Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

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The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics aims to understand the biological information processes in the brains of humans and animals. About 200 international scientists in three departments and several research groups work towards understanding these processes, making use of a broad variety of experimental and theoretical techniques, including electrophysiological recordings, imaging methods, virtual reality and cybernetic modeling. The Institute is one of three Max Planck Institutes in Tuebingen and one of over 80 research facilities of the Max Planck Society.

The focus of the High-Field Magnetic Resonance Department includes magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at very high-strength magnetic fields, and the developmentof new contrast media that can make brain activity visible. The most detailed brain scans currently available can be produced using the Institute’s own 9.4 Tesla human magnetic resonance tomograph as well as the 14.1 Tesla animal magnetic resonance tomograph (both scanners are among the world’s strongest MRT systems). The group investigates the development of signals in tissue and organs and works on optimising hardware and software to interpret data at very high magnetic fields.

The work of the Department of Physiology of Cognitive Processes focuses on researching neuronal networks. The unique combination of electrophysiology measurements and magnetic resonance imaging allows to take a look at the activity of the whole brain and at the activity of single neurons at the same time. The department analyses neural network processes, such as learning and memory. Furthermore the scientists are researching the neural principles of recognition and decision making.

The Department of Human Perception, Cognition and Action concentrates on understanding information processing in the brain – such as object and face recognition, social interaction and spatial cognition – with the help of perceptual experiments. The department is also working on how to transfer knowledge gained from human perception to designing and improving intelligent robots and human-machine interfaces. These questions are investigated using psychophysical experiments and methods taken from systems and control theory, computer vision, virtual reality (VR) as well as with the help of motion simulators, which are unique worldwide.

Updated 16/09/2021 3:54pm

At a Glance

  • The Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics is one of over 80 research facilities of the Max Planck Society.
  • Understanding cognitive processes in the brain is the aim of the fundamental research conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, founded in 1968.
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