Bernhard Hommel

Bernhard Hommel
Technische Universität Dresden | TUD · Department of Psychology

Prof. Dr.

About

542
Publications
151,975
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30,480
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 1999 - April 2016
Leiden University
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 1990 - September 1999

Publications

Publications (542)
Article
Förster and Dannenberg's (2010) GLOMOsys theory claims that people process perceived events and internal information in a more global or more local processing mode and that adopted modes should transfer to other, unrelated tasks. If so, global/local processing modes would qualify as metacontrol states that are assumed to regulate processing dilemma...
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Standard clinical and psychiatric thinking follows a unipolar logic ranging from “normal” conditions that are characterized by optimal performance in everyday life to atypical conditions that deviate from “normality” in systematic ways. A similar logic has been used to describe cognitive control, assuming that optimal control abilities are characte...
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Commonsense and theorizing about action control agree in assuming that human behavior is (mainly) driven by goals, but no mechanistic theory of what goals are, where they come from, and how they impact action selection is available. Here I develop such a theory that is based on the assumption that GOALs guide Intentional Actions THrough criteria (G...
Preprint
The functions of nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI) consist of social and emotional aspects (Social influence, Sensation seeking, Internal and External emotion regulation). Previous studies have indicated that dysfunction in reward-related brain structures especially the striatum might drive this habitual behavior. However, no studies to date have inve...
Article
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are multi-faceted neuropsychiatric conditions that in many aspects appear to be each other's antipodes. We suggest a dimensional approach, according to which these partially opposing disorders fall onto a continuum that reflects variability regarding alterations...
Preprint
Numerous studies demonstrate that moment-to-moment neural variability is behaviorally relevant and beneficial for tasks and behaviors requiring cognitive flexibility. However, it remains unclear whether the positive effect of neural variability also holds for cognitive persistence. Moreover, different brain variability measures have been used in pr...
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Standard accounts of mental health are based on a “deficit view” solely focusing on cognitive impairments associated with psychiatric conditions. Based on the principle of neural competition, we suggest an alternative. Rather than focusing on deficits, we should focus on the cognitive potential that selective dysfunctions might bring with them. Our...
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According to the Theory of Event Coding, both perceived and self-produced events are coded by binding codes of the features of these events into event files. Here I argue that distinguishing between the actual binding process and the retrieval of event files is empirically difficult but theoretically important. As a first step towards disentangling...
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There is evidence that planning an action relies on binding codes of the relevant features of that action into an action plan. Such binding is indicated by the observation that planning a novel action is impaired if it shares some but not all features with another action that is held in memory for later execution. Most previous studies have focused...
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To achieve higher-level goals, cognitive flexibility is essential. Cognitive theories assume that the activation/deactivation of goals and task rules is central to understand cognitive flexibility. However, how this activation/deactivation dynamic is implemented on a neurophysiology level is unclear. Using EEG-based MVPA methods, we show that activ...
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Background The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected humans worldwide and led to unprecedented stress and mortality. Detrimental effects of the pandemic on mental health, including risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), have become an increasing concern. The identification of prospective neurobiological vulnerability markers fo...
Article
We used the virtual hand illusion paradigm to investigate the effect of physical load on perceived agency and body ownership. Participants pulled a resistance band that required exerting a force of 1 N, 10 N, or 20 N while operating a virtual hand that moved in synchronous or out of sync with their own hand. Explicit agency and ownership ratings we...
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Efficient transfer of concepts and mechanistic insights from the cognitive to the health sciences and back require a clear, objective description of the problem that this transfer ought to solve. Unfortunately, however, the actual descriptions are commonly penetrated with, and sometimes even motivated by cultural norms and preferences, which has co...
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Attitudes (or opinions, preferences, biases, stereotypes) can be considered bindings of the perceptual features of the attitudes’ object to affective codes with positive or negative connotations, which effectively renders them “event files” in terms of the Theory of Event Coding. We tested a particularly interesting implication of this theoretical...
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People are assumed to represent themselves in terms of body ownership and agency. Studies using the rubber- or virtual-hand illusion have assessed ownership and agency by means of explicit ownership and agency ratings and implicit measures, like proprioceptive drift in the case of ownership. These measures often show similar effects but also some d...
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Numerous authors have taken it for granted that people represent themselves or even have something like “a self”, but the underlying mechanisms remain a mystery. How do people represent themselves? Here I propose that they do so not any differently from how they represent other individuals, events, and objects: by binding codes representing the sen...
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Two different variations of joint task switching led to different conclusions as to whether co-acting individuals share the same task-sets. The present study aimed at bridging this gap by replicating the version in which two actors performed two different tasks. Experiment 1 showed switch costs across two actors in a joint condition, which agreed w...
Preprint
