A paper titled “Impairments in the Visual Processing of Global Biological Motion Cues in Down Syndrome” has been published in the journal Perception as part of a joint project between the OCC PhD students Hugh Riddell and José Walter Tolentino-Castro. OCC members Markus Lappe and Heiko Wagner also contributed to the project. The authors found that individuals with Down syndrome performed significantly worse than control subjects in a task requiring the discrimination of visually presented videos of walking people. The results suggest that this difference in performance may stem from an impaired ability to process the global configural cues related to the organisation of the human body, which are necessary for the perception of biological motion.
This year's OCC Retreat was held at the Institute of Psychology on July 7. The OCC PhD students presented the current state of their projects in talks and poster presentations. The contributions were of very high quality and especially the diversity of the covered topics was impressive. After the talks, everybody was eager to get outside to have a few drinks and BBQ in the green area surrounding the institute. The main sporting activity was "Viking chess" (Kubb), where OCC members and students mingled to conclude the evening in a relaxed atmosphere (see pictures here).
Neuroscience in School
In May, some of our OCC PhD students visited a fourth grade in the Kardinal-von-Galen Elementary School, Münster-Handorf. Together with their teacher, Babette Havers, the kids had learned about brain research during a two-week project. The teaching unit, including specifically designed material and the interactive robot "Herr Tie", was developed and made publicly available by the Hertie Foundation. The OCC organizes the school visits in Münster in collaboration with the Hertie Foundation. Using the material, the students learned about our sensory systems and tackled questions like "Why is the brain folded?" and "How do nerve cells communicate?". To conclude the project, our OCC experts visited the school for an intense question-and-answer session. They also gave an impression of their research and showed pictures illustrating their daily work. The project will continue during the next school year. Interested schools and teachers can contact the OCC coordinator.