New DFG SPP The Active Self

Our proposal for initiating a new DFG Priority Programme was successful, “The Active Self” is now one of 17 new DFG SPPs in 2017 in Germany!

The active self (SPP 2134)

The Priority Programme brings together cognitive and behavioural scientists from various disciplines, including psychology and robotics, to study the sensorimotor grounding of the human minimal self – a concept that relates to a person’s phenomenal experience in the here and now and to the question of how we perceive ourselves to be in a particular situation. While this experience is likely to be dominated by information delivered by the senses, i.e., by self-perception in a literal, immediate sense, humans also have knowledge about themselves, amassed over years, and a sense of understanding how their self relates to others.

The relatively recent increasing interest in the self is fueled by important methodological improvements, such as the availability of virtual-reality techniques and affordable robots with humanoid characteristics, and the development of noninvasive methods to study cognition in infants, but also by converging lines of theoretical thinking related to ideomotor processes on the one hand and embodied cognition on the other. The programme will seek to unravel the degree to which our self-representation is plastic and sensitive to immediate experience, to which degree it is constrained by past experience, how it integrates experiences of agency and action-ownership, how it affects other cognitive processes, and to what degree self-representation can be established in artificial agents.

Foto: Natallia Vintsik /

Programme committee and team of coordinators:
Prof. Dr. Verena Hafner (Coordinator and Deputy Speaker); Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Computer Science, Adaptive Systems
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hommel (Scientific Coordinator and Speaker); Leiden University, Leiden (NL), Cognitive Psychology
Prof. Dr. Markus Paulus (Coordinator and Deputy Speaker); Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Developmental Psychology

DFG Call Website:

SPP Website:

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