The question of how the human mind represents the internal and external world plays a major role in theories of human cognition. Central to this question is the distinction between modal vs. amodal representational formats. It has often been assumed that one or the other of these two types of representations underlies cognitive processing in a certain domain of cognition (e.g., mental imagery, language). In the present proposal, however, we assume that in most cognitive domains both formats play a major role. We believe that a comprehensive theory of cognition requires a solid understanding of these representational formats and their functional roles within and across different domains of cognition, the developmental trajectory of these representational formats and their role in dysfunctional behavior. This research unit aims at such an overarching perspective that brings together the scattered research from different subdisciplines of psychology on modal and amodal representational formats to unravel their functional principles and their interactions.
Prof. Dr. Markus Janczyk is PI of the research unit’s projects A2 (“Amodal and modal representations in planning and control of human action“, with Prof. Dr. Volker Franz, University of Tübingen) and A4 ("Executive functions: Are amodal representations involved in proactive control?", with Dr. Carolin Dudschig and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Leuthold, University of Tübingen).