Higher cognitive functions, development and modelling

Understanding what makes us human is the overarching theme of the research into higher cognitive functions such as language, reasoning, self-control, music, and theory-of-mind. Theme 4 focuses on these functions and on how they develop normally or abnormally in interaction with the environment from infancy to old age. The ultimate aim is to provide a mechanistic account of cognitive development and learning using theoretical, empirical and computational methods.

This can best be achieved by applying a multi-method approach, combining the strengths of converging techniques, e.g., behavioural measures (observation, forced decisions, reaction times, questionnaires), cognitive neuropsychological tests, eye-tracking, neuroimaging (fMRI, MEG, Near-infrared spectroscopy), electrophysiology (e.g. EEG, ERP) neural stimulation (TMS, Direct Current Stimulation), pharmacological interventions, and computational modelling.

Understanding the higher cognitive functions and their development has major implications for important societal areas, such as education, work and security. Given the rationale of this theme only projects aimed at human cognition are eligible.

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