11 April 2019

RTG 2386 “Extrospection” - Five doctoral research positions 2019

Deadline: 12 May 2019 23:59:59 hrs CEST

Research Training Group 2386
External access to higher cognitive processes

Hosted by Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin,
Berlin School of Mind and Brain

Deadline: 12 May 2019 23:59:59 hrs CEST

Five doctoral research positions 2019

The DFG Research Training Group 2386 “Extrospection. External access to higher cognitive processes” offers five salaried research positions for doctoral candidates.

They will be working within one (or more) of the 10 defined research areas (topics). Each research topic aims at contributing to our overall research focus on “Extrospection”, i.e., third-person access to higher cognitive processes resp. third-person access to first-person conscious experience.

Below, please find the list of research topics and the participating principal investigators (PIs) responsible for each topic. The respective PI listed below each topic will be the main thesis supervisor for this topic.

Depending on the project, doctoral candidates will be based at Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin, Charite - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, or Magdeburg University.

Application period: 5 April - 12 May 23:59:59 CEST

Please note:

(1) Theoretically, students may apply for more than one research topic listed below, but they will have to hand in a distinct project proposal for each topic. For that they will have to meet each topic's specific requirements.

(2) Students may also apply with a research project developed by themselves pertaining to the general problem of “Extrospection”, but outside the distinct, defined topics listed below and thus outside the particular questions that the topics below raise.

However, such new projects will have to fall within the general expertise of at least one of the Research Training Group's PIs listed below, in order to guarantee expert supervision for the proposed doctoral project. (Please check their research profiles on this website and/or on the internet.)

Research topics available for applications


Topic 2 - Extrospection and consciousness in early modern philosophy (History of philosophy)
PI: Prof. Dr. Dominik PERLER, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Topic 3 - Structural models of phenomenality (Philosophy of science)
PI: Prof. Dr. Holger LYRE, Otto von Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg

Topic 4 - Introspection, extrospection and denial of privileged access in psychiatry (Philosophy of psychiatry and neurophilosophy)
PI: Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin FINK, Otto von Guericke-Universitaet Magdeburg

Topic 6 - Extrospective assessment of emotion in self and other and their neural correlates (Psychology / Social neuroscience)
PI: Dr. Laura KALTWASSER, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Topic 7 - Extrospection and confidence judgements in metacognitive tasks (Psychology / Metacognition)
PI: Elisa FILEVICH PhD, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Topic 9 - Numbtouch: Extrospection and introspection during weak somatosensory stimulation (Neuroscience / Neurology)
PI: Prof. Dr. Arno VILLRINGER, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin & Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig

Research topics with doctoral projects running 2018–2021

Topic 1 - Epistemology of extrospection (Philosophy of mind)
PI: Prof. Dr. Michael PAUEN, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Topic 5 - Reading mental states of others versus self - the case of autism (Psychology / Social neuroscience)
PI: Prof. Dr. Isabel DZIOBEK, Humboldt-Universitaet zu Berlin

Topic 8 - Brain Reading and extrospection (Neuroscience / Brain Reading)
PI: Prof. Dr. John-Dylan HAYNES, Charité - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin

Topic 10 - Levels of extrospection in psychiatry (Psychiatry)
PI: Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik WALTER, Charité - Universitaetsmedizin Berlin

What is on offer?

The DFG-funded Research Training Group (RTG) 2386 “Extrospection.External access to higher cognitive processes” offers a structured and interdisciplinary doctoral program including a fast-track option for Master’s students. During the first funding period 2018–2023, a sophisticated admission process will select three cohorts of doctoral researchers (with application calls in 2018, 2019, and 2020) and two cohorts of fast-track students (to start in 2018 and 2019). Students are asked to apply for one (or more) of the advertised research topics. They will have to hand in a detailed 5-page proposal for an interdisciplinary doctoral project devoted to the problem of extrospection. When applying, applicants should also explain why they wish to conduct their doctoral research in a structured and interdisciplinary doctoral program. Upon admission, students will be offered a salaried doctoral position for three years. Each doctoral candidate will be assigned two experts from different disciplines as their primary and secondary supervisors.

Students will participate in an obligatory education and training program. The core of the RTG’s curriculum will consist of specific research seminars devoted to extrospection, as well as a series of basic and advanced seminars, workshops and academic retreats. Moreover, the RTG will offer scientific soft-skill courses tailored to each individual student’s specific needs.

The RTG 2386 will be based at the graduate school Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

There will be no tuition fees.

What is “Extrospection”?

While introspection means first-person access to one’s own conscious states, extrospection stands for third-person access to another person’s conscious experience, e.g. with scientific methods or by way of mind reading. Recognizing that another person feels pain, or investigating the conscious perceptual experience of an experimental subject with an fMRI scanner are typical cases of extrospection.

What are the research goals of the Research Training Group 2386 “Extrospection”?

Conscious processes like states of emotion, perception, belief formation, or mind-reading, are of essential importance in philosophy, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It is quite controversial, though, to what extent these processes can be captured adequately by means of extrospection. The reason for this controversy is that extrospective methods are restricted to indirect external evidence. Introspection, by contrast, has long been treated as privileged, given its direct first-person access to these processes.

The present project aims at a comprehensive epistemological, historical and empirical assessment of extrospection. As a working hypothesis, we assume that there is an epistemic symmetry between extrospection and introspection: What can be known by way of first-person methods can be known by way of third-person methods as well, at least in principle. While we do not deny the obvious insufficiencies of current extrospective methods, we hypothesize that they can be overcome by future scientific, methodological, and technological developments.

What is a Research Training Group?

Research Training Groups (RTG) are established by universities to promote young researchers. They are funded by the DFG for a period of up to nine years. Their key emphasis is on the qualification of doctoral researchers within the framework of a focused research programme and a structured training strategy. RTGs often have an interdisciplinary approach. The aim of RTGs is to prepare doctoral researchers for the complexities of the job market in science and academics and simultaneously encourage early scientific independence.

Application period

5 April 2019 - 12 May 2019 23:59:59 hrs CEST

Funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG - German Research Foundation)