Cognitive Dynamics Lab


Research

The central focus in my lab is on figuring out what makes the human mind as flexible as it is, but also why it is not always as flexible as we want it to be. As an experimental tool we often rely on the so-called task-switching paradigm: Participants perform simple tasks (i.e., judging the color or the shape of a stimulus object) with the requirement to frequently switch between them. Switching costs time and if we understand where exactly these costs come from, we should also have a better understanding of the limitations of human flexibility. Aside from basic behavioral experimentation, we also use brain imaging, eye-movement analyses, patient data, special populations (e.g., individuals with concussions), and life-span comparisons.

The Interplay between Learning and Control

As important learning and memory are for every aspect of our lives, they are also often the enemy of flexibility. Thus, viewing learning and control in concert is key for a better understanding of human flexibility and under which circumstances learning hinders and when it helps control (e,g., Mayr & Bryck, 2005).  More...

External and Internal Cues

If encoding into and retrieval from memory are critical components of flexible behavior, it is important to look at the role of internal or external cues that signal upcoming task demands (Mayr & Kliegl, 2003).More...

Inhibition

The question whether during selection of one thought, competing thoughts are actively inhibited is a hotly debated issue in cognitive science, with far-reaching theoretical and practical consequences. Over the last years, our goal has been to come up with an unambiguous empirical indicator of inhibition. More...

Sequencing

Human behavior often unfolds in regular sequences and we are masters in terms of picking up and consciously or unconsciously reproducing such sequential regularities. More...

Aging

It is almost a truism that cognitive flexibility declines as we grow older. However, empirical evidence paints a much more complex picture with some aspects virtually unchanged (e.g., Mayr & Kliegl, 2000) while other aspects do show marked deficits (Mayr, 2001). More...

Neuroeconomics of Public-Good Decisions

In collaboration with the economist Bill Harbaugh in which we look at the cognitive, affective, and neural basis of individuals' decisions about contributions to the public well being. More...