01 June 2017, 18.30 – 20.30

Alumni Talk Series: Vera Ludwig (Berlin) and Sophie Herbst (Lübeck)

Ludwig: “Can being in the here and now help you achieve your goals? A review of evidence and ideas on the relation of willpower and mindfulness” / Herbst: “One clock? Mechanisms of implicit and explicit timing”

Hosted by Professor Niko Busch, Münster

Vera Ludwig was a member of doctoral cohort 20102013. She is now a postdoctoral researcher with M&B faculty member Henrik Walter at Charité University Medical School. She also works as a trainer, giving seminars on willpower, self-compassion and yoga. In this talk, Vera will review evidence and ideas on the relation of willpower and mindfulness: “Can being in the here and now help you achieve your goals?”.

Abstract: Willpower (or self-control) has been defined as the ability to pursue long-term goals despite temptations, distractions, or aversive feelings (Steimke et al., 2016, FrontPsychol). Individual differences in willpower positively predict numerous desirable variables such as good health, professional success, good interpersonal relationships and subjective well-being. In this talk I will explore the relation of willpower to mindfulness. Mindfulness is a concept based on ideas from ancient Eastern wisdom traditions such as Buddhism and traditional yoga. Mindfulness describes a mental attitude of non-judgmental acceptance of the present moment. Mindfulness training has gained in popularity in the West and has been shown to be beneficial for well-being and stress reduction. At first, mindfulness and willpower may seem almost contrary: While willpower is typically about achieving goals that lie in the future, mindfulness is about accepting the present moment exactly as it is. However, mindfulness can actually be beneficial for willpower: for example, it has been shown to be useful in the treatment of addictions. Freshly back from a yoga teacher training in India to better understand Eastern perspectives on psychology, in this talk I will review literature on this topic, present some of my own research and discuss ideas on willpower derived from traditional yoga.

Sophie Herbst was a member of doctoral cohort 20102013. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at Lübeck University. In this lecture, Sophie will speak about “Mechanisms of implicit and explicit timing”.

Abstract: Time is an important dimension of human subjective experience, yet we know quite little about how the human brain encodes time. A distinction has to be drawn between explicit time  perception and implicit timing, currently subject to two separate research fields. Explicit time perception refers to situations in which we overtly estimate a time interval, while implicit timing refers to situations in which temporal regularities are used to form temporal expectations, even when no explicit timing is required. An interesting and important question is whether these two seemingly different timing processes rely on (at least partially shared) versus completely separate neural and cognitive mechanisms. Interestingly, participants use even subtle temporal regularities in the stimulation to create temporal expectations which improve performance, i.e. in a perceptual task. An intriguing question is why on the one hand these implicit timing processes function quite reliably, while when asked to overtly estimate a time interval, human observers perform quite poorly. By studying the mechanism of implicit timing, and neural substrates of temporal expectations, I hope to be able to contribute to a better understanding of implicit and explicit timing processes.



Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Luisenstraße 56
Room 144 (ground floor)
10117 Berlin