Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

Learning, perception and cognitive processes form the main research fields of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen. The scientists use experimental, theoretical and methodological approaches in their work on fundamental topics of perception. In 2003, a High-Field Magnetic Resonance Center was established at the Institute where research is carried out into the methodological expansion and application of imaging techniques. Two of the world's most powerful magnetic resonance scanners with magnetic field strengths of 9.4 and 16.4 tesla are available to assist them in their work.


Max-Planck-Ring 8
72076 Tübingen
Phone: +49 7071 601-510
Fax: +49 7071 601-520

PhD opportunities

This institute has an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS):

IMPRS for Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience

In addition, there is the possibility of individual doctoral research. Please contact the directors or research group leaders at the Institute.

LISA: a new method of statistical inference in neuroimaging

New method detects brain activations with improved sensitivity and accuracy

Spatial memory is not like a „map in the head“

How do we store the spatial information of our surrounding?

Anorexia nervosa patients prefer underweight bodies

Scientists investigate body perception using virtual reality

Peter Dayan and Li Zhaoping appointed to the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics

The Max Planck Society appoints two renowned neuroscientists from University College London to the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen

Max Planck researcher receives animal welfare award

The German Research Foundation awards the Ursula M. Händel Animal Welfare Prize to Hamid R. Noori


The brain of a housefly weighs around one-thousandth of a gram. Nonetheless, thanks to this miniscule control center, the insect can evaluate images in fractions of a second and steer its way through lightning-fast flight maneuvers. It was Werner Reichardt, Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, who, more than 50 years ago, described how the motion detectors in the fly brain work.

For Valentin Braitenberg, the brain was the most interesting research subject in the world, apart from the world itself. A former Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, he spent thousands of hours poring over a microscope to get to the bottom of this most complex of organs. His purpose was to examine the fiber pathways in various areas of the brain and to search for their functions.

Robots That Learn!

MPR 2 /2010 Material & Technology

Machines are naturally dumb. They lack flexibility and the ability to react appropriately and at the right time. Scientists are trying to teach robots something akin to intelligence.

Cybernetics experts are using the world’s first omnidirectional platform to study how the brains of walkers combine hearing, seeing and feeling.

Laboratory Technician / Research Assistent

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen December 11, 2018

Phd postions in Computational Neuroimaging of the human brainstem

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen October 29, 2018

Holistic perception of faces and objects

2018 Bülthoff, Isabelle ; Zhao, Mintao; Bülthoff, Heinrich

Cognitive Science Neurosciences

We cannot process any individual feature in a face without the other parts of the face influencing our perception. So far, this so-called holistic perception had been demonstrated mostly with static faces (images) or with objects that we know very well. However, the Max-Planck scientists have shown that dynamic faces and unknown objects (displaying specific properties) are also perceived holistically. Their results pose a challenge to current dominant theories about holistic processing.


Map brain function in vessels with a multi-modal fMRI platform

2017 Yu, Xin

Cognitive Science Neurosciences

A multi-modal fMRI platform is developed for a better understanding of the neuron-glio-vascular interaction in normal and diseased brain states of animals. Combining the single-vessel fMRI method with optogenetics and genetically encoded calcium indicators enables to identify the specific contributions of distinct vascular and cellular components to the fMRI signal. The translational application of this work is to identify vessel-specific dynamic biomarkers of patients with vascular dementia, ranging from small vessel diseases to degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s.


Understanding brain function by bridging multiple scales

2016 Besserve, Michel; Logothetis Nikos K.

Cognitive Science Neurosciences

Information processing in mammalian brains requires exceptional coordination of neural activity ranging from local groups of cells to brain wide interactions. To bridge these scales and understand brain function at the system level, we investigate the relationship between action potentials, local field potentials, and blood oxygen level dependent activity in various structures. The development of simultaneous recordings methodologies and data analysis techniques enables us to characterize the brain states associated to memory functions.


Can you tell me how to reach my goal? Social and spatial cognition in interaction

2015 de la Rosa, Stephan; Meilinger, Tobias

Cognitive Science Neurosciences

In everyday life knowledge about space and the social behavior of others interact, for example, when asking someone for route directions. Prior research mainly considered these processes as separate from each other. Tobias Meilinger and Stephan de la Rosa together with their research group from the Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics examine social and spatial cognition and their interactions in order to better understand everyday human behavior.


Magnetic resonance imaging at ultra-high fields

2014 Buckenmaier, Kai; Gunamony, Shajan; Chadzynski, Grzegorz; Hoffmann, Jens; Pohmann, Rolf; Scheffler, Klaus

Cognitive Science Neurosciences

To improve the spatial resolution and the speed for generating images in magnetic resonance examinations, there is a strong trend to go to higher magnetic field strengths in order to improve the detected signal, causing new technological challenges to emerge. An example is the development of new radiofrequency coil designs. First novel coils are already being used for clinical studies on cancer in the human brain at 9.4 Tesla. Magnetic resonance spectra were obtained from healthy and cancerous regions in the brain. The comparison of the spectra show great potential for medical diagnostics.

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