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Theory of embodied cognition

The goal of this group is to lay the foundations for a theory of embodied cognition through a number of exemplary studies. These are chosen so as to provide access to important basic properties of embodied cognitive systems, as well as to be open to experiment and modeling. The basic theoretical tools are attractor dynamics and dynamic field theory.

This group is working in close collaboration with experimentalists around the world. Graduate students will visit foreign laboratories. Funding is sought through the DFG as well as on an individual basis through stipends and collaborative grants.


A dynamic field evolving under the influence of two sources of input, used in various models as the basic tool to endow representations with dynamic properties.

Ongoing projects:

  1. Motor control: collaboration John Scholz (Univ. Delaware) and Mark Latash (Penn State); `Uncontrolled manifold' concept in control and timing; Integration of movement initiation/representation with control; Coordination modes;
  2. Movement representation: collaboration John Jeka (Maryland); Alexa Riehle (CNRS, Marseille); Online updating of motor representations; Decision making; Stimulus-response compatibility and updating; Psychological refractariness; Task switching; Motor memory trace;
  3. Cognition: collaboration John Spencer (Univ. Iowa), spatial memory and beyond; Basic cognitive paradigms in DFT framework: discrimination, categorization, match to sample, short-term working memory;
  4. Perception: collaboration with Howard Hock (FAU); Apparent motion, cooperativity, selective adapation, relative motion;
  5. Development: collaboration with Esther Thelen and Olaf Sporns (Indiana University); infant motor control, the development of action memory; habituation; imitation (postdoc Virgil Withmayer);


Gregor Schöner

Britta Grimme
Jonas Lins
Eva Nowak
Hendrik Reimann
Sebastian Schneegans