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Arbeitsbereich Biopsychologie

Arbeitsbereich Biopsychologie

Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Room JK 27/238
14195 Berlin
+49 (0)30 838-556 17

Office hours

Thu 15-16h and by appointment.
(During term break by appointment only.)

If we take the view that humans are, on the one hand, closely connected with other creatures in the sense of an evolutionary continuity, but that on the other, we have to grant that humans occupy a special position, it is only logical for researchers to try to understand the dual nature of human beings as both creatures of nature and cultural entities. As biopsychologists, we pursue this guiding principle by taking the divergent paths of the scientific and the cultural, or humanities-related, perspective seriously as complementary angles from which to view psychology as a science of behavior and perception. These perspectives are fundamentally different in their methods and in how they arrive at findings. If, however, we were to take only one of them seriously, the field of psychology – as the scientific study of the human being – would be incomplete.


The teaching, learning, and research activities in our division follow three main overarching goals:


1. Exploration of the natural-science aspects of human experience, especially the biological bases for human behavior and perceptions. This includes two main lines of research:


First, we want to better understand why, on a very general level, human beings have turned out precisely as they are. To find the answers, we take a functional and historical approach aimed not only at cultural history, but also, and primarily, at the phylogeny (evolution) of animals and humans. Genetic and ontogenetic perspectives supplement this approach so that we can clarify how the specific appearance of an individual person develops from the interaction of that person’s genotype and environment.


On the other hand, we also want to better understand how human beings actually function, and what physical processes fundamentally underlie human behavior and perceptions. That means we explore the physical foundations of what it is to be human, with the brain and the body coming equally into consideration in their interrelationships.


2. Examination of psychological phenomena as both mental and physical matters, including the development of psychophysiological methods, examination strategies, and methods of arriving at conclusions.


3. Clarification of the natural history of culture, taking into account both biological and cultural evolution (coevolution) – biopsychological anthropology: human beings as creatures of nature and culture, considered from the point of view of both biological and cultural sciences.