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Current Research Results

Expansion and renormalization of human brain structure during skill acquisition

Lifespan Psychology

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

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.

Cover Trends in Cognitive Science

Die Politik der Demütigung

History of Emotions

Frevert, U. (2017). Die Politik der Demütigung: Schauplätze von Macht und Ohnmacht. Frankfurt: S. Fischer. ISBN: 978-3-10-397222-1

Humiliation practices are common, for example, in parenting and education, on the internet, in penal law, and in politics. Thus, after 1944, many French women accused of liaising with Germans were degraded by having their hair shorn in public.
Die Politik der Demütigung investigates humiliation as an instrument of power in public settings over the past 250 years, demonstrating that modernity never relinquished the pillory but simply reinvented it. It is no longer the state that shames and humiliates but society.

Cover Die Politik der Demütigung

Zornpolitik

History of Emotions

Jensen, U. (2017). Zornpolitik. Suhrkamp Verlag (edition suhrkamp 2720). ISBN: 978-3-518-12720-9

Many worry about the recent rise of right-wing populism and extremism in Germany. Many worry about the recent rise of right-wing populism and extremism in Germany. Racism against foreigners and refugees has reached new levels. Emotions like fear, hatred or anger obviously play a major role in this development. Uffa Jensen explores the role of such emotions in prejudices by discussing the modern history of anti-Semitism, islamophobia, and racism.

Cover Zornpolitik

Subsistence styles shape human social learning strategies

Adaptive Rationality

Glowacki, L., & Molleman, L. (2017). Subsistence styles shape human social learning strategies. Nature Human Behavour, 1:0098. doi:10.1038/s41562-017-0098

Social learning is a fundamental element of human cognition. Learning from others facilitates the transmission of information that helps individuals and groups rapidly adjust to new environments and underlies adaptive cultural evolution. While basic human propensities for social learning are traditionally assumed to be species-universal recent empirical studies show that they vary between individuals and populations. Yet the causes of this variation remain poorly understood. Here we show that interdependence in everyday social and economic activities can strongly amplify social learning.

Cover nature human behaviour

Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions

MPRG "Reading Education and Development (REaD)"

Hasenäcker, J., Beyersmann, E., & Schroeder, S. (2016). Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence from response time distributions. Frontiers in Psychology, 7: 929.
doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00929

In this study, we looked at masked morphological priming effects in German children and adults beyond mean response times by taking into account response time distributions. We conducted an experiment comparing suffixed word primes (kleidchen-KLEID), suffixed nonword primes (kleidtum-KLEID), nonsuffixed nonword primes (kleidekt-KLEID) ...

Masked morphological priming in German-speaking adults and children: Evidence fr

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