RTG 2386  
Doctoral candidates  

Doctoral candidates and fast-track students

Name
Supervisors
Doctoral project
Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter 
Reading mental states of others versus self – the case of autism  
Doctoral projectReading mental states of others versus self – the case of autism
DescriptionI aim to investigate if reading others’ and own mental states is a common process in neurotypically developed individuals and in individuals with autism spectrum disorder. Research suggests that there are shared neural activations and mental processes for mentalizing about others and the self in neurotypicals. Regarding the case of autism, it is known that inferring others’ mental states is altered, and first evidence shows that access to own mental states might be hampered, too. The study of autism may thus shed further light on the question if mindreading in self and others is one common process or two distinct processes.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Isabel Dziobek
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
RTG topicsTopic 5: Brain disorders and mental dysfunction
Topic 6: Extrospective assessment of emotion in self and other and their neural correlates
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteDepartment of Psychology, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort2018
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailkatharina.boegl-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter 
Introspective delusions 
Doctoral projectIntrospective delusions
DescriptionMy dissertation focuses on pathological failures of introspection, namely, introspective delusions. Can someone have pathologically false beliefs about their own experience? To tackle this question, I want to look at the cognitive processes underlying introspection, self-knowledge, regular and delusional belief formation.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 4: Introspection, extrospection and denial of privileged access in psychiatry
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteInstitute of Philosophy, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
Cohort2019
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailcaporusciochiara1-please remove this text-@gmail.com
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink 
Fast-track student 2018/19 
Doctoral projectFast-track student 2018/19
FundingScholarship RTG 2386
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
Cohort2018
StatusFast-Track student 2018/19
Dr. Laura Kaltwasser
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes 
Extrospective assessment of emotion in self and other and their neural correlates 
Doctoral projectExtrospective assessment of emotion in self and other and their neural correlates
DescriptionThe “Extrospective assessment of emotion” project investigates the neural correlates of inferring emotions in others. Socioaffective cues are manipulated to simulate self-reference and emotional labeling of congruent versus incongruent affective facial expressions and body cues during simultaneous EEG-fMRI. Emotion prediction and discernment should be represented as a series of spatiotemporal neural processes dependent on self-reference and coherence of affective cues.
FundingSalaried research position, RTG 2386 "Extrospection"
SupervisorsDr. Laura Kaltwasser
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes
RTG topicsTopic 6: Extrospective assessment of emotion in self and other and their neural correlates
Degrees obtained
InstituteHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlin School of Mind and Brain
Cohort2020
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-maildustin.clark-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Elisa Filevich, PhD
N.N. 
Introspective Reports in Confidence Paradigms: Examining the Role of Priors 
Doctoral projectIntrospective Reports in Confidence Paradigms: Examining the Role of Priors
FundingSalaried research position, RTG 2386 "Extrospection"
SupervisorsElisa Filevich, PhD
N.N.
RTG topicsTopic 7: Extrospection and confidence judgements in metacognitive tasks
InstituteBernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort2020
StatusDoctoral candidate
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
Prof. Dr. Anne Beck
Prof. Dr. Peter N.C. Mohr 
Insight from outside? Comparing extrospective and introspective measures in anhedonia 
Doctoral projectInsight from outside? Comparing extrospective and introspective measures in anhedonia
DescriptionSeeking out rewards and experiencing pleasure are central to natural human function. However, these processes are disrupted in anhedonia, i.e. the loss of interest or pleasure in activities usually enjoyed. Even though anhedonia is a core symptom of major psychiatric conditions such as major depressive disorder and schizophrenia, its exact neural mechanisms remain poorly understood. On a similar vein, often only weak empirical correlations are found between the subjective experience of anhedonia and corresponding brain activation. We aim to bridge this gap by systematically applying extrospective (fMRI, behavioral assessment) and introspective methods (ecological momentary assessment) to the subcomponents of anhedonia – i.e. wanting, liking, effort, and learning – in healthy participants.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
Prof. Dr. Anne Beck
Prof. Dr. Peter N.C. Mohr
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 4: Introspection, extrospection and denial of privileged access in psychiatry
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteDepartment of Psychiatry and Neurosciences | CCM, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort2018
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailanna.daniels-please remove this text-@charite.de
Researchgatehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anna_Daniels3
Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter 
Mind Reading and Body Reading; the relationship between interoception, bodily self and everyday extrospection 
Doctoral projectMind Reading and Body Reading; the relationship between interoception, bodily self and everyday extrospection
DescriptionOptimal social interaction requires a stable self-other boundary whereby emotions and mental states are quickly and accurately attributed to oneself or others. It has been proposed that one’s sense of bodily self is the result of the multisensory integration of information from outside (exteroception) and inside the body (interoception). My project focuses on the latter component of bodily self and how changes/impairments in interoception can potentially explain changes in everyday extrospection via their role in self-other distinction.
