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Highlights of the Research Results

Please find below a list of selected research results from all Centers of the Institute since 2011.

Kapitalismus, Märkte und Moral

Titel:

Kapitalismus, Märkte und Moral

Cover des Buches "Kapitalismus, Märkte und Moral"
© Residenz Verlag
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

Contemporary calls for a “moral economy” provide the impetus for Ute Frevert’s inquiry into the historical relationship between capitalism and morality. Are struggles over morality intrinsic to capitalism and have they always been? Or has the predicate “moral” been imposed on it from the outside? And if so, with what consequences? The book puts forth the claim that moral interventions have continuously altered capitalism and, importantly, ensured its survival. From Robin Hood to Karl Marx, from Pope Francis to Bernie Sanders, from cooperatives to progressive taxation to the French Yellow Vests Movement - moral feelings like empathy, solidarity, fairness, and justice can animate political forces that have the potential to challenge and transform the capitalist order.

Frevert, U. (2019). Kapitalismus, Märkte und Moral. Wien: Residenz Verlag.

An Integrated Model of Action Selection: Distinct Modes of Cortical Control of Striatal Decision Making

Titel:

An Integrated Model of Action Selection: Distinct Modes of Cortical Control of Striatal Decision Making

Annu. Rev. Psychol. 2019.70:53-76
© Annual Reviews
Center: 
MPRG "Neural and Computational Basis of Learning, Decision Making and Memory"
Abstract: 

Making decisions in environments with few choice options is easy. We select the action that results in the most valued outcome. Making decisions in more complex environments, where the same action can produce different outcomes in different conditions, is much harder. In such circumstances, we propose that accurate action selection relies on top-down control from the prelimbic and orbitofrontal cortices over striatal activity through distinct thalamostriatal circuits.

We suggest that the prelimbic cortex exerts direct influence over medium spiny neurons in the dorsomedial striatum to represent the state space relevant to the current environment. Conversely, the orbitofrontal cortex is argued to track a subject's position within that state space, likely through modulation of cholinergic interneurons.

Melissa J. Sharpe, Thomas Stalnaker, Nicolas W. Schuck, Simon Killcross, Geoffrey Schoenbaum, Yael Niv (2019). An Integrated Model of Action Selection: Distinct Modes of Cortical Control of Striatal Decision Making. Annual Review of Psychology 70:1, 53-76. doi.org/10.1146/annurev-psych-010418-102824

Plasticity beyond early development: Hypotheses and questions

Titel:

Plasticity beyond early development: Hypotheses and questions

Plasticity beyond early development
© MIT Press
Center: 
Lifespan Psychology
Abstract: 

Applying insights from research on critical periods in early development, this chapter outlines a life-span research agenda on human plasticity and uses it as the conceptual foundation for a set of research hypotheses and open questions. Plasticity is defined as the capacity for lasting changes in brain structure associated with expansions in behavioral repertoire. As a complement to plasticity, flexibility refers to the instantiation and reconfiguration of the existing behavioral repertoire during periods of stability that are characterized by the absence of structural change. Mammalian and avian brains evolve through cycles of plasticity and stability, with a general trend towards stability. Animal work on critical periods in motor and sensory development substantiates three hypotheses that can serve as guideposts for research on plasticity in later age periods: First, likelihood, rate, and magnitude of plastic changes decrease after maturity. Second, when triggered, plastic changes often entail an overproduction of new synaptic connections, followed by pruning. Macroscopically, this sequence is associated by a pattern of grey matter volume expansion, followed by renormalization. Third, earlier plastic changes provide a structural scaffold for later learning. These hypotheses await empirical testing in humans, engender research design recommendations, and are related to fundamental open issues in research on human plasticity.

