The Werner Reichardt Centre for Integrative Neuroscience (CIN) is the University’s cross-faculty centre for systems and cognitive neuroscience. It consists of 28 research groups, belonging to the faculties of life sciences, medicine, and humanities, with associations to the Max Planck Institutes, the Bernstein Centre for Computational Neuroscience, and the Hertie Institute for clinical neuroscience, among others. The CIN was originally founded as a Cluster of Excellence and funded by the German federal and state governments from 2009 until 2019, and now continuous to be the university’s prime cross-faculty centre for systems and cognitive neuroscience.
State-of-the-art research, latest techniques
The aim of the CIN is to understand how the brain – from the level of synapses up to the level of whole-brain circuits – produces intelligent, adaptive, and robust behaviour. Research combines state-of-the-art measures of behaviour, electrophysiology, and neuroimaging with the latest techniques in machine learning, artificial intelligence, and model-building. Research at the CIN is predominantly basic research, although it counts many application-focused institutions among its many different internal and external collaborating partners. Research is hence also relevant for the development of artificial intelligent systems as well as for gaining insights in clinical syndromes and for development of effective therapies.
Due to the shared interest of both the CIN and the humanities in uncovering the fundamental underpinnings of human behaviour, the CIN also seeks close interaction with the Humanities. The CIN hence organizes a number of well-received summer schools, workshops (e.g. “Games of the Brain” series) and conferences. It is well complemented by the annual CIN “Dialogues between the Neurosciences and the Arts and Humanities”, a discussion series on topics of broad interest.
Werner Reichardt (January 30th, 1924 – September 18th, 1992) was the founder of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, and one of its directors from 1968 until his retirement in 1992.
Two discoveries, each of them a major breakthrough in the analysis of vision marked his scientific career. The theoretical treatment of data on movement perception in beetles led to the discovery of underlying nervous interactions. The description of these interactions by the “correlation model” was the first step towards a general theory of movement detection and towards an analysis of movement-induced reactions. This analysis was applied to higher levels of information processing and was used to develop a phenomenological theory of the object-induced reactions that underlie how visually prominent figures are fixed and tracked. Based on object-induced reactions in the fly, evidence was found for the nervous interactions that allow a fly to discriminate between a figure and the ground through the evaluation within retinal images of spatial discontinuities of speed.
What appeared to be major discovery in the comparatively restricted field of insect neuroscience has now been established as a general principle of how visual information is processed not only in a variety of species, including humans, but also in technical implementations.
Further Information: An article on Werner Reichardt in Max Planck research is available for download here.