Wissen und Können


Prof. Dr. Andreas Bartels, Universität Bonn, Institut für Philosophie

Prof. Dr. Dr. Kai Vogeley, Klinikum der Universität zu Köln, Klinik und Poliklinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie

One of the central assumptions of the project is that different cognitive capacities can be characterized and understood in terms of the underlying representational formats. Centrally, one of our aims consisted in delineating representational formats that underlie different forms of knowing-how and knowing-that.

Up to now it could be shown that forms of knowing-how and knowing-that can be distinguished on the basis of sensorimotor, iconic and propositional representations as well as with the aid of first-person-perspective and third-person-perspective. Furthermore, it became clear that the presence of conflicting representational formats can lead to performance errors in the execution of cognitive capacities. And it could also be shown that the distinction between different representational formats can be used to explain particular spatial orientation skills and social capacities. In the neuroscientific sub-project the respective neural correlates were investigated.

Current research, on the one hand, concentrates on an expansion of the existing theory to include an account of the use of representations in cognitive mechanisms as well as on the formulation of a concept of representation that can be used in the neurosciences. In the context of cognitive mechanisms possible conflicts between representational formats in the execution of spatial orientation capacities are also explored. On the other hand, the theory of representational formats is applied to further domains of cognitive capacities.

In particular it is investigated (i) how capacities of object recognition can be analyzed in terms of non-conceptual and propositional processes, (ii) how non-conceptual (i.e. sensorimotor and iconic) and propositional capacities can be drawn upon in order to explain social-cognitive performance (and malperformance), and (iii) how different representational formats can interfere in spatial cognitive tasks.
The results could, for instance, be applied to problems in the theory of learning. Here, it could be investigated whether conflicts between different representational formats arise under certain acquisition conditions and application conditions. In this way, favorable learning and application situations can be created, and negative conditions can specifically be avoided.