Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Berlin, Germany

The Max-Planck-Institute for Human Development is an internationally renowned social science research organization. Located in Berlin, it was initiated in 1961 and officially began operations in 1963 under the name Institute for Educational Research in the Max Planck Society, before receiving its current name in 1971. Its co-founder and first director was Hellmut Becker. The institute is part of the Human science Section of the Max Planck Society.Research activities focus on the development and education of humans, with an emphasis on basic research. The concept of education is defined broadly, embracing both formal educational processes as well as developmental processes from childhood to old age. Currently, around 350 employees contribute to interdisciplinary research in four research centers and three research groups.Center for Adaptive Rationality Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition Center for Lifespan Psychology Research Center History of Emotions Max Planck Research Group Affect Across the Lifespan Max Planck Research Group Felt Communities? Emotions in European Music Performances Max Planck Research Group REaD . In addition, the Harding Center for Risk Literacy was opened in April 2009. Motivating its research is the vision of enlightened individuals who are equipped to deal with risks in the modern technological world in an informed way. Director of the Harding Center is Gerd Gigerenzer.The Research Center of Educational Research ended its activities in 2010. Its best-known projects were the TIMS study and the PISA study, whose results received wide attention by both the mass media and politicians.The institute is located in Wilmersdorf, a neighbourhood in the southwest of Berlin, immediately bordering on the neighborhood of Dahlem, and is therefore considered part of Dahlem's traditional science district. This is home to a number of scientific organizations such as the Free University Berlin, which works together with the institute.The founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development was Hellmut Becker, subsequently joined by Dietrich Goldschmidt and Saul B. Robinsohn as the first generation of directors. They were followed by directors Wolfgang Edelstein , Peter M. Roeder and Friedrich Edding , Paul B. Baltes , Karl Ulrich Mayer , Jürgen Baumert , Gerd Gigerenzer , Ulman Lindenberger , Ute Frevert , and Ralph Hertwig . Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 10, 2017

Study finds that early schoolgoers are more focused than their preschool peers The first year of elementary school markedly boosts a child's attentiveness, according to new research from the University of California, Berkeley, and the Max Planck Institute in Germany. The study, led by the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, shows that children who transition earlier to a formal school environment learn to be more focused and less impulsive than their peers at play-based preschools. The findings are published today in the online issue of the journal Psychological Science. "These results demonstrate for the first time how environmental context shapes the development of brain mechanisms in 5-year-olds transitioning into school," said study co-author Silvia Bunge, a UC Berkeley professor of psychology and neuroscience. Researchers hypothesized that a controlled educational setting in which young children must learn to sit still, follow directions and avoid distractions would boost certain cognitive skills, such as staying on task. The experiment, conducted in Germany where preschool is referred to as "kindergarten," proved their theory. "Our results indicate that the structured learning environment of school has a positive effect on the development of behavioral control," said study lead author Garvin Brod, a researcher at the German Institute for International Educational Research. For the study, researchers used computerized tests and brain imaging to track the cognitive performance of 62 children aged 5. In comparing the results of tests conducted at the beginning and end of a school and preschool year, the study found that the children who had gone to school showed greater improvement than their preschool peers at maintaining focus and following rules. Moreover, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of their brains during an attention control task showed the schoolgoers to have a more active right parietal cortex, which supports attentiveness, among other cognitive skills. While the findings reveal new information in the ongoing debate over the developmentally appropriate age to start school, the researchers are not necessarily advocating for early school start ages. "Those results should not be taken to mean that the elementary school setting is necessarily better for young children's development than play-based early schooling," Bunge said, citing research that shows children do well in hands-on, interactive learning environments. Moreover, there is enormous developmental variation across children of the same age, she said. The study is part of the HippoKid project led by Yee Lee Shing at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development.

