Meet the Principal Investigators


Rasha Abdel Rahman

HU Berlin, Psychology

Rasha Abdel Rahman is a psychologist. She investigates basic cognitive processes, with a special interest in the multi-faceted aspects of semantic processing and learning. She focuses on semantic influences on visual perception of faces and objects, language production and comprehension. Integrating these fields, she is conducting studies on the interface between visual perception, semantics, emotion, and language during social communication. She employs behavioral and electrophysiological methods.


Sabine Ammon

TU Berlin, Philosophy

Sabine Ammon is a philosopher with a focus on philosophy of engineering science and design research. She has experience in the dynamics of knowledge in the design sciences with a special interest in the epistemic interrelation of artefacts (such as images, models, prototypes), simulation, concepts, and theories in processes of science building.


Oliver Brock
Designated Speaker

TU Berlin, Robotics

Oliver Brock represents the synthetic discipline robotics. He has extensive experience in building real-world robotic systems, contributing also to related disciplines, including perception and machine learning. Within the fields of robotics, he is a leader in leveraging collaborations with analytical disciplines, in particular psychology and behavioral biology, to work towards an understanding of embodied intelligence.


Verena Hafner

HU Berlin, Adaptive Systems

Verena Hafner represents the synthetic discipline of robotics. She focuses on sensorimotor interaction and development. She has investigated open-ended development and social interaction in artificial agents that attracted high interest in the cognitive and developmental robotics community and she has substantial experience in interdisciplinary cooperation.


John-Dylan Haynes

HU Berlin, Psychology

John-Dylan Haynes is an expert in several fields of cognitive neuroscience that are relevant for SCIoI. He has worked on executive processes, such as the neural mechanisms of intentions and volitional control, on conscious and unconscious information processing and on information flow between brains during communication. He has also investigated neurotechnological applications, especially whether it is possible to decode a person’s thoughts from patterns of their brain activity.


Olaf Hellwich

TU Berlin, Computer Vision

Olaf Hellwich contributes to the autonomous acquisition of prior knowledge from visual experience and the application of the priors learned from that experience. He posseses expertise in feature extraction, learning of object models from features, 3D object reconstruction, and most recently deep learning.


Ralph Hertwig

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Lifespan Psychology

Ralph Hertwig studies human cognitive abilities, bringing together concepts and methods from psychology, neuroscience, economics, philosophy, biology, and mathematics. He investigates how biological cognitive strategies (heuristics) arise, perform, and vary under natural resource constraints. His work spans individual and group cognition.


Jens Krause

HU Berlin, Biology

Jens Krause’s research will be part of the behavioral biology component of SCIoI. He and his group have developed an interactive robotic fish which is recognised by live fish as a conspecific. This robot is used to investigate basic principles of collective behavior and collective cognition. In particular they are interested in the way in which group-living organisms process information to deal with environmental challenges and how they come to collective decisions that are adaptive. Their interactive robot can embody the algorithms that they identified in biological agents and thereby allows them to test their validity. In order to give their robots realistic behaviour (as fish) they address the issues of dimensionality reduction and cursive interaction which are central to SCIoI.


Miriam Kyselo

TU Berlin, Philosophy of Embodiment

Miriam Kyselo is a philosopher and cognitive scientist. Her expertise lies in enactive, extended, and embodied cognition. She develops a cross-disciplinary model of the self and addresses the question how bodily and social processes relate to individual agency. In her work, she combines analytic philosophy, phenomenology, psychology, neuroscience, and robotics.


Rebecca Lazarides

U Potsdam, Educational Science

Rebecca Lazarides is an educational researcher with interests in learning and instruction, motivational and cognitive learning processes in adolescence, gendered socialization processes and motivational development in education. Her research connects the fields of educational psychology, educational science, motivational and cognitive psychology. Within SCIoI, she will investigate the role of instruction and feedback for cognitive learning processes, intrinsic motivation, and attention.


Lars Lewejohann

FU Berlin, Behavioral Biology

Lars Lewejohann is a behavioral biologist with a broad experience in analyzing behavioral systems, including exploration, learning and memory, emotions, and social behavior. In his research, he already routinely employs methods from the synthetic disciplines.


Marianne Maertens

TU Berlin, Psychology

Marianne Maertens’ research bridges the areas of computer science and psychology. Her key competencies are in experimental research methods and the study of human vision. To SCIoI, she will provide the empirical expertise to study perception, learning and (inter)action at the system level.


Klaus Obermayer

TU Berlin, Neural Information Processing

Klaus Obermayer will contribute in machine learning and computational neuroscience by studying reward-based learning, reinforcement learning, and decision making both in artificial systems and in human subjects, the latter in collaboration with the experimental partners of the planned cluster. He will also examine the emergence of sensory representations and how they interact with decisions in the perceptual domain.


Thorsten Pachur

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Psychology

Thorsten Pachur is a psychologist. He studies the cognitive foundations of decision making. In particular, he is interested in understanding how the human mind, given informational and computational constraints, can master an uncertain world.


Michael Pauen

HU Berlin, Philosophy of Mind

Michael Pauen is a philosopher with a focus on the philosophy of mind. As the academic director of an interdisciplinary graduate school, he has extensive experience in interdisciplinary research and training. Having a specific interest in philosophical and psychological aspects of human sociality, he will focus on social intelligence both in humans and in artificial systems.


Jörg Raisch

TU Berlin, Control

Jörg Raisch represents the discipline control. His research interests include both methodological and applied aspects of control. In the context of SCIoI, his work on abstraction-based synthesis of discrete event and hybrid control systems, on consistent control hierarchies, and on consensus-based control of multiagent systems will be particularly relevant.


Martin Rolfs

HU Berlin, Active Vision and Cognition

Martin Rolfs represents the analytic discipline psychology. His research builds on the premise that any deep understanding of sensation and perception requires studying its key processes in observers that actively explore their environment. He investigates selective processes in active vision. His research combines eye tracking, motion tracking, psychophysics, computational modeling, EEG, and studies of clinical populations.


Pawel Romanczuk

HU Berlin, Behavior Modeling

Pawel Romanczuk works at the interface of applied mathematics, theoretical physics, and behavioral biology. He focuses on collective behavior of organismic systems. His research bridges analytical and synthetic sciences to study self-organization, evolutionary adaptations, and functional dynamical behavior.


Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer

TU Berlin, Sociology

Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer represents the discipline of sociology of technology and innovation. He has experience in research on the social shaping of technology with a special interest in the shaping of technological innovations by socio-technical scenarios and their prototypical realizations.


Henning Sprekeler

TU Berlin, Modeling of Cognitive Processes

Henning Sprekeler represents the analytical discipline computational neuroscience. He has extensive expertise in computational modelling of synaptic plasticity and its consequences for behavioural learning and the formation of memories. He has also worked on the self-organised development of high-level sensory representations, an essential prerequisite for intelligent behaviour.


Christa Thöne-Reineke

FU Berlin, Behavioral Biology

Christa Thöne-Reineke represents the analytical discipline of behavioral biology. She has extensive experience in laboratory animal science and animal models, especially in animal behavior as read out for severity assessment and animal welfare. She will study the costs and benefits of cognition and the influence of emotion and well-being on animal behavior.

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