Lindenberger, U. (2018). Plasticity beyond early development: Hypotheses and questions. In A. A. Benasich & U. Ribary (Eds.), Emergent brain dynamics: Prebirth to adolescence (pp. 207–223). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press

Developmental Psychology

Titel:

Developmental Psychology

Buchcover Entwicklungspsychologie
© Beltz
Center: 
Lifespan Psychology
Abstract: 

What does a newborn perceive? How do children learn to deal with emotions? When and how do our personalities evolve? How do cognitive abilities change in adulthood? – The content areas of developmental psychology are more wide-ranging and accessible than is the case for most other fields of psychology.

The textbook “Entwicklungspsychologie” – established by Rolf Oerter and Leo Montada – is regarded as the standard work in the field. Wolfgang Schneider and Ulman Lindenberger are the editors of its 8th edition.

Development is presented on the basis of two dimensions, by age (from prenatal development to very old age) and by domain (the development of perception, emotion, cognition, language, etc.). To conclude, 13 fields of practice are introduced, among others the media, preschool education, health, and productivity in old age.

Schneider, W., & Lindenberger, U. (Hrsg.). (2018). Entwicklungspsychologie [Developmental psychology] (8th ed.). Weinheim: Beltz.

Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions: The Politics of Feeling since 1945.

Titel:

Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions: The Politics of Feeling since 1945.

© Routledge
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

After 1945 it was not just Europe’s parliamentary buildings that promised to house democracy. Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions shows that even hotels in Turkey, Dutch shopping malls and Housing programs in the Soviet Union proposed new democratic attitudes and feelings. The book focuses on competing promises of consumer democracy, welfare democracy, and socialist democracy. Spanning from Turkey across Eastern and Western Europe to the United States, the chapters investigate the emotional politics of housing and representation.

Großmann, T., & Nielsen, P. (Eds.) (2018). Architecture, Democracy, and Emotions: The Politics of Feeling since 1945. London and New York: Routledge.

Monsoon feelings: a history of emotions in the rain

Titel:

Monsoon feelings: a history of emotions in the rain

Monsoon feelings: a history of emotions in the rain – Book Cover
© Niyogi Books
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

The monsoon is the season of pouring rain and intense emotions: love and longing, hope and fear, pleasure and pain, devotion and joyous excess. Through a series of evocative essays exploring rain-drenched worlds of poetry, songs, paintings, architecture, films, gardens, festivals, music and medicine, this lavishly illustrated collection examines the history of monsoon feelings in South Asia from the twelfth century to the present.

Each essay is written by a specialist in the field of South Asian arts and culture, and investigates emotions as reflections and agents of social, cultural and political change across borders of language and religion and between different arts and cultural practices. This history of emotions in the rain is as rich, surprising, beautiful and devastating as the thundering mosnoon clouds, and will delight general and scholarly audiences alike.

Schofield, K. R., Rajamani, I., & Pernau, M. (Eds.) (2018). Monsoon feelings: a history of emotions in the rain. New Delhi: Niyogi.

Health education films in the twentieth century

Titel:

Health education films in the twentieth century

Cover Health Education Films
© University of Rochester Press
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

During the twentieth century, film came to be seen as a revolutionary technology that could entertain, document, instruct, and transform a mass audience. In the fields of medicine and public health, doctors, educators, health advocates, and politicians were especially enthusiastic about the potential of the motion picture for communicating about health-related topics, including sexually transmitted diseases, cancer, tuberculosis, smoking, alcoholism, and contraception.

Focusing on the period from the 1910s to the 1960s, this book is the first collection to examine the history of the public health education film in Europe and North America. It explores how a variety of commercial, governmental, medical, and public health organizations in Europe and North America turned to movies to educate the public, reform their health behaviors, and manage their anxieties and hopes about health, illness, and medical and public health interventions. Moreover, by looking at categories of movies as well as individual examples, the book tackles questions of the representativeness of individual films and the relationship between the public health film and other forms of motion picture.

Contributors: Christian Bonah, Tim Boon, David Cantor, Ursula von Keitz, Anja Laukötter, Elizabeth Lebas, Vincent Lowy, Miriam Posner, Kirsten Ostherr, Alexandre Sumpf

Bonah, Ch., Cantor, D., Laukötter, A. (Eds.)(2018). Health education films in the twentieth century. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press.

