Das Gehirn als Beziehungsorgan

Team:

Prof. Dr. Thomas Fuchs, Universitätsklinikum Heidelberg, Klinik für Allgemeine Psychiatrie

Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen, Humboldt-Universität Berlin, Berlin, School of Mind and Brain, Institut für Philosophie

Prof. Dr. Sabina Pauen, Universität Heidelberg, Psychologisches Institut

Dr. Corinna Reck, Universität Heidelberg, Klinik für Allgemeine Psychiatrie, Zentrum für Psychosoziale Medizin

Prof. Dr. Beate Sodian, Universität München, Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungspsychologie

The project (2008 – 2011) will contribute to the investigation of how biology and culture interact in the course of human ontogeny. It is based on the assumption that the brain is best seen as an organ of interconnections that both mediates social interactions and is at the same time shaped by them. Its main function is to mediate and transform the manifold interactions between the organism and its environment. In the course of ontogenetic development, its plasticity enables the brain to develop experientially triggered capacities that serve as "keys" to specific environmental situations. It thus becomes an organ that conveys and mediates specific human abilities – an organ of interconnections.

The participating researchers have their background in different disciplines such as philoso¬phy, psychiatry, developmental and biological psychology. Project 1 focuses on the different perspectives that are necessary to investigate the relationship between brain and sociality. Considering the development of self-consciousness it becomes evident that a
2nd-person perspective is indispensable. Project 2 will compare different theories of social cognition as well as different kinds of social interaction and account for interactive, embodied theories of social cognition. It will furthermore focus on an ethnographic example to discuss the different theories in the light of anthropological data. The empirical projects will investigate interactional competencies and attachment styles in mother-child-dyads with a special focus on mothers with postpartum depression (Project 3), the origins of object and social cognition in the first year of life and the role of social interaction for object-learning (Project 4) and disorders of social cognition in autism by using psychological measures, eye-tracking and EEG and fMRI (Project 5).