Prof. Dr. Sarah Weigelt,
Developmental Neuropsychology,
Faculty of Psychology

Sarah Weigelt

Research Programme:

Although huge advancements have been and still are made day-to-day in our understanding of the adult human brain, we know surprisingly little about the brains of children. Healthy brain development, however, is essential for human life: Disturbances of brain development during infancy and childhood will have a life-long impact on the affected person.

My main research interest focuses on typical and atypical brain development in children, adolescents and adults. Together with my team I aim at advancing our understanding of human brain development focusing on one of the best-studied neuronal subsystems: the visual system. Not only is our lack of knowledge about human visual brain development particularly obvious (e.g. 2000 neuroimaging studies on the adult visual system as opposed to 20 studies on the child's visual system) with most of the few studies demonstrating evidence for extended visual brain development, recent behavioral research also shows that vision continues to develop throughout childhood, adolescence and even adulthood on all levels.

The main research question I am thus following as a developmental cognitive neuroscientist is: How do children see the world and how does the human visual brain develop? Using a multi-method approach combining behavioral as well as neuroimaging techniques my lab not only addresses typical brain development, but has a second strong focus on atypical development, in particular on autism. People with autism see the world differently, and I believe that understanding their perception will lead us to an overall deeper insight into human nature.