The quality and international visibility of the basic and applied research by NCP teachers is reflected in numerous DFG projects, collaborations with top laboratories inside and outside Germany, and publications in influential international journals in the field of mind & brain. The core staff of NCP (Prof. Müller and his group) has made very substantial contributions to successful applications, e.g. within the framework of the German federal government’s ‘Excellence initiative’, namely: the Graduate School of Systemic Neuroscience (GSN-LMU), of which the NCP program is an official part, and the Excellence Cluster ‘Cognition for Technical Systems’ (CoTeSys). In addition, the NCP study program is closely linked to the interdisciplinary ‘Munich Center for Neuroscience: Brain and Mind’ (MCN), which is funded by ‘LMUinnovativ’ initiative and provides an interdisciplinary umbrella for the integration of the mind & brain sciences in Munich; three new chairs of importance to the NCP program will be associated with the MCN: neuro-computing (linked to Neurobiology), functional neuro-imaging of cognition (Psychology and Neurology), and neurophilosophy (Philosophy).
Moreover, Prof. Müller has been awarded one of only ten Research Professorships funded by ‘LMUexcellent’. He is also contributing to a number of national and international research initiatives. Examples: He is the spokesperson of the newly established DFG research group „Active Perception“ (11 projects) installed at the Department of Psychology and member of the research training group („Perception in Context and its Neural Bases“) at the Department of Neurobiology. There is also a significant contribution to the international training network „INDIREA“. Together with the GSN and the Department of Psychiatry, Prof. Müller and his group have recently secured funding for a new fMRI research scanner at Campus LMU Innenstadt (Clinic of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy), which will be available for NCP teaching.
Focus areas of research
A broad range of scientists is involved in the NCP program, coming from disciplines such as psychology (experimental, biological, developmental psychology, neuropsychology), neurobiology, neurology, psychiatry, neurocomputation and neurophilosophy. The research interests of most NCP teachers refer to basic neuro-cognitive functions with a major focus on attentional and executive control of vision and action. Moreover, further topics such as memory, emotions, peripheral psychophysiological processes and developmental aspects are also covered.
Research and teaching within the NCP program includes major methods of experimental psychology and cognitive neuroscience. At the behavioral level, several labs exist using reaction time and psychophysical measures, as well as the latest technology in eye and hand movement registration. Recently, a Multisensory Perception Lab for investigating visual-tactile interactions in visual search/cross-sensory learning and movement control has been established. At the level of brain activity and structure, several EEG labs for recording event-related potentials, analysis of oscillatory activity and model-based source localization. There are also several fMRI labs (at TUM Psychiatry, Campus LMU Grosshadern and the newly established NCP scanner facility at LMU Campus Innenstadt) for structural and functional imaging. Finally, in cooperation with several university hospitals in Munich (neurology, psychiatry units) and outside Munich (e.g. neurological clinic Bad Feilnbach) experimentally based patient studies are performed. This refers to the study of neurological patients (e.g. suffering from a stroke and a closed head injury) and psychiatric patients (e.g. suffering from Alzheimer, schizophrenia). Most projects in this field investigate disturbances of attentional and executive processes as well as of perceptual and working memory processes.
NCP Research Projects. The NCP program requires 2 supervised research projects of each student for graduation. These supervised experiments are designed to provide students with the opportunity to gather practical experience in the field of Neuro-Cognitive Psychology while working on an original research issue, the results of which are then documented by a project report in the format of a scientific publication. The research projects are to be completed during the breaks between semesters; Research Project I after the first semester and Research Project II following the second. Each project has a duration of 7 (+1) weeks and is worth a total of 10 credit points toward the degree. The 2nd project can be carried out in one of the Partner European Laboratories.