Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft

Institute of Cognitive Science

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Institute of Cognitive Science

Institute of Cognitive Science at Osnabrück University

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Information on teaching during the winter term 2020/2021

Teaching during the winter term 2020/2021 will be conducted in three different ways. Most classes will be realized as digital courses and do not require constant presence in Osnabrück. Some selected courses, where feasible, will be realized as either hybrid or contact classes. During hybrid classes a part of the audience will be physically present during a lecture or seminar, while another part of the audience follows via video-conference. It is usually not required, but it can be recommended, to be present at least sometimes for a hybrid class. There will also be a few contact classes where all participants are present in the class room. It may be useful, possibly even required, to attend some or all sessions of a contact class. To plan for the coming semester, please consult the course site of each class on StudIP for information about how this class will be realized. The respective lecturers are able to answer questions concerning specific courses.

Wild chimpanzees eat tortoises after cracking them open against tree trunks

An international team of researchers from the Osnabrück University and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig (Germany) have observed wild chimpanzees in the Loango National Park, Gabon, eating tortoises. They describe the first observations of this potentially cultural behavior where chimpanzees hit tortoises against tree trunks until the tortoises’ shells break open and then feed on the meat.

First evidence of ‘joint attention’ in a non-human animal species, the Arabian babbler

Humans’ cooperation and communication skills strongly rely on the ability to coordinate attention with conspecifics: a socio-cognitive capacity called joint attention. But what promoted the evolution of this – allegedly – uniquely human capacity? A recent study by Simone Pika from the University of Osnabrück, Institute of Cognitive Science (Comparative BioCognition) and Center for Early Childhood Development and Education Research, Yitzchak Ben Mocha, and Roger Mundry from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig in Germany, shed light on this question by studying communicative interactions in a cooperatively breeding bird species, Arabian babblers, living in the Shezaf Nature Reserve in Israel.

KI-Campus Osnabrück

Supporting and creating technological change in a humane way is the self-assigned goal of our university's so-called KI-Campus. And it shall be reached by researching and developing innovative software solutions along the interfaces between AI and human intelligence, while considering and assessing the related impact on our society.

We are part of the DFG-funded research unit RU 2253

The Institute of Cognitive Science participates in a DFG-funded multi-local research unit (RU 2253) with the aim to investigate the coordinated development of language and cognition.

In the RU research groups from the universities of Potsdam, Mainz, Leipzig, Hamburg, Göttingen, LMU Munich and Giessen will closely cooperate. Prof. Jutta L. Mueller from the research group Psycho- and Neurolinguistics will test how the acoustic and linguistic properties of sounds impact on the learning of complex rules in toddlers.

Congratulations Viviane!

At only 19 years of age, Viviane Kakerbeck was awarded the Niedersächsischer Wissenschaftspreis (Science Award of Lower Saxony) for her outstanding academic performance.

On Wednesday, the 21th Of November, this top award was presented to her by Björn Thümler, the Minister of Culture and Sciences of Lower Saxony, during an official ceremony in Hannover. Viviane is currently studying at the Osnabrück University for her Master of Science in Cognitive Science.

A warm welcome to our new colleague: Prof. Dr. Simone Pika

The Institute of Cognitive Science is happy to announce that the renowned behavioral biologist Dr. Simone Pika holds beginning with this year the professorship for Comparative BioCognition at this Institute. Prof. Dr. Simone Pika’s research focus is on the evolution and development of communication with a particular interest in gestures. She studies different model systems including human children, primates and corvids.

Infant cognition includes the potentially human-unique ability to encode embedding

5-month olds already detect complex embedded sound structures similar to those that are characteristic for human language. This finding has been recently published in Science Advances by a research team including scientists from the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Osnabrück and the MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Science in Leipzig. Prof. Jutta Mueller, professor for Psycho- and Neurolinguistics at the University of Osnabrück states: “We know that the ability to detect complex auditory sequences characterizes language processing in adults, a potentially human specific ability. Whether other animals can do the same is unclear. Our study shows that 5-month old humans seem to have this ability already.”

Designing Ergonomic Workstations with Embodied Engineering

The Institute of Cognitive Science, as part of a joint research project, will support the designing process of ergonomically optimized workstations by using virtual reality (VR). Under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Peter König, the scientists of the Institute in Osnabrück University plan to develop a novel eye-tracking technology to simulate complex motion sequences in virtual environments.

This project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research and will be carried out in close cooperation with Virtual Spice from SALT & PEPPER, a technology and consultancy company from Osnabrück, that has been performing ergonomic tests for working places for a long time already.

