Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

The overall goal of the Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition (NCC) is to accelerate our understanding of how we see (perception), why some experience feels the way it does (consciousness) and how those experiences get imprinted on our brain (learning and memory) – as well as the interplay between these processes.

A deep mystery in science is understanding why living things, such as humans and perhaps other animals are conscious, while machines, despite all their superb abilities and apparent intelligence are not. Why do we experience suffering? Why do we marvel in front of a piece of art, or feel time stopping and have the ‘chills’ when listening to a musical masterpiece? Our group seeks to tackle those challenging questions.

We use multiple methods to get at those questions, ranging from invasive and non-invasive electrophysiology, neuroimaging, and patient studies over behavioral techniques to online surveys and computational modelling. 

We are an interdisciplinary group committed to advancing the scientific ecosystem. We are pursuing a new format of team science which combines open science with adversarial collaboration, and aims at accelerating discoveries by capitalizing on intellectual diversity. We pursue large-scale collaborations, aimed at building a brain observatory, to accelerate discoveries by pooling resources and the best minds, thus making science sustainable by preserving knowledge and minimizing unnecessary efforts. For more information, visit our website at arc-cogitate.com.

Events

Guest Lecture by Agustin Ibañez

Title: Brain Health Research and Diversity

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Guest Lecture by Carlos Coronel

Whole-brain modeling in health and disease: from neurodegeneration and brain aging to gaming expertise

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Guest Lecture by Adrien Doerig

Semantic scene descriptions as an objective of human vision

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Growing up in Academia with Lenore Blum

What is it to be a scientist? How does one become a scientist? Growing Up in Academia is a conversation series with academics at different levels of their career focusing on the sometimes short,...

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Videos

Lucia Melloni

Join Richard Brown for a discussion with Lucia Melloni, Liad Mudrik, and Michal Pitts as they discuss COGITATE – an innovative Open Science, preregistered adversarial collaboration focused on arbitrating between two leading theories of consciousness, Integrated Information Theory (IIT) and Global Neuronal Workspace theory (GNW).

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Lucia Melloni

BrainMind Summit: Consciousness Day at Stanford

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Lucia Melloni

Debate between Andy Clark, David Heeger, Lucia Melloni and Michael Rescorla at NYU. Moderated by Ned Block. Sponsored by the NYU Center for Mind, Brain and Consciousness.

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Projects

  • Neural mechanisms by which the brain predictively controls perception and cognition

    A central yet unanswered question in neuroscience concerns the cortical mechanisms by which the brain predictively controls perception and higher-level cognitive functions, e.g., language. My studies investigate how predictions about upcoming ...

  • The structure of subjective experience

    Consciousness is one of the most fascinating yet least understood aspects of human nature, or perhaps nature at large. Our lives dwell in our conscious experiences: this is where we experience love, we feel the ‘chills’ with a good piece of ...

  • Testing theories of consciousness

    Every day we lose and regain consciousness as we fall asleep and wake up. Yet, we still do not know how consciousness come about in the brain. Our long-term goal is to shed light onto this fundamental question: how does a physical system, such as ...

  • Methods development

    Advancements in science necessitate theories, to make sense of observations and to predict new observations, but also sensitive methods to enable observations at the right scale. As we need a telescope to look at the galaxy far away, we need ...

  • Mental units of temporal experience

    Our mind breaks the continuous stream of experience into events, or chunks. Events are meaningful episodes that unfold over time, such as throwing a ball. We can understand, for instance, who is throwing a ball to whom and at what speed. Events ...

  • The interplay between perception and memory

    From the thousands of experiences we have each day, only a few will be remembered. How and why is this so? We are interested in the question of how the continuous living present is broken up into pieces that will be remembered, and the distortion ...

Latest Publications

Zheng, Z.-F., Huang, S.-Y., Lu, S., & Cai, Y.-C. (2023). Interaction between top-down decision-driven congruency effect and bottom-up input-driven congruency effect is correlated with conscious awareness (Advanced online publication). Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. doi:10.1037/xge0001483.
PuRe

Trübutschek, D., & Melloni, L. (2023). Stable perceptual phenotype of the magnitude of history biases even in the face of global task complexity. Journal of Vision,23(8): 4. doi:10.1167/jov.23.8.4.
PuRe PDF

Melloni, L., Mudrik, L., Pitts, M., Bendtz, K., Ferrante, O., Gorska, U., Hirschhorn, R., Khalaf, A., Kozma, C., Lepauvre, A., Liu, L., Mazumder, D., Richter, D., Zhou, H., Blumenfeld, H., Boly, M., Chalmers, D. J., Devore, S., Fallon, F., de Lange, F. P., Jensen, O., Kreiman, G., Luo, H., Panagiotaropoulos, T. I., Dehaene, S., Koch, C., & Tononi, G. (2023). An adversarial collaboration protocol for testing contrasting predictions of global neuronal workspace and integrated information theory. PLoS One,18(2): e0268577. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0268577.
PuRe PDFLocator 1

Joining the Research Group

Our research program spans cognitive and systems neuroscience. We are always on the lookout for master students, graduate students and post-docs with expertise in any of the following areas: Electrophysiology,  Neuroimaging, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Neurinformatics or Biomedical Engineering.

Potential undergraduate/graduate students and post-docs should contact Lucia Melloni directly at:
lucia.melloni@ae.mpg.de

Contact

Lucia Melloni

Prof. Lucia Melloni, PhD

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Research Group Leader

+49 69 8300479-330

E-Mail

Diana Gleiß

Diana Gleiß

Administration; Research Groups

Assistant

+49 69 8300479-801

E-Mail

Team

Darinka Truebutschek

Dr. Darinka Truebutschek

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Researcher

+49 69 8300479-332

E-Mail

Alex Lepauvre

Alex Lepauvre

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Researcher

+49 69 8300479-381

E-Mail

Zefan Zheng

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Researcher

+49 69 8300479-341

E-Mail

Tanya Brown

Tanya Brown

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Scientific Coordinator

+49 69 8300479-385

E-Mail

Praveen Sripad

Praveen Sripad

Research Group Neural Circuits, Consciousness, and Cognition

Researcher

+49 69 8300479-333

E-Mail

Alumni

Piermatteo Morucci

Postdoc at University of Geneva

Current Collaborators

Hal Blumenfeld
Helena Cousjin
Stanislas Dehaene
Floris deLange
Federico de Martino
Leon Deouell
Orrin Devinsky
Ole Jensen
Gabriel Kreiman
Christof Koch
Huan Luo
Liad Mudrik
Michael Pitts
Fanis Panagiotaropoulos 
Caspar M. Schwiedrzik
Giulio Tononi
Nick Turk-Browne
Charan Ranganath
Taufik Valiante
Essa Yacoub    
Elana Zion-Golumbic

Funding

MPI
MURI
GIF
TWCF
NIH
LOEWE
MARIE CURIE