02. March 2017

Demand for Revision in the Neurosciences

Understanding the correlations between brain and behavior has always been one key objective of the neurosciences. Ever more compelling technical tools developed in recent history have resulted in the collection of immense amounts of neurobiological data. They allow scientists to examine the brain’s component parts on a level of detail like never before. But can this information comprehensively explain behavior?

„No, it cannot! “, argues a recent article published in renowned journal Neuron. Five international neuroscientists, among them as senior author David Poeppel, Director of the Department of Neurosciences, argue that a reductionist focus on neuroscience has led the field astray. Instead, only a more multidimensional approach, taking behavioral analysis fully into account, might provide true understanding - and eventually bridge the gap between „hardware“ (brain) and „software“ (behavior), as the authors explain. Thus, the article claims nothing less than a fundamental revision of the common approaches to their science.

Original publication:

Krakauer, J. W., Ghazanfar, A. A., Gomez-Marin, A., MacIver, M. A., & Poeppel, D. (2017). Neuroscience needs behavior: correcting a reductionist bias. Neuron, 93(3), 480-490.
doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2016.12.041


Prof. David Poeppel, PhD
Director Department of Neurosciences
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt/Main
+49 69 8300479-301 

Dr. Anna Husemann
Research Coordination/PR
Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt/Main
+49 69 8300479-650