Our research focus
Is it possible to increase the performance of memory?
What is the hidden potential of the brain and what are its limits?
How can the brain’s cognitive potential be mobilized and enhanced?
The architecture of our brain provides biological limits for the performance of memory, attention, and our capacity for learning; this is evident on both the micro and macro scale. However, there is large variability within these limits and individual cognitive abilities can be improved through directed training. The goal of our Collaborative Research Center (CRC) is to uncover the performance limits of the human brain and to explore methodological approaches for improving this performance. We aim to understand which neurobiological principles limit cognitive resources and how these resources can be fully accessed or even enhanced. Further, we will identify new ways to preserve neural resources across the lifespan with targeted interventions.
More than 40 scientists in 22 individual projects are currently working in our CRC towards this exciting neuroscientific topic, which is also highly relevant in our current society.
Using the latest neuroscientific technologies and innovative methods, human and animal experimental studies will examine individual variability and transferable improvement in cognitive function. We place a specific focus on how performance improvements in one task can be transferred to other tasks and when task performance comes at the expense of other abilities. We also ask, why do cognitive abilities decline with age? And what are the tremendous resources of “super-agers”? Further, we are investigating how molecular and biochemical processes affect cognitive performance, for instance, with the deposition of tau and amyloid in the brain, or those that occur with sleep deprivation or other environmental influences. This project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and encompasses both the Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg and the Leibniz Institute of Neurobiology, as well as the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Magdeburg site, Freie Universität Berlin, Charitè Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and the universities of Düsseldorf, Heidelberg, and Göttingen.