SC5: Self-Consciousness and Intersubjectivity


Self-consciousness refers to the subjective experience of one´s own mental states including perceptions, judgments, thoughts, or intentions-to-act. It is closely linked to intersubjectivity based on the presuppose the capacity to differentiate between one´s own and others mental states, and the capacity to adequately ascribe mental states to others in order to explain or predict the behavior of our interaction partners. The course will not only cover theoretical, but will also present empirical approaches to self-consciousness and intersubjectivity. Finally, we will discuss the relevance for psychopathological conditions with a focus on schizophrenia and autism. The course integrates findings and insights from philosophy, psychology, cognitive neuroscience and psychopathology.


Conceptually, we will explore self-consciousness and intersubjectivity within the theoretical framework of analytical philosophy of mind.
Methodologically, we will study the different psychological processes and neural mechanisms addressing the complex phenomena of self-consciousness and intersubjectivity (including mentalizing, perspective taking, agency, and nonverbal communication. Finally, we will discuss the explanatory potential of both concepts for different psychopathological conditions (e.g. schizophrenia, autism).


Vogeley K: Two social brains: neural mechanisms of intersubjectivity. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2017, Aug 19;372(1727); doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0245
Alcala-Lopez D, Smallwood J, Jefferies E, Van Overwalle F, Vogeley K, Mars RB, Turetsky BI, Laird AR, Fox PT, Eickhoff SB, Bzdok D: Computing the social brain connectome across systems and states. Cerebral Cortex 2017, May 18:1-26; doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhx121
Pfeiffer U, Schilbach L, Timmermans B, Kuzmanovic B, Georgescu A, Bente G, Vogeley K: Why we interact: On the Functional Role of the Striatum in the Subjective Experience of Social Interaction. Neuroimage 101C, 124-137, 2014; doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.06.061
Kuzmanovic B, Schilbach L, Georgescu AL, Kockler H, Santos NS, Shah NJ, Bente G, Fink GR, Vogeley K: Dissociating animacy processing in high-functioning autism: neural correlates of stimulus properties and subjective ratings. Soc Neurosci. 2014;9(3):309-25; doi: 10.1080/17470919.2014.886618
Georgescu AL, Kuzmanovic B, Roth D, Bente G, Vogeley K: The use of virtual characters to assess and train non-verbal communication in high-functioning autism. Front Hum Neurosci, 2014, Oct 15;8:807; doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2014.00807

Course location

Hörsaal 3

Course requirements


Instructor information.

Kai Vogeley


Prof. Dr. Dr. Kai Vogeley is a neurologist, psychiatrist and philosopher with a research focus in social cognitive neuroscience and autism research. He is head of the research group “Social Cognition” at the Cognitive Neuroscience division (INM-3) at JÜLICH. He is also professor for psychiatry at the University Hospital of Cologne, where he runs the Autism Outpatient Clinic. He is a member of the external scientific advisory board of “Autismus Deutschland”, the largest organisation of persons with autism and their relatives with currently more than 8.000 members. Together with Prof. Christine Freitag (Frankfurt) he is responsible for the development of the national clinical S3 guidelines on autism spectrum disorders over the lifespan (representative of the “German Association for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics”; “Deutsche Gesellschaft für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie, Psychosomatik und Nervenheilkunde (DGPPN)”). His research interests cover spatial and mental perspective taking (mentalising, theory of mind) and agency, as well as nonverbal communication, gaze perception and joint attention. He has published more than 120 peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals and more than 80 book chapters. The work of his research group has been funded by national and international institutions (DFG; BMBF; EC: FP6; Volkswagen Foundation) and by the German Excellence Initiative. Kai Vogeley is member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed journals Social Neuroscience, Culture and Brain, Frontiers in Consciousness Research (open access), Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (open access). From 2014 to 2016 he serves as president of the German Society for Cognitive Science (“Gesellschaft für Kognitionswissenschaft (GK)”).