We are a new research group at the Department of Psychology, HU Berlin. We are brain imagers and machine learning experts. We aim to combine neural and behavioural data to best understand the miracle that is human cognition. Recent work focusses on the study of the neural correlates of working memory. We are funded by an Emmy Noether research group grant by the German research foundation (DFG).
Our work is driven by the hypothesis that short-term information storage is a distributed cortical process. We use neuroimaging methods (predominantly fMRI) and multivariate pattern analysis techniques (‘machine learning‘) to identify brain regions which store contents held in working memory, study the representational architecture of these brain regions, and ask how memory storage is elicited and maintained in these areas. You can find our recent review on ‘The Distributed Nature of Working Memory’ here.
For more insights please have a look at our publications.
We believe that research work is an inherent commitment to positive change. Part of our commitment is acknowledging the need for a change in the way we do research. In this part of our work, we pursue three goals.
- Fair work practices: We know that research can be an important, fulfilling and even joyous occupation. But work in academiacan also be an abhorrent and unjustifiable risk to the health of those engaging in it (see here, here, and here). In our day-to-day operations, we aim at alleviating these risks to the best of our ability. We focus on long-term mentorship, continuous education, support culture, rapid iteration, and in-lab interactions with a low barrier to entry. We emphasize agency over hierarchic decision making, transparency over ambiguity, collaboration over individual ‘excellence’ and conflict resolution over authority. While we cannot change the reality of the academic job market (for now), we can change how we face it.
- Inclusivity: We acknowledge that academia is marked by intolerable inequality (see here, here, and here) and are committed to change it to reflect the diversity of our society. We aim to provide equal opportunities for minority groups and do not tolerate discrimination based on age, sexual orientation, gender and gender identity, national and ethnic origin, class, religion, family status, or disability. We acknowledge that discrimination is often systemic and implicit, and that individuals of different backgrounds often face challenges in access to research employment. We want to do our part in decimating these biases in ourselves and academia in general and we support anyone speaking out against discrimination. We affirm that an inclusive work environment is a prerequisite for good research.
- Lasting discovery: Our work is aimed at producing lasting insight into the human mind. In other words, we happily chip away at the mountain range that is human cognition acknowledging that it might be decades until we understand the processes which make us human. We aim at aggregating insight in a transparent and fair manner, sharing code and anonymized data in a reasonable way, and publishing results responsibly. We believe that discovery in cognitive neuroscience is an inherently incremental and collaborative endeavour of numerous scientists, rather than the achievement of a few ground-breaking peers.