Brain KL

Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience

Brain KL
Foto: BPCN

The Department of Biological Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience (BPCN) is part of the Institute of Psychology in Jena.

The department includes the teaching of BSc courses in the fields of Biological Psychology and MSc courses in the broader field of Cognitive Neuroscience for psychology students. Biological psychology deals with the interaction of mental activities with the brain and the body. Because cognitive neuroscience is an inherently multi- and interdisciplinary field, the department also welcomes undergraduate and graduate students from diverse backgrounds, such as: B. Medicine and life sciences.

The main research topic of the BPCN is the investigation of the neuronal background of perceptual and cognitive functions. In particular, we study visual perception by combining modern electrophysiological and imaging techniques and stimulating the healthy brain through transcranial magnetic stimulation with subtle psychological tools for behavioral analysis.

We are particularly interested in how we recognize and identify an object/person? Where and how does perception interact with memory? How can predictive processing explain neural and perceptual phenomena?

ATTENTION! No lecture on Wednesday
For health reasons the following lecture by Prof. Dr. Kovacs not take place!

(31.10. - 10:00 to 12:00 Carl-Zeiss-Str. 3 - HS4)

Recent Publications and News

  • 1. Research Report A neural measure of the degree of face familiarity

    ChenglinLi / A. MikeBurton / Géza Gergely Ambrus / Gyula Kovács

    Recognizing a face as familiar is essential in our everyday life. However, ‘familiarity’ covers a wide range – from people we see every day to those we barely know. Although face recognition is studied extensively, little is known about how the degree of familiarity affects neural face processing, despite the critical social importance of this dimension. Here we report the results of a multivariate cross-classification EEG experiment, where we study the temporal representational dynamics of the degree of familiarity. Participants viewed highly variable face images of 20 identities. Importantly, we measured face familiarity using subjective familiarity ratings in addition to testing explicit knowledge and reaction times in a face matching task. A machine learning algorithm, trained to discriminate familiar and unfamiliar faces from a separate study, was used to predict the degree of face familiarity from the pattern of the EEG data. We found that...

    Read the full article here: Link

  • 2. Person identity-specific adaptation effects in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex


    Identifying the faces of familiar persons requires the ability to assign several different images of a face to a common identity. Previous research showed that the occipito-temporal cortex, including the fusiform and the occipital face areas, is sensitive to personal identity. Still, the viewpoint, facial expression and image-independence of this information are currently under heavy debate. Here we adapted a rapid serial visual stimulation paradigm Johnston et al. (2016, Link) and presented highly variable ambient-face images of famous persons to measure functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) adaptation.

    Click the link to read the full report

    Rostalski SM, Robinson J, Ambrus GA, Johnston P, Kovács G (in press) Person identity-specific adaptation effects in the ventral occipito-temporal cortex. Eur. J. Neurosci.Externer Link

  • 3. Face to Face

    Face to face The human brain remembers faces better after a personal meeting than by looking at photos or videos, according to findings by neuroscientists at Friedrich Schiller University Jena. As their EEG data show, the familiarity of a face is anchored measurably stronger in the brain of the observer if the face... en

  • 4. CNN - Why face-to-face gatherings still matter

    After more than a year of meeting on Zoom every month, the members of Amy Ettinger’s book club recently tried something radical: They got together in real life...

    by Matt Villano

    Click HERE Externer Linkto read the full article


Gyula Kovács, Univ.-Prof. Dr.
Professur Biologische Psychologie und Kognitive Neurowissenschaften
Leutragraben 1
07743 Jena
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