Kuhn S.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development | Gallinat J.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin
Molecular Psychiatry | Year: 2014

Playing video games is a popular leisure activity among children and adults, and may therefore potentially influence brain structure. We have previously shown a positive association between probability of gray matter (GM) volume in the ventral striatum and frequent video gaming in adolescence. Here we set out to investigate structural correlates of video gaming in adulthood, as the effects observed in adolescents may reflect only a fraction of the potential neural long-term effects seen in adults. On magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of 62 male adults, we computed voxel-based morphometry to explore the correlation of GM with the lifetime amount of video gaming (termed joystick years). We found a significant positive association between GM in bilateral parahippocamal region (entorhinal cortex) and left occipital cortex/inferior parietal lobe and joystick years (P<0.001, corrected for multiple comparisons). An exploratory analysis showed that the entorhinal GM volume can be predicted by the video game genres played, such as logic/puzzle games and platform games contributing positively, and action-based role-playing games contributing negatively. Furthermore, joystick years were positively correlated with hippocampus volume. The association of lifetime amount of video game playing with bilateral entorhinal cortex, hippocampal and occipital GM volume could reflect adaptive neural plasticity related to navigation and visual attention. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited All rights reserved.

Dingemanse N.J.,Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (Seewiesen) | Wolf M.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2010

In this paper we review recent models that provide adaptive explanations for animal personalities: individual differences in behaviour (or suites of correlated behaviours) that are consistent over time or contexts. We start by briefly discussing patterns of variation in behaviour that have been documented in natural populations. In the main part of the paper we discuss models for personality differences that (i) explain animal personalities as adaptive behavioural responses to differences in state, (ii) investigate how feedbacks between state and behaviour can stabilize initial differences among individuals and (iii) provide adaptive explanations for animal personalities that are not based on state differences. Throughout, we focus on two basic questions. First, what is the basic conceptual idea underlying the model? Second, what are the key assumptions and predictions of the model? We conclude by discussing empirical features of personalities that have not yet been addressed by formal modelling. While this paper is primarily intended to guide empiricists through current adaptive theory, thereby stimulating empirical tests of these models, we hope it also inspires theoreticians to address aspects of personalities that have received little attention up to now. © 2010 The Royal Society.

Lindenberger U.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development | Lindenberger U.,University College London
Science | Year: 2014

Human cognitive aging differs between and is malleable within individuals. In the absence of a strong genetic program, it is open to a host of hazards, such as vascular conditions, metabolic syndrome, and chronic stress, but also open to protective and enhancing factors, such as experience-dependent cognitive plasticity. Longitudinal studies suggest that leading an intellectually challenging, physically active, and socially engaged life may mitigate losses and consolidate gains. Interventions help to identify contexts and mechanisms of successful cognitive aging and give science and society a hint about what would be possible if conditions were different. Copyright © 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science; all rights reserved.

Muller L.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development | Pawelec G.,University of Tübingen
Brain, Behavior, and Immunity | Year: 2014

Immune responses to pathogens to which they were not previously exposed are commonly less effective in elderly people than in young adults, whereas those to agents previously encountered and overcome in earlier life may be amplified. This is reflected in the robust finding in many studies that the proportions and numbers of naïve B and T cells are lower and memory cells higher in the elderly. In addition to the "extrinsic" effects of pathogen exposure, "intrinsic" events such as age-associated differences in haematopoeitic stem cells and their niches in the bone marrow associated with differences in cell maturation and output to the periphery are also observed. In the case of T cells, the "intrinsic" process of thymic involution, beginning before puberty, further contributes to reducing the production of naïve T cells. Like memory T cell populations, innate immune cells may be increased in number but decreased in efficacy on a per-cell basis. Thus, superimposed on chronological age alone, remodelling of immunity as a result of interactions with the environment over the life course is instrumental in shaping immune status in later life. In addition to interactions with pathogens, host microbiome and nutrition, exercise and stress, and many other extrinsic factors are crucial modulators of this "immunosenescence" process. In this review, we briefly outline the observed immune differences between younger and older people, and discuss the possible impacts of behavioral variations thereon. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.

