SFB 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.
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" 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.
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".
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.
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.
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)
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!
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.
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.
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.
IImagine 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
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 aboutComputational 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.
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
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.
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 here