PhD Symposium

Organizers: Local Organizing Team: Dong-Seon Chang (MPI Tübingen), Zhen Peng (MPI Tübingen)

Advisor Team: Martin Butz (University of Tübingen), Stefan Kopp (Bielefeld University), Marco Ragni (University of Freiburg), and Kai Vogeley (University Hospital Cologne)

The Final Program with further information can be found here.


The PhD-Symposium will offer unique opportunities to discuss the results and impacts of your research together with other PhD students and some of the senior scientists attending the KogWis 2014. It starts the day before the official opening of the KogWis 2014, and it will be a good opportunity to meet the other students & researchers beforehand and already discuss your research. Especially, in the final discussion round at the PhD-Symposium the attending senior researchers offered to give their personal advices and insights regarding anything related to your PhD (e.g. career paths, tips for publications, grants etc.).

If you are interested, submit an abstract for the PhD-Symposium of the KogWis2014

Location: Seminar Room, Max-Planck-Haus, Campus MPI Tübingen

Time: 10 am – 9 pm, Sunday, 28th September 2014

Abstract Submission Deadline (extended): 23rd of August, 2014, please send the abstract for the PhD-Symposium to congruentmindspam

Submissions of abstracts for the talks should not exceed more than 2000 characters without space & references.

Please include keywords of your research topic, so we can sort related topics together for the talks.

Notification of Acceptance will be sent out by 31st of August, 2014. (reduced, early-bird conference rate will be available given acceptance).

If you have any questions, send an Email to: dong-seon.changspam zhen.pengspam

Invited Symposia:

1. Processing Language in Context: Insights from Empirical Approaches

Organizers: Christian Brauner , Bettina Rolke and Gerhard Jäger (University of Tübingen)

Discourse understanding does not only mean integrating semantic knowledge along syntactic rules. It rather needs a Theory of Mind, entails the inclusion of context information, and presupposes that pragmatic principles were met. Moreover, data from brain imaging studies suggest that language is embodied within the motor and sensory processing systems of the brain. Thus, it seems clear that the faculty of language does not constitute a single, encapsulated processing module. Instead it requires the interoperation of several different processing modules serving to aid an unambiguous discourse understanding.

Important processing prerequisites for successful discourse understanding are the ability to make references to previously established knowledge and to integrate new information into a given context. There are several linguistic tools which help to signal the requirement for suitable referents in a given discourse and which provide additional meaning aspects. One example are presuppositions. These carry context assumptions aside from the literal meaning of the words. For example, the sentence “The cat ran away” asserts that some cat ran away, whereas it presupposes that there exists a cat and that the cat that is mentioned is unique in the discourse. This symposium will have its main focus on the cognitive processing of such semantic and pragmatic phenomena.

The interconnection of the faculty of language with different cognitive processing modules confronts us with questions that seem to escape a uniform analysis by one single academic discipline. Hence, research into cognitive language processing and pragmatics in particular are a fruitful interdisciplinary interface between linguistics and cognitive psychology. While linguists have mainly focused on theoretical aspects of pragmatics, cognitive psychologists aimed to identify involved cognitive processing functions. The symposium will provide an interdisciplinary platform for linguists and cognitive psychologists to discuss questions pertaining the cognitive processing of language.


• Petra Schumacher

• Petra Augurzky, Oliver Bott, Wolfgang Sternefeld & Rolf Ulrich

• Jacopo Romoli

• Peter Hagoort

Pritty Patel-Grosz & Patrick G. Grosz

• Christian Brauner & Bettina Rolke

2. Manual action

Organizer: Dirk Koester (Bielefeld University)

The hand is one of our most important tools for interacting with the physical and the social environment. Recent evidence points towards a tight functional interaction of grasp planning and execution with other cognitive domains such as working memory or attention (Spiegel et al., 2013, JEP:HPP; Logan & Fischman, 2011, Acta Psychologica). Furthermore, technical advances permit also the deeper investigation of the neural bases of (manual) action control. In this symposium we will bring together latest research that explores the manifold functions of the human hand and purposes of manual actions such as exploring and manipulating objects, interacting and communicating with other people, support for thinking or changes of manual skills over the life time. Different models of action control (planning + execution) will be presented and empirical evidence using various methodologies from (neuro) cognitive psychology will be discussed. The symposium will shed light on new concepts of and approaches to understanding the control of manual actions and their functions in a social and interactive world.


