ZiF Research Group

Cognitive Behavior of Humans, Animals, and Machines:

Situation Model Perspectives

October 2019 – July 2020

Convenors: Werner Schneider (Bielefeld, GER), Helge Ritter (Bielefeld, GER)

Wolfgang Prinz

Associate Fellow

Foto Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences,
Leipzig, Germany
E-Mail: prinz@cbs.mpg.de


Wolfgang Prinz is currently Director Emeritus at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany and Honorary Professor at the Universities of Munich and Leipzig. After his PhD (1970 at Ruhr University Bochum, Germany) he became Professor for Experimental Psychology at the University of Bielefeld (1975-1990) and Research Director at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF; 1982-1989). 1990 he was appointed Professor of Psychology and Philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich (1990-1998) and Director at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, Munich (1990-2004). From 2004 onwards he was Director of the Department of Psychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (2004-2010). In 1993 he was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Award of the German Research Foundation, in 2015 an honorary doctorate of the German Sport University Cologne and in 2018 an honoray doctorate ot he University of Bielefeld.

Current Main Research Interests

Professor Prinz is a cognitive psychologist studying theoretical and experimental issues of perception, action, volition and consciousness. More recently he has mainly become interested in issues pertaining of the social foundations of human volition and cognition. Earlier research also addressed issues at the interface between perception and memory: how does perceptual performance at a given point in time shape and modulate subsequent performance? This research used a continuous visual search paradigm that requires to detect infrequent targets among frequent distractors. Experiments demonstrated automatic formation of memory models of distractors and automatic detection of targets by default, i.e. as deviates from distractor models.

Five selected publications with particular relevance to the Research Group
  • Prinz, W. (2017). Task implementation and top-down control in continuous search (Commentary on Hulleman & Olivers). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 40, e153. doi:10.1017/S0140525X16000236.
  • Eimer, M., Nattkemper, D., Schröger, E., & Prinz, W. (1996). Involuntary attention. In O. Neumann & A.-F. Sanders (Eds.), Attention (Vol. 3, pp. 155-184). London: Academic Press.
  • Prinz, W. (1986). Continuous selection. Psychological Research, 48, 231-238.
  • Prinz, W. (1979). Integration of information in visual search. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 31, 287-304.
  • Prinz, W., & Ataian, D. (1973). Two components and two stages in search performance: A case study in visual search. Acta Psychologica, 37, 255-277.