CBBM Lecture "How do we represent multiple observed actions and agents in our motor system?" by

Prof. Dr. Marcel Brass,

Department of Experimental Psychology,

Ghent University,


will take place on Tuesday, February 5, 2019 from 15:00 to 16:00 hours in CBBM, Ground Floor, Seminar Room B1/B2.

Host: Prof. Dr. Ulrike Krämer
Department of Neurology
University of Lübeck


More than two decades of behavioural and neuroimaging research has demonstrated that we simulate observed behaviour in our motor system. The question, however, how we represent multiple actions and agents has been widely neglected. In a series of experiments, we investigated whether motor simulation is stronger for observing multiple compared to single agents. Furthermore, we tested whether we can motorically simulate two different actions at the same time. Our behavioural and imaging data suggest that motor simulation is enhanced by observing multiple agents. Furthermore, we show that representing different actions leads to conflict in our motor system. Based on these findings, we call for a multiple-agent approach to social and motor cognition.


Marcel Brass is professor of cognitive neuroscience at the Department of Experimental Psychology at Ghent University, Belgium. He has studied psychology at the Free University, Berlin. Then he worked as a PhD student at the Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research in Munich where he received his PhD in 2000. After working as a research scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, he was awarded a research professorship at Ghent University in 2006. Marcel Brass is interested in the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying motor and cognitive control. More specifically, he has worked on imitation, voluntary action and cognitive flexibility. Methodologically, he uses chronometric methods, fMRI, EEG and TMS.