FundingSalaried research position, RTG 2386 "Extrospection"
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Isabel Dziobek
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
RTG topicsTopic 3: Structural models of phenomenality
Topic 5: Reading mental states of others versus self - the case of autism
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteHumboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Department of Psychology
Cohort2020
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailmahlet.kassa-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Researchgatehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mahlet_Kassa
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter 
Extrospection in psychiatric reasoning  
Doctoral project Extrospection in psychiatric reasoning
DescriptionIn my project, I argue that the current praxis of clinical psychiatric reasoning is a kind of model-based reasoning, enabling mental health professionals to extrospect patients' mental states.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 4: Introspection, extrospection and denial of privileged access in psychiatry
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteInstitute of Philosophy, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
Cohort2019
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailadrian.kind-please remove this text-@mailbox.org
Prof. Dr. Isabel Dziobek 
Fast-track student 2019/20 
Doctoral projectFast-track student 2019/20
FundingScholarship RTG 2386
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Isabel Dziobek
Cohort2019
StatusFast-track student 2019/20
Prof. Dr. Holger Lyre
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes 
Structural Models of Phenomenality 
Doctoral projectStructural Models of Phenomenality
DescriptionThe core of my project is the thesis that phenomenal spaces are structurally similar to neural spaces. A phenomenal space is a geometric description of similarity relations between experiential contents. Analogously, a neural space can be constructed from the similarity relations between neural patterns. Phenomenal and neuronal states can be individuated by their coordinates in their respective spaces. This allows a mapping between phenomenal and neuronal states. Such a linkage of phenomenal and neuronal spaces is part of a fruitful research program in contemporary neuroscience, namely the representational geometry approach. Based on this methodology, structural descriptions have found their way into major theories of consciousness. I examine the benefits and limitations of structuralism in consciousness science and relate structuralism to major topics in philosophy of mind.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Holger Lyre
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 3: Structural models of phenomenality
Topic 8: Brain Reading and extrospection
Degrees obtained
InstitutePhilosophy Department, Otto-von-Guericke Universität Magdeburg
Cohort2019
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-maillukas.kob-please remove this text-@ovgu.de
Prof. Dr. Dominik Perler
Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen 
Descartes and Leibniz on Other Minds 
Doctoral projectDescartes and Leibniz on Other Minds
DescriptionOur intuitions about intro- and extrospection – external access to higher cognitive processes – are strongly shaped by concepts formed in the early modern period. In particular, the introspective privilege is commonly attributed to Descartes (1596-1650), while some of his contemporaries, specifically Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), offer views on knowledge and consciousness that rely less on inner observation. This project focuses on a specific form of extrospection which, in philosophy, has traditionally been known as the problem of other minds and provides a conceptual basis for an understanding of the psychological concept of empathy. It will compare the views of Leibniz and Descartes on this problem and analyze the interplay between intro- and extrospection.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Dominik Perler
Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 2: Extrospection and consciousness in early modern philosoph
Degrees obtained
InstituteInstitute of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort2019
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-maillena.maria.kreymann-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer 
Fast-track student 2019/20 
Doctoral projectFast-track student 2019/20
FundingScholarship RTG 2386
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Arno Villringer
Cohort2019
StatusFast-track student 2019/20
Prof. Dr. Arno Villringer
Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke
Dr. Vadim Nikulin 
Discrepancies between different contents of introspection Somatosensory Perception in Patients after Stroke 
Doctoral projectDiscrepancies between different contents of introspection Somatosensory Perception in Patients after Stroke
DescriptionThe project investigates what are the neural underpinnings of apparent discrepancies of introspection in the somatosensory domain. An experiment is designed that combines psychophysics, EEG as well as voxel-based symptom lesion mapping to relate lesion sites to introspective discrepancies as well as to identify EEG markers of different types of (successful) introspection.
