Research Project for Master Student

Dynamic, probabilistic models of perceptual decision making

We are looking for a highly motivated Master student who is interested in working in an interdisciplinary team at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, on the question of how humans integrate information from changing sensory input to decide which of a set of stimuli is presented to them ('perceptual decision making'). The group leader and an experienced post-doc will closely supervise the thesis work.


  • familiarize with existing models of perceptual decision making with changing sensory input
  • derive experimental predictions from such a model
  • investigate influence of model components on predictions, i.e., ensure robustness of predictions


  • motivation and interest in working in an interdisciplinary team (we also closely cooperate with experimental researchers in the field of cognitive neuroscience with psychological and medical background)
  • knowledge of the scientific programming language Matlab (desirable)
  • basic knowledge about probability and Bayesian statistics (desirable)
  • basic knowledge about artificial neural networks (desirable)
  • experience with nonlinear, dynamical systems (desirable)

What you can learn

  • interdisciplinary teamwork in a vibrant research group
  • advanced Matlab programming
  • scientific work at a renowned research institute
  • probabilistic inference for dynamical systems (recognition of patterns in continuous, sequential data)

About us

The research group Modelling of dynamic perception and action works in the field of Computational Neuroscience on the development of neurobiologically plausible mechanisms which explain how our brain quickly and robustly processes sequences of sensory stimuli. Using nonlinear dynamical systems and Bayesian inference, we investigate how decision making can be explained as a function of a dynamic, hierarchically structured agent, based on neuronal networks.

A hallmark of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences is the close connection between basic research in cognitive neuroscience and technological development of related methods. This is enabled by strong interdisciplinary (psychology, computer science, medicine, physics) links and an open, international environment. Our research group itself consists of computer scientists, mathematicians and cognitive scientists.


If you require further information about the research project, or have related organizational questions, please contact Dr. Sebastian Bitzer. To apply for this project, please email him your CV, highlighting, in particular, your experience with related methods, and a short, informal statement of your specific research interests. We are looking forward to hearing from you!