Born on February 3, 1952 in Cologne. Study of German, Romance languages, linguistics and psychology, doctorate Bonn Univ. (1976), degree in psychology (1980), German Habilitation in psychology Gießen Univ. (1986), Professor Free Univ. Berlin (1989), Founding Director and Scientific Member of the Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience (formerly Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience) (since 1994), Director of the Centre of Cognitive Science at Leipzig University (1997 - 2008), Honorary Professor at the Universities Leipzig (Psychology), Potsdam (Linguistics) and Charité Berlin (Medicine).
Awards and offices: Alfried Krupp Prize for Young Scientists (1990), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1997), Carl-Friedrich Gauß Medal (2011), Doctor Honoris Causa of Univ. Mons (2011). Member of the Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) (1996-2001), Member of the Senate of the Max Planck Society (2002-2009), Vice-President of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2005-2007), Chairperson of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society (2006-2009), Vice-President of the Max Planck Society (since 2014).