Professor Martin Jönsson

Martin Jönsson is an associate professor at the Department of Philosophy at Lund University. His main research interests are in the Philosophy of Language, Cognitive and Social Psychology, and Epistemology. He has worked in particular on semantic compositionality, prototype theory, non-logical reasoning and the Generality Problem. He is currently working on the connection between semantic similarity and compositionality, implicit bias and Bayesian explanations of the Conjunction Fallacy. Martin Jönsson visited the MRG 1 from April to July 2015.

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Prof. Dr. Thomas Suddendorf

Thomas Suddendorf is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Queensland and a director of the Early Cognitive Development Centre. He studies the development of mental capacities in young children and in nonhuman animals to answer fundamental questions about the nature and evolution of the human mind. He has received honors and distinctions for both his research and teaching, including awards from the Association for Psychological Science, the Australian Academy of Social Sciences, and the American Psychological Association. He has written a dozen book chapters and published more than 60 articles, including a 2007 paper on mental time travel that has been recognized as one of the most highly cited in the field of neuroscience and behaviour. His new book “THE GAP- The Science of What Separates Us from Other Animals” (NY: Basic books) has attracted many outstanding reviews in international journals (e.g. Nature, Science, New Scientist) and newspapers alike (e.g. The Times, Times Higher Education, The Wall Street Journal).

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Prof. Dr. Edmund T. Rolls

Edmund T. Rolls is at the Oxford Centre for Computational Neuroscience, Oxford, and at the Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick, UK, where he is a Professor in Computational Neuroscience. Before this, he was Professor of Experimental Psychology at The University of Oxford. His research interests are in computational neuroscience, including the operation of real neuronal networks in the brain involved in vision, memory, attention, and decision-making; functional neuroimaging of vision, taste, olfaction, feeding, the control of appetite, memory, and emotion; neurological disorders of emotion; psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia; and the brain processes underlying consciousness. These studies include investigations in patients, and are performed with the aim of contributing to understanding the human brain in health and disease, and of treating its disorders. He has published more than 530 articles.

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Prof. Dr. Raymond Kesner

Prof. Raymond Kesner received his PhD in Physiological Psychology from the University of Illinois in 1965. He conducted post doctoral work With Robert Doty at the University of Rochester. He then moved to the Psychology Department at the University of Utah where he still resides. His major research area is the neurobiology of learning and memory. His major emphasis has been in developing an attribute model of memory based on a system analysis and determining the underlying processes that define different systems. In recent years his present research has emphasized the role of the hippocampus, a brain area that is very important for memory, in terms of the contribution of its specific subregions rather than treating the hippocampus as a single entity. Furthermore, he has explored the interactions and dissociations among these different subregions in order to understand the input and output pathways to further uncover how the hippocampus supports many multiple processes, such as spatial and temporal pattern separation, spatial and temporal patttern completion, the development of arbitrary association especially involving time and space, sequence learning, encoding and retrieval of information, short- and intermediate-term memory and promotion of consolidation of new information.

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Prof. Dr. Alireza Valizadeh

Prof. Dr. Alireza Valizadeh received his PhD in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics from the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS), Iran. His PhD thesis was on the ‘Synchronization of Josephson junctions in triangular arrays’. He conducted postdoctoral research also at IASBS working on ‘Soliton dynamics in Bose-Einstein condensates and Josephson junction arrays’. He has been an Assistant Professor at IASBS since 2009, initiating a Neuroscience Program with a few colleagues from the Physics, Mathematics and Biochemistry Departments. Now he is the head of the Neurophysics Lab, one of the leading groups in theoretical and computational neuroscience in Iran. They use the dynamical systems approach to study the self-organized dynamics and emergent phenomena in neuronal ensembles. They are interested in clarifying the role of different parameters such as the delay in communication, heterogeneity and shared/independent noises on the coordinated activity of neurons. Currently, he pursues the question of the synchronization properties of neuronal networks with dynamic synaptic weights and studies the interplay of dynamics and structure seen in the networks when the synapses evolve through spike-timing-dependent plasticity.

A list of publications and additional information can be found on his website at the IASBS (

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Prof. Dr. Max Kölbel

Max Kölbel took up his present position at ICREA/Universitat de Barcelona in 2008. His main interests are in philosophy of language, philosophical logic, epistemology and metaethics. Max Kölbel got his PhD in Philosophy from King's College, University of London (UK), in 1997. He has worked at the Instituto de Investigaciones Filosóficas of the UNAM in México City, at the University of Wales Swansea, in the Philosophy Faculty at Cambridge University (UK) and in the Philosophy Department at the University of Birmingham (UK). He has held a visiting position at the Mercator Research Group from January 10th to January 31th, 2013.

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Prof. Dr. Friedrich T. Sommer

Friedrich T. Sommer is Associate Adjunct Professor at the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience and at the Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute at University of California, Berkeley. He received a PhD in Physics from University of Düsseldorf with a thesis on the theory of associative memories. He conducted postdoctoral research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Tuebingen and he holds a Habilitation degree in Computer Science from University of Ulm. Fritz Sommer's broad research interest is to understand how brains learn and perform tasks with ease that computer algorithms struggle with, for example analyzing a cluttered visual scene or retrieving relevant information from a large body of stored data. Long-standing research interests include models of memory and studies of the computation performed by networks of sensory neurons.
His recent interests include developing a theory of learning in sensor-motor loops and using ideas from compressed sensing in models how functional brain regions communicate. His lab uses approaches from Machine Learning, Applied Mathematics and Physics to devise computational models of the brain, as well as techniques for analyzing neuroscience data. Further, the group collaborates with various experimental neuroscientists. The visit of Fritz Sommer at the Mercator Research Group in March and April 2012 will give the opportunity of exchanging ideas about the research themes mentioned and beyond.

