PhD Projects

General Description

Links of PIs

Details of the PhD projects

Part 1: Meta-questions concerning situated cognition

PhD-Project 1: Which notion of representation is adequate in a framework of situated cognition, or can we deal without presupposing representations at all?

  • Lead-PI: Albert Newen, Sven Walter
  • Description: In the influential book Representation reconsidered, philosopher William Ramsey (2007) notes: “It has become almost a cliché to say that the most important explanatory posit today in cognitive research is the concept of representation »read more

Part 2: Topic area: Investigating situated perception and agency

PhD-Project 2: Situated theories of perception

  • Lead-PI: Tobias Schlicht
  • The situated view of perception and action conceives of these phenomena and capacities in quite a different way than traditional accounts developed in the classical paradigm of cognitive science »read more

PhD-Project 3: Sensory substitution experiments: Testing enacted theories of cognition with experiments on sensory augmentation

  • Lead-PI: Peter König
  • Description: The theory of sensorimotor contingencies (O’Regan & Noë 2001), a prominent variant of embodied (or enacted) theories of cognition discussed in the introduction, predicts that the relation of changes of afferent signals and actions determines the quality of perception »read more

PhD-Project 4: Developing a situated account of personal freedom: The situatedness of decision-making

  • Lead-PI: Sven Walter
  • Description: This project is based on the hypothesis that what is called “personal freedom” is not only a matter of “off-line,” detached and distanced, processes of rational reflection and deliberation »read more

PhD-Project 5: The neuronal fundaments of the perception-to-action cycle

  • Lead-PI: Onur Güntürkün
  • Description: A core assumption of the RTG is the impossibility of dividing our mind into neuronally separable domains of perception, cognition, and action. One PhD project tests the assumption that cognitive processes emerge in the cooperative interplay among neurons within large networks »read more

Part 3: Topic area: Situated affectivity

PhD-Project 6: Theory of embedded and extended affectivity

  • Lead-PI: Achim Stephan
  • Description: Although emotions are typically conceived of as responses to changes in the environment, there is no consensus on which role the environment has with regard to our affective life (causal vs. constitutive role) »read more

PhD-Project 7: Investigating embodied emotions

  • Lead-PI: Achim Stephan, Ursula Stockhorst
  • Description: In the current literature, to characterize affective processes as being embodied can mean two quite different things: first, that they essentially involve extra-cranial bodily processes »read more

Part 4: Topic area: Situated social understanding

PhD-Project 8: Theory of situated, especially enacted social understanding

  • Lead-PI: Albert Newen
  • Description: How does an adequate theory of social understanding look like? For decades, there was an intense debate between two camps: Theory-Theory (TT) and Simulation-Theory (ST) »read more

PhD-Project 9: Investigating social understanding in action contexts: Visual cliff experiments

  • Lead-PI: Silvia Schneider
  • One goal of the RTG is to study the role of situated emotions for social understanding, deciding and acting. Research in developmental psychology has shown that infants seek and use others’ perceptions and interpretations of ambiguous situations to form their own interpretations of those situations »read more

Part 5: Topic area: Situated linguistic understanding and a situated theory of meaning

The standard theory of linguistic understanding and of meaning in the area of philosophy and cognitive sciences has been shaped by Fodor’s thesis of a language of thought (Fodor 1975): linguistic meaning and understanding is anchored in an internal language of thought which can be characterized by amodal, symbol-based information processing. This view is radically questioned by the RTG and should be substituted by an adequate situated theory of linguistic meaning and understanding. To reach this aim we plan to discuss recent developments of situated theories concerning three research areas: linguistic meaning, linguistic understanding and word learning.

PhD-Project 10: Theory of situated linguistic meaning

  • Lead-PI: Markus Werning
  • Description: Contemporary naturalistic theories of linguistic comprehension can be classified along two dimensions: The first one regards the extent to which semantic comprehension involves embodied brain processes »read more

PhD-Project 11: Investigating the situatedness of metaphors

  • Lead-PI: Nikola Kompa
  • Description: A well-rehearsed claim in the theory of meaning is that metaphor is a ubiquitous feature of natural languages and that it serves cognitive purposes (Kompa 2015, Kompa (forthcoming)) »read more

PhD-Project 12: Investigating the situatedness of linguistic understanding: the perceptual basis of word meaning acquisition

  • Lead-PI: Jutta L. Müller
  • Description: The PhD project empirically investigates the influence of modality-specific referential cues on word learning and uses the findings to acknowledge and integrate sensory experience more explicitly in word learning and semantic theory »read more