Cognitive costs of decision-making strategies: A resource demand decomposition with a cognitive architecture

Titel:

Cognitive costs of decision-making strategies: A resource demand decomposition with a cognitive architecture

Paper
© Elsevier
Center: 
Adaptive Rationality
Abstract: 

Several theories of cognition distinguish between strategies that differ in the mental effort that their use requires. But how can the effort—or cognitive costs—associated with a strategy be conceptualized and measured? We propose an approach that decomposes the effort a strategy requires into the time costs associated with the demands for using specific cognitive resources. We refer to this approach as resource demand decomposition analysis (RDDA) and instantiate it in the cognitive architecture Adaptive Control of Thought–Rational (ACT-R).

ACT-R provides the means to develop computer simulations of the strategies. These simulations take into account how strategies interact with quantitative implementations of cognitive resources and incorporate the possibility of parallel processing. Using this approach, we quantified, decomposed, and compared the time costs of two prominent strategies for decision making, take-the-best and tallying. Because take-the-best often ignores information and foregoes information integration, it has been considered simpler than strategies like tallying. However, in both ACT-R simulations and an empirical study we found that under increasing cognitive demands the response times (i.e., time costs) of take-the-best sometimes exceeded those of tallying. The RDDA suggested that this pattern is driven by greater requirements for working memory updates, memory retrievals, and the coordination of mental actions when using take-the-best compared to tallying. The results illustrate that assessing the relative simplicity of strategies requires consideration of the overall cognitive system in which the strategies are embedded.

Fechner, H. B., Schooler, L. J., & Pachur, T. (2018). Cognitive costs of decision-making strategies: A resource demand decomposition with a cognitive architecture. Cognition, 170, 102-122. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2017.09.003

Looking for a Different Medicine. Psychosomatic Medicine in the 20th Century.

Titel:

Looking for a Different Medicine. Psychosomatic Medicine in the 20th Century.

© stw
Center: 
History of Emotions
Abstract: 

What makes mind and body strong? Headlines like this are everywhere. Backache, breathlessness, skin rashes – we ascribe many physical complaints to emotional upheaval, too little mindfulness or long-term stress. But where do these concepts of psychosomatic medicine come from? This book provides the first overview of the history of psychosomatic medicine in Germany. Incisive chapters offer a panorama of the varieties of psychosomatics in the 20th century, while also portraying it as a form of medicine which saw itself as the more humane alternative to modern hi-tech, and therefore supposedly soulless, medicine.

Alexa Geisthövel/Bettina Hitzer (Hg.) Looking for a Different Medicine. Psychosomatic Medicine in the 20th Century., stw 2019.

Expansion and renormalization of human brain structure during skill acquisition

Titel:

Expansion and renormalization of human brain structure during skill acquisition

Cover Trends in Cognitive Science
© Elsevier
Center: 
Lifespan Psychology
Abstract: 

Research on human brain changes during skill acquisition has revealed brain volume expansion in task-relevant areas. However, the large number of skills that humans acquire during ontogeny militates against plasticity as a perpetual process of volume growth. Building on animal models and available theories, we promote the expansion–renormalization model for plastic changes in humans.

The model predicts an initial increase of gray matter structure, potentially reflecting growth of neural resources like neurons, synapses, and glial cells, which is followed by a selection process operating on this new tissue leading to a complete or partial return to baseline of the overall volume after selection has ended. The model sheds new light on available evidence and current debates and fosters the search for mechanistic explanations.

Wenger, E., Brozzoli, C., Lindenberger, U., & Lövdén, M. (2017). Expansion and renormalization of human brain structure during skill acquisition. Trends in Cognitive Sciences, 21,930–939. doi:10.1016/j.tics.2017.09.008

See also press release: The Brain Auditions Different Cells