Welcome to the Schubotz lab!

Expectation and surprise shape our lives. They are essential for our feelings and memories, our actions and interactions with others. But our brain also constantly generates expectations and processes surprises without us being aware of it.

Our lab seeks to understand these cerebral mechanisms of expectation and surprise. How do expectations arise in the first place, and under what circumstances will they be adjusted? How do event predictions occur, especially based on abstract stimulus sequences, actions of others, and other minds? What is the role of internal models in generating predictions, and how do these models mutate (reflecting flexibility) or persevere (reflecting stability)? How do prediction errors help us learn, and what role does dopamine play these processes? You can find an overview of our current projects here.

For addressing conceptual questions such as those mentioned above, we use different approaches including functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), skin conductance responses (SCR), behavior measurements, computational modeling. Further, we are constantly adding new techniques to our usual repertoire, such as recording body movements with a 3D camera system and eye movements with eye trackers. To establish more direct links between our hypotheses and observations, we use neuro-navigated Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) to temporarily influence prediction-related functions of individual brain areas.

If you are interested in participating in one of our current studies, please check here for information.