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The brain – a relational organ. Interdisciplinary perspectives on the development of socially induced capacities  (2008-2011)

The progress in neurosciences increasingly extends to the exploration of central human characteristics such as subjectivity, faculty of action and speech, empathy and intersubjectivity. But the mere assignment of individual functions to specific brain areals does not say us anything yet about the relevance of interactions with the social environment in which these capacities and the corresponding brain functions evolve in the first place. Significant progress in this field can thus only be expected through interdisciplinary research that expands the exploration of the brain, its functions and its development by including cultural and scientific approaches.

The research project  – supported by the Volkswagen Foundation from 2008-2011 – wants to contribute to the research of the entanglement of biology and culture within the human ontogenesis. It assumes that the brain functions as an “relational organ“ which both mediates social interactions but is also significantly shaped by them.

The involved scientists represent the subjects philosophy, psychiatry, developmental as well as biological psychology. The subprojects investigate

  • the role of social interaction for the development of self-awareness;
  • the development of the 2nd person-perspective in the embodied interaction;
  • the development of social and object learning during early childhood;
  • disorders of this development within the context of partnatal depression and infantile autism.

For more information here.