volkswagen-Stifung. Read also the full press release (in German)

March 1, 2023: Double header lecture by Jan Zimmermann and Dora Angelaki

On March 21, the SFB invites to a double header lecture with  Jan Zimmermann (University of Minnesota) and Dora E Angelaki (New York University). Jan Zimmermann will speak about Timescales of behavior and neural processing. In the second talk of the session, Dora Angelaki will present her work on Active sensing and flexible neural coding during visually guided navigation.
The session starts at 3 P.M. in the Michael-Lankeit lecture hall at the German Primate Center. Participants are invited to continue the discussion afterwards with beer and brezels.

UPDATE: Unfortunately, the talk by Jan Zimmermann had to be cancelled. The talk by Dora Angelaki will start at 4 PM!

February 15th, 2023: 13th Annual Primate Neurobiology Meeting

From April 26 to 28, 2023 the meeting will be held at the German Primate Center, with the SFB again playing a major role in organizing the event. The organizing committee is formed by Melanie Wilke and SFB members Stefan Treue, Alexander Gail, Hansjörg Scherberger, Igor Kagan, Caspar Schwiedrzik and Raymundo Baez-Mendoza. The meeting is characterized by a deliberately informal format to facilitate the exchange of information on any aspect of primate neurobiology and to allow us to speak out on behalf of this indispensable approach in the neurosciences. To this end, participants may present any aspect of their work at any stage – from the presentation of methods to that of concepts, from the introduction of very first results to the discussion of work that may have already been presented at other conferences. Students and postdocs working in nonhuman primate laboratories to are particularly invited to participate. The registration is open until March 31st.

February 6th, 2023: SFB members organising two symposia at the Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society

Exploration  room (Gail)The 15th Göttingen Meeting of the German Neuroscience Society will be held from March 22 to March 24th, with SFB members being main contributors to the scientific program. On March 23, 2023, the SFB will be represented prominently with a dedicated symposium on Neuroscience of naturalistic navigation and foraging in non-human primates. SFB speaker Alexander Gail and Irene Lacal organized and will chair the symposium, and SFB members Zurna Ahmed and Neda Shahidi will present their research. International guest speakers are Daniel Huber (University de Geneva), Dora E Angelaki (New York University), and Jan Zimmermann (University of Minnesota). Dora E Angelaki and Jan Zimmermann will also give talks in a SFB lecture prior to the symposium. On March 24, 2023, a symposium on Insights into the neural basis of cognition from human intracranial electrophysiology convened by SFB member Caspar Schwiedrzik will take place. The symposium will address different facets of cognition, taking complimentary perspectives from different recording and analysis techniques; as well as providing insight into ethical aspects and technical challenges when working with patients.

February 1, 2023: SFB Lecture by Oliver Tüscher

On February 16th, 2023 at 10 AM, Prof. Oliver Tüscher from the University Medical Center Mainz and the Leibniz Institute for Resilience Research will visit Göttingen and speak in a joint SFB / Leibniz ScienceCampus lecture about Neurobiological candidate mechanisms for resilience - goal directed behaviour under stress; the talk ( -> Abstract) will start c.t. in the Michael-Lankeit Hörsaal at the German Primate Center, Kellnerweg 4.

January 13th, 2023: Dyadic Interaction: Humans and macaques apply different coordination strategies in decision games

IsoccogplatnewpaperImagine you prefer to visit a Stravinsky concert, but your partner wants to go to the movies. When confronted with such dilemmas repeatedly, human pairs usually coordinate their choices. Sometimes they go to the concerts, and sometimes to the cinema. If macaques are confronted with comparable dilemmas, they usually fail to take turns. A team of SFB researchers from the labs of Cognitive Neurosciences and Cognitive Ethology could now demonstrate that, after training with a human partner, macacque pairs can achieve alternative, but dynamic coordination strategies, if they can see their partners while making their decision.
The full story can be found in eLife

Dec 1st, 2022: Talk by Constantin Rothkopf in the SFB Lecture series

We are looking forward to welcome Constantin Rothkopf from the TU Darmstadt as the last speaker in the SFB lecture series before the Christmas break. Prof. Rothkopf will speak about Computational models of naturalistic sensorimotor decisions and actions. In his talk, he will argue that models of human behavior, from decision making to sensorimotor control, have usually been dichotomized as either normative or descriptive. He will present work from his lab, in which Prof. Rothkopf and his team used probabilistic inference methods to reconcile normative and descriptive models; it furthermore allows to describe participants’ behavior on an individual by individual and trial by trial basis.
The talk will be held at 3 PM in the Michael-Lankeit-Hörsaal at the DPZ.

Nov 17, 2022: What do we know about emerging vocalisations in infants with neurodevelopmental disorders?

The early development of pre-babbling vocalisations, babbling and language in typically developing children is well-understand. But what about infants with neurodevelopmental disorders? Pre-babbling vocalisations may provide valuable early signs for atypical development, but as a new review by SFB members Peter Marschik, Claudius Widmann and Florentin Wörgötter shows, little is known about the pre-babbling phase in infants with neurodevelopmental and genetic syndromes. The paper has been published in Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Emerging verbal functions Marschik paper

Oct 19, 2022: Anne Schacht guest on "Planet Wissen"

Vice speaker and SFB PI Anne Schacht (projects A02, C02) joined the crew of the ARD science program "Planet Wissen" to explain how emotions influence our daily lives. The main focus of the show was on our strongest negative emotion "hate". Hate seems to play an evermore prevalent role in our daily lives, as aggression against politicians, authorities or people with other opinions or from different backgrounds becoming a serious threat to society. At the same time, hate is connecting people within groups. In the show, Anne Schacht discussed what hate does to us, and why it is so difficult to control it. The show is available in the ARD mediathek until Oct. 19th, 2027. Schacht

Oct 4, 2022: Viola Priesemann appointed as professor at the University of Göttingen

SFB PI Viola Priesemann (project A06) has accepted a professorship for the theory of neuronal systems at the University of Göttingen and started her new position October 1st, 2022. Priesemann has headed the research group "Theory of Neural Systems" at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation in Göttingen and the Institute for Dynamics of Complex Systems at the University of Göttingen since 2017. Her research focuses on the self-organisation of complex networks, especially learning and the emergence of information processing in living neural networks. The full press release of the University of Göttingen can be found herePriesemann copyright MPIDS Peter Heller_cropped
Foto: MIPDS / Peter Heller