Intelligenz bei Menschen und Maschinen besser verstehen

Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft fördert Graduiertenkolleg „Computational Cognition“ mit 3,1 Mio. Euro

Das Graduiertenkolleg „Computational Cognition“ soll dazu beitragen, Intelligenz bei Menschen und Maschinen besser zu verstehen. Im Zentrum steht das Verständnis der Verbindungen von niedrigen und höheren Kognitionsebenen. „Exemplarisch werden solche Probleme bearbeitet, die für den Menschen einfach sind, aber für künstliche Systeme immer noch als schwierig gelten. Dazu gehören Analogien, die Einführung neuer Konzepte und pragmatisches Schlussfolgern“, erläutert der Sprecher des Graduiertenkollegs Prof. Dr. Gordon Pipa. Das Graduiertenkolleg führt die beiden Forschungsfelder Kognitionswissenschaft und Künstliche Intelligenz zusammen.

Greetings from CeBIT 2018

Our CogSci team got a lot of attention already and Lou became a star. We are right next to Cimon the Airbus/IBM robot that will be soon on the ISS supporting Alexander Gerst in outer space with his work.

Our team does great, but we start being pretty tired (Long nights with party time and long days (-; )

Thanks to IBM and IBM academic initiative for this opportunity to present our work in such a great environment .

Great media coverage as well:

Lässt sich die Entscheidung eines Computers moralisch rechtfertigen?

Kognitionswissenschaftler der Universität Osnabrück legen Studie zur normativen Ethik selbstfahrender Autos vor.
Soll der Bordcomputer eines autonomen Fahrzeugs seine Insassen zur Not in den Tod lenken? Noch optimieren Ingenieure die Zuverlässigkeit der Sensoren der fahrerlosen Autos. Doch schon bald könnten vergleichbare Fahrzeuge in brenzligen Situationen moralische Entscheidungen treffen müssen. Wissenschaftler des Instituts für Kognitionswissenschaft der Universität Osnabrück legen nun, ausgehend von menschlichen Entscheidungen, eine Studie zur normativen Ethik selbstfahrender Fahrzeuge vor.

„Virtual and Augmented Reality“

Development in the field of virtual and augmented reality is gradually taking up speed and could well advance to become the next top focus in cognitive science research for the coming years.

On 26 October the ICO InnovationsCentrum Osnabrück presented the "Treffpunkt Innovation 2017" with state-of-the-art information, discussions and demonstrations about VR & AR.

"Die Zukunft im Visier" summarizes this highly interesting event, with participation of the Neurobiopsychology lab:

Der Sprache auf der Spur! DFG fördert neues Forschungsprojekt im Osnabrücker Kindersprachlabor

Wie schaffen es Babys, Wortbedeutungen und geordnete Muster in der Sprache zu entdecken? Warum lernen wir sprachliche Regeln in der Kindheit so viel leichter als im Erwachsenenalter?

Um diese Fragen zu untersuchen, fördert die Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) ab 1. Oktober 2017 über drei Jahre ein Projekt am Institut für Kognitionswissenschaft der Universität Osnabrück.

DFG Research Training School on Situated Cognition

From 2017 to 2021, the IKW is home to a bi-local international Research Training Group ("Graduiertenkolleg") on Situated Cognition, in collaboration with colleagues at the Ruhr University Bochum (RUB).

Convinced that only a joint effort and the interplay between empirical research and philosophical reflection can provide us with an adequate account of the human mind, the more than 25 senior researchers and doctorate students of the Research Training Group connect philosophy of mind and cognition with many other subdisciplines of cognitive science.  They combine philosophical analysis with stated of the art experimental research in biological psychology, developmental psychology, linguistics, neurolinguistics, neurobiopsychology and psychiatry.

Student der Kognitionswissenschaft an der Uni Osnabrück erhält Wissenschaftspreis Niedersachsen 2017

Große Ehre für Alexander Höreth: Der Student der Kognitionswissenschaft an der Universität Osnabrück erhielt am Donnerstag, 30. November, einen von acht niedersächsischen Wissenschaftspreisen 2017 überreicht. Der Niedersächsische Minister für Wissenschaft und Kultur, Björn Thümler, gratulierte herzlich.

"Open Access-Preis" awarded for the first time!

The University of Osnabrück has launched an award to honour »extraordinary open access publishing engagement«.

The first one to receive this new award is Dr. Basil Wahn from the IKW's Neurobiopsychology lab. Congratulations!

"The Science of our Minds" – The official promotional video

The Institute of Cognitive Science in Osnabrück proudly presents "The Science of our Minds" – The new official promotional video.

  • How does our brain work?
  • What is the relationship between mind and brain?
  • Is it possible to create artificial intelligence?

These are questions, the scientists at the Institute of Cognitive Science in Osnabrück deal with.

What is Cognitive Science?

Many Universities nowadays offer courses or study programs in the field of "Cognitive Science". But when asked to summarize what this field actually is, even senior students struggle to answer.

This movie, created by Cognitive Science students from Osnabrück, Germany, tries to give an insight into the different disciplines that make up their subject of study.