Werner Reichardt Centrum für Integrative Neurowissenschaften (CIN)

Animal Physiology

Our overall goal is to understand how higher brain centers enable intelligent, goal-directed behaviors. To that aim, we explore the functioning of highly intelligent mammalian and avian brains that evolved independently through convergent evolution.

The layered neocortex of the endbrain, particularly of the frontal and parietal lobes, constitutes the highest integration center of the primate brain. We therefore focus on the posterior parietal and prefrontal association cortices. 

In corvid songbirds, we explore the nidopallium caudolaterale of the crow's endbrain, a key cognitive brain component and the suggested functional analogue of the primate prefrontal cortex.

Selected Publications

  • Ditz HM, Nieder A (2020, in press) Format-dependent and format-independent representation of sequential and simultaneous numerosity in the crow endbrain. Nature Communications.
  • Stalter M, Westendorff S, Nieder A (2020) Dopamine gates visual signals in monkey prefrontal cortex neurons. Cell Reports 30: 164-172.
  • Nasr K, Viswanathan P, Nieder A (2019) Number detectors spontaneously emerge in a deep neural network designed for visual object recognition. Science Advances 5: eaav7903.
  • Brecht KF, Hage SR, Gavrilov N, Nieder A (2019) Volitional control of vocalizations in corvid songbirds. PLoS Biology 17: e3000375.
  • Kutter EF, Bostroem J, Elger CE, Mormann F, Nieder A (2018) Single neurons in the human endbrain encode numbers. Neuron 100: 753-761.
  • Jacob SN, Hähnke D, Nieder A (2018) Structuring of abstract working memory content by fronto-parietal synchrony in primate cortex. Neuron 99: 588-597.
  • Ott T, Jacob SN, Nieder A (2014) Dopamine receptors differentially enhance rule coding in primate prefrontal cortex neurons. Neuron 84: 1317-28.
  • Veit L, Nieder A (2013) Abstract rule neurons in the endbrain support intelligent behaviour in corvid songbirds. Nature Communications 4: 2878.
  • Nieder A., Diester I., Tudusciuc O. (2006) Temporal and spatial enumeration processes in the primate parietal cortex. Science 313: 1431-5.
  • Nieder A, Freedman DJ, Miller EK (2002) Representation of the quantity of visual items in the primate prefrontal cortex. Science 297: 1708-1711.