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The Team

Project Leaders

Project I – modelling – is lead by Joachim Funke, who holds the chair in general psychology at the University of Heidelberg  in collaboration with Leon Urbas, who is head of the Junior Resarch Group on “Modelling of User Behaviour in Dynamic Systems” at the Technical University Berlin. Prof. Funke has long been a major proponent of experimental research on complex problem solving and has developed several paradigms and statistical analysis methods for this purpose. Dr. Urbas has extensive experience in computational modelling of complex cognitive processes, which he has mainly applied to human-machine-interactions. Project I will develop a computational model in collaboration with Prof. Leon Urbas of the Technical Universtiy of Berlin by extending existing models of the tasks used, which will be used to predict behavioural performance and neural activation patterns in projects II and III. In addition, a hierarchical path model will be developed to analyse multi-level behavioural data obtained in the other projects.

Project II – neurocognition – is lead by Christian Fiebach, who is researcher at the Department of Neurology, University Hospital Heidelberg, and coordinator of the interdisciplinary working group on cognitive neurology. Dr. Fiebach’s research focus has been the neural correlates of working memory and related higher-cognitive functions, such as language. He has extensive experience in functional imaging obtained during his work at the Max-Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience in Leipzig and the D’Esposito Neuroimaging Laboratory at the University of California Berkeley. Project II will be concerned with the neural correlates of goal management processes using functional imaging and electrophysiological methods. During the first part of the project a goal-management paradigm developed by Dr. Fiebach will be evaluated in detail. This basic paradigm will be modified to differentiate sub-processes of goal related cognitive operations based on hypotheses generated from the computational model in project I.

Project III – schizophrenia – is lead by Matthias Weisbrod, who is director of the Section of Experimental Psychopathology, Psychiatric University Hospital Heidelberg, where he has conducted extensive research on cognitive dysfunction in schizophrenia drawing on neuropsychology, electrophysiology and genetics. In addition, PD Dr. Weisbrod is clinical director of the Psychiatric Hospital Karlsbad-Langensteinbach, an institution specializing in schizophrenia rehabilitation, which offers an ideal environment for the proposed project in terms of existing resources and the feasibility of patient recruitment. Project IV will apply the concepts developed in projects I and II to the paradigmatic case of schizophrenia. This will be achieved by means of a clinical trial assessing complex problem solving training in a psychiatric rehabilitation setting. Statistical modelling will be conducted in close collaboration with Project I. The electrophysiological correlates of disturbances in schizophrenia and training effects will be investigated with the paradigm developed by Dr. Fiebach (Project II).


Project Staff

We are currently recruiting (Oct. 2006), please refer to Jobs.