• Claudia Voelcker-Rehage

• Matthias Weigelt

• Oliver Herbort

• Henning Holle

• Leon Kroczek

• Sasha Ondobaka

3. How language and number representation contribute to numerical cognition

Organizer: Hans-Christoph Nürk (University of Tübingen)

Mathematical or numerical cognition has often been studied with little consideration of language and linguistic processes. The most basic representation, the number magnitude representation has been viewed as amodal and non-verbal. Only in the last years, the influence of linguistic processes has received again more interest in cognitive research. Now we have evidence that even the most basic tasks like magnitude comparison and parity judgement, and even the most basic representations, such as spatial representation of number magnitude, are influenced by language and linguistic processes.

The symposium brings together international researchers from different fields (Linguistics, Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience) with at least three different foci within the general symposium topic: (i) How does spatial representation of number influence by reading and writing direction? (ii) How do number word structures of different languages influence mathematical and numerical performance? (iii) How are linguistic abilities of children and linguistic complexity of mathematical tasks related to mathematical performance?


• Hans-Christoph Nuerk

• Martin H. Fischer & Samuel Shaki

• Joseph Tzelgov & Bar Zohar-Shai

• Mojtaba Soltanlou, Stefan Huber

• Christine Schiltz, Amandine Van Rinsveld, Sonja Ugen

• Ann Dowker, Delyth Lloyd, & Manon Roberts

• Julia Bahnmueller, Silke Goebel, Korbinian Moeller, & Hans-Christoph Nuerk

• Denes Szucs

• Gabriella Daroczy, Magdalena Wolska, Hans-Christoph Nuerk, Detmar Meurers

4. Eye tracking, linking hypotheses and measures in language processing

Organizers: Pia Knoeferle and Michele Burigo (Bielefeld University)

The present symposium focuses on a core topic of eye tracking in language processing, viz. linking hypotheses (the attributive relationship between eye movements and cognitive processes). One central topic will be eye-tracking measures and their associated linking hypotheses in both language comprehension and production. The symposium will discuss both new and established gaze measures and their linking assumptions, as well as ambiguity in our linking assumptions and how we could begin to address this issue.


• Andriy Myachykov,

• Paul Engelhardt

• Vera Demberg

• Michele Burigo

• Pia Knoeferle

5. Cognition of human actions: from individual actions to interactions

Organizer: Stephan de la Rosa (MPI, Tübingen)

Previous research has focused on the perceptual cognitive processes involved in the execution and observation of individual actions such as a person walking. Only more recently research started to investigate the perceptual-cognitive processes involved in the interaction of two or more people. This symposium provides an interdisciplinary view regarding the relationship between individual actions and interactions. It will provide new insights from several research fields including decision making, neuroscience, philosophy of neuroscience, computational neuroscience, and psychology. The aim of the symposium is give a state of the art overview about commonalities and differences of the perceptual cognitive processes underlying individual actions and social interactions.


• Kai Vogeley

• Hong Yu Wong

• Martin Giese

• Daniel Braun

• Stephan de la Rosa

6. Cortical Systems of Object Grasping and Manipulation

Organizer: Marc Himmelbach (University of Tübingen)

Reaching for objects, grasping them, and finally using or manipulating these objects are typical human capabilities. Although several non-human species are able to do these things, the anatomical adaptation of our hands for an extraordinarily precise and flexible use of our hands in the interaction with an infinite number of different target objects makes humans unique among the vertebrate species. The unique anatomy of our hands is matched by a cortical sensorimotor control system connecting multiple areas in the frontal and parietal lobes of the human cortex, which underwent a considerable enlargement across the primate species. Although our hands by themselves, their flexible and precise use, and the capacities of our cortical hand motor systems already distinguish us from all other species, the use of objects as tools to act on further objects and thereby mediate and transform our actions, makes us truely human. Although various non-human species use tools in some situations, the versatility of human tool use is totally unrivalled. Neuropsychological and neuroimaging research showed that dedicated cortical tool use systems overlap partially with the arm/hand sensorimotor systems but include additional frontal, parietal, and temporal cortical structures. While most of the structures that seem to be relevant for tool use beyond the arm-hand sensorimotor system have been identified, we are still missing a satisfactory description of their individual functional contributions. Across the whole range from simple grasping to the use of objects as tools on other objects, investigations of interdependencies and interactions between these cortical system components are still at the beginning. The speakers of this symposium together cover the range from simple grasping to tool use and will present their current behavioural, neuropsychologial, and neuroimaging findings that further specify the functional description of the human object grasping and manipulation systems.


