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ZiF Research Group

Competition and priority control in mind and brain: new perspectives from task-driven vision


Convenors: Werner Schneider (Bielefeld), Wolfgang Einhäuser-Treyer (Marburg)

Progress in research on mind and brain in the past has benefited greatly from a conceptual separation into distinct functional domains, such as perception, memory or action. Recent results, however, stress the importance of an integrative view and thus the necessity for common principles that unify these domains into one view of mind and brain. The ZiF research group centers on the working hypothesis that major functional domains share competition and priority control as key features. We were able to win more than 20 internationally leading scientists as fellows, from various disciplines (biology, computer science, linguistics, medicine, and psychology), and countries (USA, UK, Germany, Canada, Israel, etc.). A major goal is integrating the fellows’ expertise in the domains of perception, memory, and action to a joint quest for common principles of competition and priority control – principles at the level of frameworks, theories, and computational models. These principles, which will be approached from four perspectives – vision, task, real-world, and priority maps – shall not exclusively encompass the aforementioned domains, but also be open to other domains (such as “decision-making", etc.), which may also rely on competition and priority control. If successful, the quest for integrative principles of competition and priority control will not only greatly advance our basic-science understanding of mind and brain, but may also foster the development of autonomous intelligent systems for operation in realistic scenarios as well as the assessment and treatment of neurological patients, in which simultaneous disturbances of perception, memory and action are frequent.

The research group in the press