Science of Intelligence

NEWS: Martin Rolfs – A new chapter in scientific excellence as appointed review board member of the DFG

We are thrilled to announce that Science of Intelligence (SCIoI) PI Martin Rolfs was elected member of the DFG’s Fachkollegium (review board) for General, Cognitive, and Mathematical Psychology. The DFG, through its review boards, ensures that research funding is allocated efficiently and fairly, adhering to high scientific standards. This system underpins the DFG’s role in fostering a vibrant and diverse research landscape in Germany. The reviewer’s role, conferred on leading academics, underscores Martin’s expertise and his role in shaping the future of psychological research.

The DFG review boards

The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Germany’s main research funding organization, supports a wide array of scientific disciplines. A crucial aspect of the DFG’s operation is the role of its Fachkollegien, or review boards. These boards ensure that funding decisions are made based on scientific standards, driven by curiosity and innovation. Within the DFG, review board members have an essential role in maintaining the integrity and quality of the funding process.

These boards operate in a three-tiered system involving review, assessment, and decision-making. They play a critical role in evaluating funding applications, ensuring that each is assessed uniformly across various DFG programs. This process involves comparing all applications within the given financial framework to identify the worthiest projects. Members of the review boards are assigned according to their scientific expertise, with related fields grouped together to facilitate meaningful assessment and comparison.

Martin Rolfs at SCIoI: innovator in experimental psychology

Martin Rolfs, Full Professor for Experimental Psychology: Active Perception and Cognition at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and founding PI at SCIoI, stands at the forefront of advancing our understanding of the relationship between visual perception, cognition, and the movements of our bodies. His work, a blend of innovative research and interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly shines at SCIoI, where he adds yet another unique perspective to the study of intelligent systems.

Martin is a representative of the analytic discipline of psychology at SCIoI, where he contributes to the understanding of how perceptual and cognitive processes influence and are influenced by motor behavior. His involvement in SCIoI projects encompasses a broad spectrum of research activities, from eye tracking and psychophysics to computational modeling and EEG studies. These efforts are aimed at understanding the complex mechanisms of sensation and perception in observers actively exploring their environment.

One of his contributions at the Cluster is his work on visual direction constancy, or spatiotopy. Collaborating with renowned experts across the world, he explores how the brain maintains a continuous perception of the visual world despite the incessant movements of our eyes, heads, and bodies. His research investigates the intersection of attentional resources, fundamental sensory processes, and their coupling to actions that actively sample the environment.

Visual cognition, practical implications and the intersection of human and artificial systems

Martin’s research is not confined to the theoretical realms. It has practical implications in areas like attentional learning and works on understanding how people efficiently distribute spatial attention.

Extending his research to visual cognition, he investigates the higher-level functions of visual processing, such as memory and inference (the process of drawing a conclusion based on what is already known). His practical studies on visual adaptation of causality perception shed light on how the human brain adapts to cause-and-effect relationships in our environment.

At SCIoI, Martin engages in projects that reflect a blend of psychological principles and technological advancements. These projects often explore the intersection of human cognition with machine intelligence, aiming to enhance AI systems’ ability to interact with their environment in more nuanced and human-like ways.

Martin’s involvement at SCIoI highlights the importance of interdisciplinary approaches in modern scientific research, particularly in the realms of AI and robotics. His role demonstrates how expertise in traditional fields like psychology can offer valuable insights into the development of advanced technological systems. As a reviewer on the DFG review board, he will contribute with his expertise, pushing the envelope of interdisciplinary psychology research.