Gigerenzer G.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Topics in Cognitive Science | Year: 2010

What is the nature of moral behavior? According to the study of bounded rationality, it results not from character traits or rational deliberation alone, but from the interplay between mind and environment. In this view, moral behavior is based on pragmatic social heuristics rather than moral rules or maximization principles. These social heuristics are not good or bad per se, but solely in relation to the environments in which they are used. This has methodological implications for the study of morality: Behavior needs to be studied in social groups as well as in isolation, in natural environments as well as in labs. It also has implications for moral policy: Only by accepting the fact that behavior is a function of both mind and environmental structures can realistic prescriptive means of achieving moral goals be developed. © 2010 Cognitive Science Society, Inc.

Filimon F.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Neuroscientist | Year: 2010

In primates, control of the limb depends on many cortical areas. Whereas specialized parietofrontal circuits have been proposed for different movements in macaques, functional neuroimaging in humans has revealed widespread, overlapping activations for hand and eye movements and for movements such as reaching and grasping. This review examines the involvement of frontal and parietal areas in hand and arm movements in humans as revealed with functional neuroimaging. The degree of functional specialization, possible homologies with macaque cortical regions, and differences between frontal and posterior parietal areas are discussed, as well as a possible organization of hand movements with respect to different spatial reference frames. The available evidence supports a cortical organization along gradients of sensory (visual to somatosensory) and effector (eye to hand) preferences. © The Author(s) 2010.

Hertwig R.,University of Basel | Hertwig R.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Science | Year: 2012

The subjective confidence of individuals in groups can be a valid predictor of accuracy in decision-making tasks.

Kopp F.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience | Year: 2014

The aim of this study was to investigate neural dynamics of audiovisual temporal fusion processes in 6-month-old infants using event-related brain potentials (ERPs). In a habituation-test paradigm, infants did not show any behavioral signs of discrimination of an audiovisual asynchrony of 200 ms, indicating perceptual fusion. In a subsequent EEG experiment, audiovisual synchronous stimuli and stimuli with a visual delay of 200 ms were presented in random order. In contrast to the behavioral data, brain activity differed significantly between the two conditions. Critically, N1 and P2 latency delays were not observed between synchronous and fused items, contrary to previously observed N1 and P2 latency delays between synchrony and perceived asynchrony. Hence, temporal interaction processes in the infant brain between the two sensory modalities varied as a function of perceptual fusion versus asynchrony perception. The visual recognition components Pb and Nc were modulated prior to sound onset, emphasizing the importance of anticipatory visual events for the prediction of auditory signals. Results suggest mechanisms by which young infants predictively adjust their ongoing neural activity to the temporal synchrony relations to be expected between vision and audition. © 2014 The Authors.

Stevens J.R.,Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Animal Cognition | Year: 2010

Helping others at no cost to oneself is a simple way to demonstrate other-regarding preferences. Yet, primates exhibit mixed results for other-regarding preferences: chimpanzees and tamarins do not show these effects, whereas capuchin monkeys and marmosets preferentially give food to others. One factor of relevance to this no-cost food donation is the payoff to the donor. Though donors always receive the same payoffs regardless of their choice, previous work varies in whether they receive either a food reward or no food reward. Here, I tested cotton-top tamarins in a preferential giving task. Subjects could choose from two tools, one of which delivered food to a partner in an adjacent cage and the other of which delivered food to an empty cage. Thus, subjects could preferentially give or withhold food from a partner. I varied whether subjects received food payoffs, whether a partner was present or absent, and whether the partner was a non-cagemate or the subject's mate. Results showed that the subjects' overall motivation to pull either tool declined when they did not receive any food. Additionally, they did not preferentially donate or withhold food, regardless of their own payoff or their relationship with the partner. Thus, cotton-top tamarins do not take advantage of cost-free food giving, either when they might gain in the future (mates) or when they have no opportunity for future interactions (non-cagemates). © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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