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Prof. Dr. Emar Maier

Emar Maier received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the Radboud University Nijmegen in 2006 with a thesis on the semantics of de re and de se attitude ascriptions. After working as postdoctoral researcher in Linguistics (Nijmegen) and Philosophy (ILLC/Amsterdam), he is now PI of an ERC Starting Grant project on the grey area between direct and indirect reported speech (combining formal semantics and empirical investigation of child language, sign language, and ancient Greek). His research interests include: presuppositions and dynamic semantics; reported speech and quotation; indexicals and proper names; and attitude reports. His visit to the Bochum Philosophy of Language department/Mercator Research Group will provide an opportunity for mutual exchange of ideas about philosophical and empirical issues in the study of meaning generally, and about the nature of linguistic self-reference through quotation in particular.

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Prof. Dr. Christopher Gauker

Christopher Gauker is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cincinnati. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh for a dissertation written under the direction of Wilfrid Sellars. His interests lie primarily in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and philosophical logic. He is the author of four monographs: Thinking Out Loud: An Essay on the Relation between Thought and Language (Princeton 1994), Words without Meaning (MIT 2003), Conditionals in Context (MIT 2005), and Words and Images: An Essay on the Origin of Ideas. Recent publications in journals include articles in Noûs, Mind and Language and the Journal of Semantics. In October and November 2011 he visited the Mercator Research Group and gave presentations on sensory perception, the prospects for naturalized semantics and the concept of logical validity. Currently, he is especially interested in the nature of imagistic cognition and in approaches to formal semantics that eschew word-world reference relations.

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Prof. Dr. Klaus-Peter Hoffmann

Klaus-Peter Hoffmann is a retired professor of Zoology and Neurobiology at the Ruhr University Bochum. He did his PhD with Otto Creutzfeldt in Munich and did his habilitation at the University of Munich. He studies the evolution and comparative neurobiology of vision and the control of visuo-motor behavior. To this end he applies neurophysiological and neuroanatomical methods in animal models as well as psychophysical methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging in humans. His research results were published in over 200 articles in renowned scientific journals, including Nature and Science. Professor Hoffmann was president of the German Neuroscience Society and a member of the editorial board of numerous neuroscientific journals. He played a fundamental role in numerous initiatives in teaching and research. He was founder and spokesman of the first DFG Research Training Group „Cognition, brain und neural networks“, spokesman of the International Graduate School of Neuroscience at the Ruhr University, chair of the review board of Biology at the DFG, chair of the jury in the Bio-Future program of the BMBF and first chair of the expert group in the Human Frontier Science program in Strasbourg. Currently, he is a member of the DFG Review Board, the Board of Trustees of the Hertie Institute in Tübingen and the Review Committee of the International Neuroinformatics Coordinating Facility in Stockholm. His research took him abroad several times: to Canberra, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Pasadena, and New York. Prof. Hoffmann visited the Mercator Research Group "Structure of Memory" from November 2010 to August 2011.

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Prof. Dr. Sven Bernecker

Sven Bernecker is Chair Professor of Philosophy at the School of Humanities at the University of California, Irvine. He holds a PhD from Stanford University and has been habilitated at the LMU Munich. In his two books Memory: A Philosophical Study (Oxford University Press, 2010) and The Metaphysics of Memory (Springer, 2008) he investigates the topic of memory from an epistemological and metaphysical perspective. He is arguably the single-most outstanding contemporary philosopher of memory. Deeply rooted in epistemology, he is the author of Reading Epistemology (Blackwell, 2006) and editor of The Routledge Companion to Epistemology (with Duncan Pritchard, Routledge 2011) as well as of Knowledge: Readings in Contemporary Epistemology (with Fred Dretske, Oxford University Press, 2000). He has also published numerous articles in the internationally most renowned philosophy journals. He was a Fellow at the Stanford Humanities Center, Research Professor at the Brazilian Council of Technological and Scientific Development, and a Heisenberg Fellow. In May and June 2010, Bernecker visited the Mercator Research Group where he read the lecture series Memory: Philosophical Perspectives.

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Short-term Visitors

In alphabetical order:

  • Dr. Giosué Baggio, SISSA, Trieste
  • PD Dr. Andrea Bender, U Freiburg & MPI Nijmegen
  • Prof. Dr. Regine Eckardt, U Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. Julia Fischer, German Primate Center, U Göttingen
  • Prof. Dr. Brian Hill, HEC-Paris
  • Dr. Jan Pieter Konsman, PsychoNeuroImmunology Laboratory , Université Bordeaux 2
  • PD Dr. Ricarda Schubotz, MPI Cologne
  • Prof. Dr. Achille Varzim Columbia University, New York
  • Dr. Carsten Wotjak, Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, Munich

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