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Professor Michael Ziessler

0151 291 3882

My research interests are in the fields of motor control, implicit learning, concept formation, attention and perception. Based on the idea that our cognition has the function to control the organism's state in the environment, I try to integrate these different areas with each other. Consequently, my research is led by the assumption that the necessities and demands set by the control of behaviour determine perception, attention control, learning and the organisation of knowledge in memory. An important result of this research consists in the finding that the control of motor actions involves the anticipation of the consequences or effects of these actions in the environment. I could show that the learning of effects of motor actions is a basic cognitive process. Whenever we plan a motor action, even in form of a simple motor reaction, we anticipate the effects and use these effects in turn to control the action. The fact that our cognitive system automatically learns the effects of any motor behaviour via the anticipation of effects has consequences for other cognitive processes such as perception, attention control and implicit learning. For example, as we could show in our experiments, implicit learning (learning by doing) can be explained by action-effect learning. Other authors have argued that perception mainly depends on the anticipated effects of eye movements on the picture on the retina. Thus, it is of high importance to follow this research programme further to investigate how action effects are learned and used for action control and how this affects functioning of the whole cognitive system.