Schwiedrzik, Caspar M., Dr.

Group Leader

  • 2003-2008: University of Konstanz, Germany, studies of Psychology
  • 2008-2011: Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt a. M., Germany, PhD student, advisor Prof. Wolf Singer
  • 2012-2016: The Rockefeller University, New York, USA, Postdoc, advisor Prof. Winrich Freiwald
  • Since 2017: Group Leader, Neural Circuits and Cognition Lab, European Neuroscience Institute, Göttingen, Germany
  • Since 2019: Group Leader, Perception and Plasticity Group, German Primate Center, Göttingen, Germany

Major Research Interests

Learning is a core building block of intelligent behavior. It endows complex systems with flexibility to adjust to changing environments and with the capacity to generalize to novel situations. We pursue the idea that inroads into understanding learning and generalization can be made in the visual system, where these complex problems can be broken down into tractable hypotheses. Visual processing hierarchies provide an ideal testing ground and offer unique opportunities to unravel the role of feedforward and feedback message passing along the hierarchy as a function of learning and generalization. To this end, we capitalize on combining noninvasive neuroimaging with electrophysiological recordings and causal manipulations of brain activity in non-human primates, and parallel experiments using fMRI in humans. We investigate learning at multiple time scales, from learning effects that build up within seconds to learning effects that take days and weeks to materialize, and across levels of complexity, from learning to discriminate simple visual features to high-level associative and statistical learning. Our overall goal is to determine the neural basis of the visual system’s capacity to learn and generalize through an explicitly comparative approach - a necessary step towards understanding the human mind and its complexity.

Homepage Department/Research Group

Selected Recent Publications

  • Schwiedrzik CM & Sudmann SS (2020) Pupil Diameter Tracks Statistical Structure in the Environment to Increase Visual Sensitivity. Journal of Neuroscience 40(23): 4565-4575.
  • Schwiedrzik CM, Sudmann SS, Thesen T, Wang X, Groppe DM, Mégevand P, Doyle W, Mehta AD, Devinsky O, Melloni L (2018). Medial prefrontal cortex supports perceptual memory. Current Biology, 28(18): R1094-R1095.
  • Schwiedrzik CM, Freiwald WA (2017). High-level prediction signals in a low-level area of the macaque face-processing hierarchy. Neuron, 96(1): 89-97.
  • Schwiedrzik CM, Bernstein B, Melloni L (2016). Motion along the mental number line reveals shared representations for numerosity and space. eLife, 5:e10806.
  • Schwiedrzik CM, Zarco W, Everling S, Freiwald WA (2015) Face patch resting state networks link face processing to social cognition. PLoS Biology 13(9): e1002245.
  • 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):1152-64.