Introduction: Microdosing refers to the repetitive administration of tiny doses of psychedelics (LSD, Psilocybin) over an extended period of time. This practice has been linked to alleged cognitive benefits, such as improved mood and creativity, potentiated by targeting serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors and facilitating cognitive flexibility. Nonethele...
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The exploration-exploitation trade-off shows conceptual, functional, and neural analogies with the persistence-flexibility trade-off. We investigated whether mood, which is known to modulate the persistence-flexibility balance, would similarly affect the exploration-exploitation trade-off in a foraging task. More specifically, we tested whether int...
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It is often claimed that the human self consists of perceived body ownership and agency, which are commonly assessed through explicit ownership and agency judgments and implicit measures, like proprioceptive drift, skin conductance responses, and intentional binding effects. Bottom-up multisensory integration and top-down modulation were predicted...
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Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) BOLD signal is commonly localized by using neuroanatomical atlases, which can also serve for region of interest analyses. Yet, the available MRI atlases have serious limitations when it comes to imaging subcortical structures: only 7% of the 455 subcortical nuclei are captured by current atlases. This hi...
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Romantic love has long intrigued scientists in various disciplines. Social-cognitive research has provided ample evidence for overlapping mental representations of self and romantic partner. This overlap between self and romantic partner would contribute to the experience of love and has been found to be a predictor of relationship quality. Self-pa...
Preprint
Two different variations of joint task switching led to different conclusions as to whether co-acting individuals share the same task-sets. The present study aimed at bridging this gap by replicating the version in which two actors performed two different tasks. Experiment 1 showed switch costs across two actors in a joint condition, which agreed w...
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Full-text available
Single-bout focused-attention meditation (FAM) and open-monitoring meditation (OMM) are assumed to bias metacontrol states towards more persistent versus more flexible processing, respectively. In Experiment 1, we tested whether monitoring and updating of WM representations in an N-Back task with high (3-back), medium (2-back), and low (1-back) WM...
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The enfacement illusion refers to the illusory perception that features of another face that moves in synchrony with one’s own facial movements become part of one’s own body. Here, we tested whether males whose facial movements are synchronized with a virtual female face exhibit a less pronounced implicit gender–science stereotype than males whose...
Chapter
Cognitive training is becoming increasingly popular as a topic of scientific research. We discuss possible as well as necessary future developments in this area. Among other things, we emphasize the need to develop more specific, mechanistic theories to guide cognitive training programs, discuss the combination of cognitive training with other cogn...
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For as long as half a century the Simon task-in which participants respond to a nonspatial stimulus feature while ignoring its position-has represented a very popular tool to study a variety of cognitive functions, such as attention, cognitive control, and response preparation processes. In particular, the task generates two theoretically interesti...
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Theorizing on dual- and multi-tasking has not made much progress since the early insight of Telford (1931) and Welford (1952) that response selection may represent a bottleneck in human information processing. A closer look reveals that the questions being asked in dual-task research are not particularly interesting or realistic, and the answers be...
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Cognitive enhancement is becoming progressively popular as a subject of scientific investigation and by the public, although possible adverse effects are not sufficiently understood. We call for cognitive enhancement to build on more specific, mechanistic theories given that a-theoretical approaches to cognitive enhancement are both a cause and a c...
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When facing particular combinations of stimuli and responses, people create temporary event files integrating the corresponding stimulus and response features. Repeating one or more of these features retrieves the entire event file, which impairs performance if not all features repeat (partial-repetition costs). We studied how durable event files a...
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Transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation (tVNS) has been shown to promote inferences of emotional states based on eye-related information provided by facial expressions of emotions. Eye gaze direction can influence the allocation of attentional sources when processing facial emotional stimuli. Here we sought for further evidence indicating whether tV...
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Human action control relies on representations that integrate perception and action, but the relevant research is scattered over various experimental paradigms and the theorizing is overly paradigm-specific. To overcome this obstacle we propose BRAC (binding and retrieval in action control), an overarching, integrative framework that accounts for a...
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[This corrects the article DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02643.].
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The virtual hand illusion (VHI) paradigm demonstrates that people tend to perceive agency and bodily ownership for a virtual hand that moves in synchrony with their own movements. Given that this kind of effect can be taken to reflect self–other integration (i.e., the integration of some external, novel event into the representation of oneself), an...
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The aim of the study was to throw more light on the relationship between rumination and cognitive-control processes. Seventy-eight adults were assessed with respect to rumination tendencies by means of the LEIDS-r before performing a Stroop task, an event-file task assessing the automatic retrieval of irrelevant information, an attentional set-shif...
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Creativity is a complex construct that would benefit from a more comprehensive mechanistic approach. Two processes have been defined to be central to creative cognition: divergent and convergent thinking. These two processes are most often studied using the Alternate Uses Test (heavily relying on divergent thinking), and the Remote Associates Test...
Article
