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Plasticity of the motor system and the role of early experience in the construction of a social mind in human and nonhuman primates

Internal representations of external events have been often discussed within the framework of action-perception coupling and embodied theories of cognition. Objects, space and others’ action are coded within multiple brain areas that involve parietal-frontal circuits, which are involved in sensorimotor transformations. This sensory-motor coupling emphasizes the key role the motor system plays in the construction of such representations.

Paradigms used to investigate these circuits in humans and other primates, are mainly based on oculomotor and arm-reaching tasks, which have the advantage to precise monitor physiological and movement parameters. However, most of these studies do not consider that these brain networks emerge through a complex process of interaction of the organism with its environment, and secondly, that most of these circuits are involved in multiple functions, often in relation to social cognitive processing. The work on mirror neurons is probably one of the best examples of how neural circuits, originally evolved to track the own hand in space, have actually become part of a system that is critical for social-cognitive purposes.

More recent work has challenged the traditional views of motor representation as fixed entities. Exploring the plasticity of the motor system during its unfolding in the early developmental period provides new interpretative tools concerning the nature of representations in the brain. In particular, our knowledge about the early social experiences between the caregiver and her infant has highlighted the importance of early periods of sensitivity in the construction of representation of others’ affective experience. Disturbances in early social experiences might lead to discrepancies in the correspondence between the internal representations of others’ experience and the actual observed behavior. I will explore some of these themes in the attempt to draw some theoretical accounts about how critical is the action-perception coupling for the emergence of a social mind and for the construction of shared experiences/representations.




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Pier Francesco Ferrari (CNRS Lyon)

Anfahrtswege zum WissenschaftsCampus am DPZ

Lageplan des DPZ

E - Haupteingang/Anmeldung
1 - Geschäftsführung; Abteilungen: Infektionsbiologie/-pathologie/-modelle, Primatengenetik, Verhaltensökologie und Soziobiologie, Kognitive Ethologie, Neurobiologie; Verwaltung; Bibliothek; Stabsstellen: Forschungskoordination, Kommunikation, Informationstechnologie, Betriebstechnik
2 - Materialanlieferung/Einkauf
3 - Abteilung Stammzellbiologie
4 - Abteilung Kognitive Neurowissenschaften
5 - Primatenhaltung
6 - Bildgebungszentrum

Anreise mit dem PKW

Folgen Sie von der Autobahnausfahrt "Göttingen Nord" der B27 in Richtung Braunlage bis zur dritten Ampelkreuzung. Biegen Sie rechts ab Richtung Kliniken und anschließend links in die Robert-Koch-Straße. Am Ende der Straße fahren Sie rechts in Richtung Nikolausberg auf die Otto-Hahn-Straße. Die erste Straße zu Ihrer Linken ist der Kellnerweg, das Primatenzentrum ist ausgeschildert.

Anreise mit dem Bus

Ihr Fußweg von der Bushaltestelle Kellnerweg zum DPZ-Haupteingang/zur Anmeldung:
Von der Bushaltestelle Kellnerweg (Linie 21/22 und 23) Straße überqueren, in Fahrtrichtung des Busses gehen. Am Briefkasen links in den Fußweg einbiegen und rechts halten. Am Ende des Fußwegs rechts in den Kellnerweg abbiegen. Der Haupteingang des DPZ liegt dann auf der linken Seite.

Datum und Uhrzeit 21.09.17 - 16:00 - 17:30

Veranstaltungsort Hörsaal, DPZ, Kellnerweg 4


Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Primatenkognition




Christian Schloegl

Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus Primatenkognition



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