Prof. Dr. med. Dr. h.c. mult. Wolf Singer

Ernst-Strüngmann-Institute in Cooperation with Max-Planck-Society and Max-Planck-Institute for Brain Research
Emeritus Group
Deutschordenstrasse 46
D-60528 Frankfurt am Main

Tel +49 69-96769 218
Fax +49 69-96769 327


Scientific Focus

Key Words
Functional organization of the cerebral cortex
Neuronal correlates of cognitive functions

Research statement
Research focuses on the analysis of neuronal mechanisms underlying higher cognitive functions, in particular visual perception, attentional mechanisms, and short-term memory. Particular emphasis is layed on the question how the numerous parallel computations occurring simultaneously in the cerebral cortex are bound together in order to assure coherence of cognition. The approach is experimental and comprises measurements of neuronal activity in animals, healthy subjects and patients. Close collaborations exist with the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies (FIAS) in the domain of computational neuroscience and with the Clinics for Psychiatry and Neurology of Frankfurt University.


Electrophysiological measurements in nonhuman primates are complemented by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) for the identification of functional networks at a more global scale.
In order to validate principles of organization discovered in the animal experiments and to generate baseline data for studies in patients, electroencephalographic (EEG), magnetoencephalographic (MEG) and MRI measurements are performed in human subjects performing similar cognitive tasks as the non-human primates. The same methods are then applied for the investigation of patients suffering from psychiatric diseases that we suspect to be associated with disturbed temporal coordination of distributed brain processes.

Selected Publications

Singer W, Lazar A (2016) Does the cerebral cortex exploit high-dimensional, non-linear dynamics for information processing? Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience 10, 99: 1-10

Genc E, Bergmann J, Singer W, Kohler A (2015) Surface area of early visual cortex predicts individual speed of traveling. Cerebral Cortex 25: 1499-1508

Schwiedrzik CM, Ruff CC, Lazar A, Leitner FC, Singer W, Melloni L (2014) Untangling perceptual memory: Hysteresis and adaptation map into separate cortical networks. Cerebral Cortex 24(5): 1152-1164

Singer W (2013) Cortical dynamics revisited. Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17(12): 616-626

Aru J, Axmacher N, Do Lam ATA, Fell J, Elger CE, Singer W, Melloni L (2012) Local category-specific gamma band responses in the visual cortex do not reflect conscious perception. The Journal of Neuroscience 32(43): 14909-14914

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