Focus Theme 2012:

"Emotion and Aesthetics"

Each IK has a special focus theme, which is addressed by about 60 % of the material taught at an IK.

Emotion and Aesthetics have received increasing attention from researchers in brain science and artificial intelligence in the last decade. Recent progress work has shown how emotions are an integral part of brain functioning and behavior and that aesthetic considerations influence our perception and decision making. This has led to the development of "affective science", an area which combines neuroscience, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, philosophy, and art to explore the influence of emotions and aesthetics on human behavior. With its focus theme on "Emotion and Aesthetics", the IK 2012 will provide an interdisciplinary view of affective science with a range of courses from cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience and neural computation. Specific IK courses will address the neural correlates of emotion and aesthetics, the influence of emotions on behavior and motivation, and psychological and neurobiological approaches to music and film. There will be also courses on "affective computing", a quickly developing field of artificial methods to both understand, generate and communicate emotions in a human-machine framework, including robotics approaches.

IK 2012 Program

Basic Courses

  • BC1: Computational Neuroscience  (Julien Vitay, University of Chemnitz)
    BC2: Neurobiology (Ansgar Büschges, University of Cologne)
    BC3: Artificial Intelligence (Alexandra Kirsch, Technische Universität München)
    BC4: Philosophical issues in human affectivity (Achim Stephan and
    Wendy Wilutzky, University of Osnabrück)

Method Courses

  • MC1: Neuroimaging (Jessica Grahn, University of Western Ontario)
    MC2: Aesthetics  (Kathleen Stock, University of Sussex)
    MC3: Statistics: Significance and beyond (Peter Sedlmeier, University of Chemnitz)
    MC4: Machine Learning and neural networks (Herbert Jaeger, Jacobs University of Bremen)

Special Courses

Emotional Neuroscience

  • SC1: Neural Substrates for Action Selection: The Basal Ganglia (Mark Humphries,  ENS Paris / University of Sheffield)
  • SC2: Neuroeconomics and pleasure (Oliver Hulme,  Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre)
  • SC3: Emotion and Neurorobotics (Paul Verschure, University Pompeu Fabra)
  • SC4: Neural Mechanisms of Emotional Attention (Tobias Brosch, University of Geneva)

Psychology and Philosophy of Emotions and Aesthetics

  • SC5: Music and the Brain (Manfred Spitzer, University of Ulm)
  • SC6: Emotion in Music (Alexandra Lamont, Keele University)
  • SC7: Issues in Musical Aesthetics (Justin London, Carleton College)
  • SC8: Communication of Emotions (Disa Sauter, University of Amsterdam)

Synthetic Emotions and Robotics

  • SC9: Human-Robot Interactions (Kerstin Dautenhahn, University of Hertfordshire)
  • SC10: Affective Computing (Dirk Reichardt, DhBW Stuttgart)
  • SC11: Social Robotics (Christian Werner Becker-Asano, University of Freiburg)
  • SC12: Aikido - A Martial Art with Aesthetics and Emotions  (Thomas Christaller)


  • SC13: Digital Media (Rainer Malaka, University of Bremen)
  • SC14: Language and emotions (Gerhard Heyer, University of Leipzig)
  • C15: Cognitive Flexibility and Basal Ganglia (Andrea Stocco, University of Washington)
  • SC16: Harmony of the Brain (Gerald Langner, TU Darmstadt)

Practical Courses

  • PC1: Programming Autonomy (Hana Boukricha and Nhung Nguyen, University of  Bielefeld)
  • PC2: Dance in the body, the mind and the brain (Bettina Bläsing, University of  Bielefeld)
  • PC3: Aesthetics in Visual Perception (Gregor Hardiess, University of Tübingen)

Rainbow Courses

  • RC1: Multivariate decoding of neural data: Introduction and hands-on, Kai Goergen (BCCN Berlin)
  • RC2: Investigating psychiatric conditions with functional MRI, Ronald Sladky (Medical University of Vienna)
  • RC3: Non-linguistic metaphor & dance, Lcey Okonski (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Evening Lectures

  • Complexity and Wisdom (Gert Scobel, Oberreifenberg)
  • Machines that act like persons (Ipke Wachsmuth, Bielefeld University)
  • Really Bad Music (Justin London, Carleton College)



Executive Committee