FundingSalaried research position, RTG 2386 "Extrospection"
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Arno Villringer
Prof. Dr. Carsten Finke
Dr. Vadim Nikulin
RTG topicsTopic 9: Numbtouch: Extrospection and introspection during weak somatosensory stimulation
Degrees obtained
InstituteCharité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort2020
StatusDoctoral candidate
Prof. Dr. Holger Lyre
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes 
Underdetermination in Consciousness Science 
Doctoral projectUnderdetermination in Consciousness Science
DescriptionIn a recent paper Matthias Michel maps out a fundamental threat for consciousness science in the form of a permanent underdetermination by evidence. Having analyzed the past 150 years of theorizing about consciousness he comes to the conclusion that „no hypothesis is held sacred in consciousness science“. This overly pessimistic picture is in stark contrast with the recent successes of the most impactful research program in consciousness science, the “NCC-program” initiated by Crick and Koch in the 90s. The aim of my thesis is to find out if there really is an underdetermination problem in consciousness science and if it ultimately prevents the NCC-program from succeeding. The two main factors feeding into this fear are a lack of consensus on how to measure consciousness and a resistant pessimism against the justificatory role of reports. In my thesis I introduce underdetermination by evidence as a general feature of science and investigate if and how the above factors render it permanent in consciousness science. It is only at this point where underdetermination becomes problematic. After that I assess if we can evade its permanency by means of theory-neutral criteria and arguments for a specific measurement or for the reliability of reports. However, if there are no theory-neutral grounds to take off from I aim to give a plausible argument for the permanency of underdetermination in consciousness science. Finally, I evaluate the consequences of the respective outcome of my analysis and elaborate how consciousness science can cope.
FundingSalaried research position, RTG 2386 "Extrospection"
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Holger Lyre
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 3: Structural models of phenomenality
Topic 8: Brain Reading and extrospection
Degrees obtained
InstituteOtto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg, Institute of Philosophy
Cohort2020
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailmarlo.passler-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Prof. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes
Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen 
Representation of feature-continuous orientation in high and low visual imagery vividness 
Doctoral projectRepresentation of feature-continuous orientation in high and low visual imagery vividness
DescriptionVisual Mental Imagery (VMI), the ability to generate depictive mental representations of visual content in the absence of external visual stimulation, has been proposed as a possible cognitive strategy to remember visual stimuli in a Visual Working Memory (VWM) context (Kosslyn et al., 2001; Keogh & Pearson, 2011, 2014). However, the ability to generate VMI varies substantially across individuals (Cui et al., 2007; Lee et al., 2012; Dijkstra et al., 2017), leading to the assumption that individuals with low VMI vividness might not rely on their visual stores (Cocchini et al., 2002) but instead use alternative, non-visual cognitive strategies to solve VWM tasks (Pearson & Keogh, 2019). According to this view, the cognitive strategy used to solve a VWM task would determine the format in which a stimulus is represented in the brain, and consequently influence how much information about the stimulus is present in a given sensory store. In my PhD project, I systematically investigate the influence of VMI vividness on the strength of mnemonic representations in the visual store during VWM, using fMRI. If successful, this project will get us closer to a detailed understanding of individual differences in mental representations, and which brain regions are involved in their respective realizations. Only by knowing how precisely a given mental content is represented within an individual brain, we can refine our methods to infer and predict these contents from a third-person perspective. Therefore, by highlighting the role of individual differences in the maintenance of stimulus representations, I hope to provide a valuable contribution to the advancement of Extrospection as a viable research tool.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. John-Dylan Haynes
Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen
RTG topicsTopic 8: Brain Reading and extrospection
Degrees obtained
InstituteBernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin; Charité - Universitätsmedizin, Berlin
Cohort2018
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailsweber-please remove this text-@bccn-berlin.de
Researchgatehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simon_Weber14
Prof. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
 
Affective neuroscience in psychiatry: The case of anhedonia 
Doctoral projectAffective neuroscience in psychiatry: The case of anhedonia
DescriptionThis study will investigate the trait anhedonia in healthy subjects using various intro- and extrospective measures. Our aim is to find reliable correlations between self-report, behavioural results and fMRI data for the four components of anhedonia: anticipation, consummation, effort, and learning. We will then validate our experimental findings in everyday life through ecological momentary assessment via smartphone. Finally, we will discuss possible philosophical implications of the empirical study.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Dr. Henrik Walter
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 4: Introspection, extrospection and denial of privileged access in psychiatry
Topic 10:  Levels of extrospection in psychiatry
Degrees obtained
InstituteResearch Division of Mind and Brain, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Cohort2018
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailsarah.wellan-please remove this text-@charite.de
Prof. Dr. Michael Pauen
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
 
Epistemology of extrospection 
Doctoral projectEpistemology of extrospection
DescriptionHow is it empirically possible to know what a person is consciously experiencing based on measurements of their reports, behavior, or brain activity? Many philosophers and scientists have raised doubts whether and how conscious experiences can be adequately detected, identified, or predicted by scientific procedures. The variety of problems on which these doubts are based culminate in the claims of pessimists that there are neither well-validated and sufficiently reliable measures of consciousness, nor are there adequate strategies to establish such measures. In a slogan, consciousness science suffers from fundamental deficits. In my PhD thesis, I defend an optimistic stance towards the empirical measurability of consciousness. I argue that consciousness is not epistemologically special, and can in principle be measured in the same way as other natural phenomena. The main research question I discuss is how scientists are able to justify treating a particular observable property or response as a useful, valid, and reliable indication of consciousness. First, I argue that the main epistemic problem is a lack of criteria for informing, correcting, and trumping markers of consciousness by others markers. This leads to a strong epistemic dependence on pre-theoretical and introspection-based guiding rules used to justify the adequacy of specific measurements. Second, I argue that an epistemic iterative approach is suitable for developing criteria that make plausible when guiding rules can be informed, corrected, or trumped by other guiding rules. I show that for this we need to use models, standardization procedures, or theories to distinguish more reliable from less reliable guiding rules in the iterative process through mutual manipulation and adaptation. Additionally, I show that reliability qualifies as a defeasible marker to justify measures of consciousness when we consider consciousness domain-specifically.
FundingRTG doctoral position
SupervisorsProf. Dr. Michael Pauen
Prof. Dr. Sascha Benjamin Fink
RTG topicsTopic 1: Epistemology of extrospection
Topic 7: Extrospection and confidence judgements in metacognitive tasks
Degrees obtained
InstituteInstitute of Philosophy, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Cohort2018
StatusDoctoral candidate
E-mailali.yasar-please remove this text-@hu-berlin.de
Homepagewww.aliyasar.de
Researchgatehttps://www.researchgate.net/profile/https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ali_Yasar2
Academia.eduhttps://hu-berlin.academia.edu/AliYasar