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Munich Center for Neurosciences

The Munich Center for Neurosciences – Brain & Mind (MCN) was founded in 2005 to create a local network in and around Munich that connects all groups and disciplines with interests related to questions of neurobiology, cognition and “brain & mind”. The center provides a platform for interdisciplinary interactions, supports the establishment of new collaborative research programs and has developed a teaching concept that attracts excellent students at all levels of training. The program M.Sc. Neurosciences, generously funded by the Elite Network of Bavaria, and the Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences Ph.D. program, funded by the German Excellence Initiative, are offspring of the MCN Teaching Concept. The SFB 870: Assembly and Function of Neuronal Circuits in Sensory Processing is a new collaborative research center that resulted from scientific interactions of many members of the MCN plus several other research and training networks such as the Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience (BCCN) Munich. Furthermore the Research Training Group 1091 Orientation & Motion in Space has profited greatly from established networks within MCN and also from its teaching concept. This only begins to exemplify how MCN fosters the city of Munich as an internationally attractive site for training and research in neurosciences.

lmu_7738In Munich, research related to neurosciences spans a wide spectrum of current investigation areas, ranging from neural stem cells and the molecular mechanisms of early brain development, via cellular and systems neurobiology (including neurology), neurocognition and behavior (including “theory of mind”), to epistemology, philosophy of science, logic, and ethics. It involves numerous research groups working in various institutes and departments of the LMU (in particular biology, medicine, philosophy and psychology), most of them in close collaboration with the Max Planck Institutes of Neurobiology, Psychiatry, and Ornithology, the institutes of the Helmholtz Center Munich (HMGU), several institutes at the Technical University of Munich (TUM; electrical engineering, medicine, physics, life sciences) as well as with the computer industry.

MCN was implemented to make Munich, with its multitude of expertise, not only one of the real “hot spots” in the neurosciences, but also one of the few neuroscience hubs where the bridge from experimental neurobiology to the philosophy of brain & mind can be competently spanned.

Chair, Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Neuroscience
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich Center for Neurosciences
March 7, 2022
Bahador Bahrami, a scientist working with NOMIS researcher Ophelia Deroy on the Diversity in Social Environments project, has, together with his colleagues, published findings that show how the brain distinguishes […]
November 19, 2021
Solving problems should benefit from a diversity of perspectives, knowledge, values and skills. Disappointingly, however, empirical studies do not always match this expectation. Even though they try and abstract away […]
June 6, 2021
NOMIS researcher Ophelia Deroy and colleagues have published their findings in iScience suggesting that people are less likely to cooperate with AI even when AI is keen to cooperate. They […]
December 1, 2022
Abstract: Background: In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, most countries implemented physical distancing measures. Many mental health experts warned that through increasing social isolation and anxiety, these measures could negatively affect […]
December 1, 2022
Abstract: People assign less punishment to individuals who inflict harm collectively, compared to those who do so alone. We show that this arises from judgments of diminished individual causal responsibility in […]
August 1, 2022
Abstract: In a Bayesian brain, every perceptual decision will take into account internal priors as well as new incoming evidence. A reality monitoring system—eventually providing the agent us with a subjective […]
May 1, 2022
Abstract: Can diversity make for better science? Although diversity has ethical and political value, arguments for its epistemic value require a bridge between normative and mechanistic considerations, demonstrating why and how […]
March 1, 2022
Abstract: Moral judgments have a very prominent social nature, and in everyday life, they are continually shaped by discussions with others. Psychological investigations of these judgments, however, have rarely addressed the […]
March 1, 2022
Abstract: What happens when artificial sensors are coupled with the human senses? Using technology to extend the senses is an old human dream, on which sensory substitution and other augmentation technologies have already delivered. Laser tactile canes, corneal implants and magnetic belts can correct or extend what individuals could otherwise perceive. Here we show why accommodating intelligent sensory augmentation devices not just improves but also changes the way of thinking and classifying former sensory augmentation devices. We review the benefits in terms of signal processing and show why non-linear transformation is more than a mere improvement compared to classical linear transformation.
January 1, 2022
Abstract: Predictions pose unique problems. Experts regularly get them wrong, and collective solutions (such as prediction markets and super-forecaster schemes) do better but remain selective and costly. Contrary to the idea […]
December 1, 2021
Abstract: How essential is trust in science to prevent the spread of COVID-19? People who trust in science are reportedly more likely to comply with official guidelines, implying that higher levels of adherence could be achieved by improving trust in science. However, analysis of a global dataset (n = 4341) suggests otherwise. Trust in science had a small, indirect effect on adherence to the rules. Nonetheless, it predicted people’s approval of prevention measures such as social distancing, and bridged political ideology and approval of the measures (conservatives trusted science less and in turn approved of the measures less). These effects were stronger in the USA than in other countries. Even though any increase in trust in science is unlikely to yield strong behavioural changes, given its relationships with both ideology and individuals’ attitudes to the measures, trust in science may be leveraged to yield longer-term sustainable social benefits.
November 1, 2021
Abstract: Humans coordinate their focus of attention with others, either by gaze following or prior agreement. Though the effects of joint attention on perceptual and cognitive processing tend to be examined […]
August 1, 2021
Abstract: Why do we adopt new rules, such as social distancing? Although human sciences research stresses the key role of social influence in behaviour change, most COVID-19 campaigns emphasize the disease’s […]
June 25, 2021
Abstract: We cooperate with other people despite the risk of being exploited or hurt. If future artificial intelligence (AI) systems are benevolent and cooperative toward us, what will we do in […]
January 1, 2021
Abstract: With restricted face-to-face interactions, COVID-19 lockdowns and distancing measures tested the capability of computer-mediated communication to foster social contact and wellbeing. In a multinational sample (n = 6436), we investigated how different modes of contact related to wellbeing during the pandemic. Computer-mediated communication was more common than face-to-face, and its use was influenced by COVID-19 death rates, more so than state stringency measures. Despite its legal and health threats, face-to-face contact was still positively associated with wellbeing, and messaging apps had a negative association. Perceived household vulnerability to COVID-19 reduced the positive effect of face-to-face communication on wellbeing, but surprisingly, people’s own vulnerability did not. Computer-mediated communication was particularly negatively associated with the wellbeing of young and empathetic people. Findings show people endeavored to remain socially connected, yet however, maintain a physical distance, despite the tangible costs to their wellbeing.
December 1, 2020
Abstract: From playing basketball to ordering at a food counter, we frequently and effortlessly coordinate our attention with others towards a common focus: we look at the ball, or point at […]