• Joachim Hermsdörfer

• Marc Himmelbach

• Peter Weiss-Blankenhorn

• Thomas Schenk

• Angelika Lingnau

• Constanze Hesse

7. Modelling of cognitive aspects of mobile interaction

Organizers: Nele Rußwinkel, Sabine Prezenski und Stefan Lindner (TU Berlin)

Interacting with mobile devices is gaining more and more importance in our daily life. Therefore more cognitive appropriate interfaces are needed to satisfy the needs of this special kind of interaction. But what kind of cognitive processes play a role in interacting with these interfaces? Different from “stable” interfaces, mobile interfaces are more prone to disruptions, are more influenced by time pressure and by specific expectations possibly gained in earlier interaction experiences. Another interesting scenario is the upgrade of an application. How quickly can a user adapt to the new task?

This mobile interaction scenario offers an interesting research area to test model approaches in real life applications but also cognitive processes that are relevant in those tasks.

In this symposium we would like to look upon those different cognitive aspects of mobile interaction and the role of modelling to improve cognitive appropriate applications.


Stefan Lindner
Maria Wirzberger
Marc Halbrügge
Sabine Prezenski
Nele Rußwinkel
Matthias Schulz

8. Predictive processing: philosophical and neuroscientific perspectives

Organizer: Alex Morgan (University of Tübingen)

The idea that the brain makes fallible inferences and predictions in order to get by in a world of uncertainty is of considerable vintage, but it is now beginning to achieve maturity due to the development of a range of rigorous theoretical tools rooted in Bayesian statistics that are increasingly being used to explain various aspects of the brain's structure and function. The emerging 'Bayesian brain' approach in neuroscience introduces novel ways of conceptualizing perception, cognition, and action. It also arguably involves novel forms of neuroscientific explanation, such as an emphasis on statistical optimality. The science is moving rapidly, but philosophers are attempting to keep up, in order to understand how these recent developments might shed light on their traditional concerns about the nature of mind and agency, as well as concerns about the norms of psychological explanation. The purpose of this symposium is to bring together leading neuroscientists and philosophers to discuss how the Bayesian brain approach might reshape our understanding of the mind-brain, as well as our understanding of mind-brain science.


• Karl Friston

• Axel Lindner

• Matteo Colombo

• Lars Muckli

• Frances Egan & Robert Matthews

9. Driver Cognition

Organizer: Martin Baumann (Ulm University)

From a psychological point of view driving is a highly complex task despite the fact that millions of people perform this task in a safe and efficient way each day. It involves many mental processes and structures, such as perception, attention, memory, knowledge, manual control, decision making and action selection. These processes and structures need to work closely integrated to master the challenges of driving a vehicle in a highly dynamic task environment – our daily traffic. On the other hand despite all advances in traffic safety in recent years still about 31.000 people were killed in 2010 on European roads. A high percentage of these fatalities are due to human error, that is a brake down of the interplay between the aforementioned cognitive processes. Therefore, understanding the cognitive processes that underlie driver behaviour is not just a highly interesting academic endeavour to learn how the human mind masters highly dynamic tasks but is also vital for further improvement of traffic safety.


David Käthner & Diana Kuhl

Stefan Brandenburg & Manfred Thüring

Lars Weber

Bertram Wortelen

Robert Kaul & Martin Baumann

10. GK Symposium

Organizer: Stefan Kopp (Bielefeld University), Kai Vogeley (University Hospital Cologne) and Gerhard Strube (University of Freiburg)

Presidential Lecture