Zusammenfassung. Die Kognitionspsychologische Grundlagenforschung zur Handlungskontrolle hat inzwischen eine große Zahl sehr spezifischer Aspekte von Handlungen in diversen Experimentalparadigmen isoliert und beleuchtet, sodass der gegenwärtige Forschungsstand durch eine kaum übersehbare Flut unverbundener Phänomene und paradigmen-spezifischer Mode...
Chapter
Increasing evidence suggests that altered states of consciousness (ASC) are associated with both positive and negative effects on components of creative performance, and convergent and divergent thinking in particular. We provide a metacontrol framework that allows characterizing factors that induce ASC in terms of their general impact on the infor...
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Social cognition emerged in the 1970s and 80s as an attempt to answer social-psychological questions by adopting experimental techniques and theoretical concepts from cognitive psychology. Recently, cognitive psychologists began to build complementary bridges between cognitive and social psychology by showing increasing interest in the cognitive im...
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Everyday thinking and scientific theorizing about human action control are equally driven by the apparently obvious contrast between will and habit or, in their more modern disguise: intentional and automatic processes, and model-based and model-free action planning. And yet, no comprehensive category system to systematically tell truly willed from...
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In this article, we challenge the usefulness of “attention” as a unitary construct and/or neural system. We point out that the concept has too many meanings to justify a single term, and that “attention” is used to refer to both the explanandum (the set of phenomena in need of explanation) and the explanans (the set of processes doing the explainin...
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Adaptive behavioral control involves a balance between top-down persistence and flexible updating of goals under changing demands. According to the metacontrol state model (MSM), this balance emerges from the interaction between the frontal and the striatal dopaminergic system. The attentional blink (AB) task has been argued to tap into the interac...
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Few articles in psychology and cognitive neuroscience do without the promise to get into the “mechanisms underlying” particular psychological phenomena. And yet the progress in our mechanistic understanding of human cognition and behavior must be considered disappointing: Most “explanations” merely classify the phenomenon under investigation as fal...
Article
Converging evidence seems to suggest that affect and cognitive control are related in interesting ways, and some researchers have suggested that affect may play a causal, or at least otherwise interesting role in cognitive control. Here I discuss reasons to believe that these claims are either unfounded or based on a conceptual misunderstanding. Th...
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This article provides an update of the Theory of Event Coding (TEC), which claims that perception and action are identical processes operating on the same codes – event files consisting of integrated networks of sensorimotor feature codes. The original version of the theory emphasized its representational underpinnings, but recent theoretical devel...
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Creativity is a compelling but heterogeneous phenomenon. As opposed to big-C creativity, which is regarded as limited to the rare brilliant mind, little-c creativity is indispensable in adaptive everyday behavior, serving to adjust to changing circumstances and challenges. Computational approaches help demystify human creativity by offering insight...
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How do we manage to shield our goals against distraction? Traditionally, this ability has been attributed to top-down cognitive control, which is assumed to monitor for, and intervene in case of response conflicts. However, this account has been challenged by episodic-retrieval views, which attribute sequential modulations of conflict effects to bo...
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Virtual-hand-illusion studies often use explicit and implicit measures of body ownership but no agreed-on implicit measure of agency exists. We investigated whether the Intentional Binding (IB) effect could serve as such a measure. A pilot study confirmed that current consistency increases both perceived agency and IB. In three experiments, current...
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Voluntary action control is accomplished through anticipating that action’s perceptual outcomes. Some evidence suggests that this is only true when responses are intention-based rather than stimulus-based and that this difference is evidence of different response modes. More recently, however, it has been shown that response-outcome retrieval effec...
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Seeing another person's face while that face and one's own face are stroked synchronously or controlling a virtual face by moving one's own induces the illusion that the other face has become a part of oneself-the enfacement effect. Here, we demonstrate that humans can enface even members of another species and that this enfacement promotes "featur...
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There is substantial interest in the possibility that cognitive skills can be improved by dedicated behavioral training. Yet despite the large amount of work being conducted in this domain, there is not an explicit and widely agreed upon consensus around the best methodological practices. This document seeks to fill this gap. We start from the pers...
Article
Accumulating theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that task-irrelevant mood states have specific effects on insightful and analytical problem solving, but few studies have directly related those states to these two problem-solving strategies. The present research investigated the impact of pre-existing mood and experimentally induced mood st...
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Previous rubber/virtual hand illusion studies have established important constraints for the illusion that an artificial effector becomes part of one’s own body (perceived ownership), and that its actions are being caused by oneself (perceived agency). We can take these observed constraints to establish two of three Wegner’s (Trends Cogn Sci 7:65–6...
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We argue that stimulus uncertainty induces a cognitive state that can be linked to a concept that has been formerly described as 'curiosity' (Berlyne, 1949) - a state that motivates the agent to reduce the uncertainty by exploring it. In two attention filtering tasks we varied response compatibility and stimulus congruency. In addition, we manipula...
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Many psychologists and neuroscientists still see executive functions as independent, domain-general, supervisory functions, that are often dissociated from more “low-level” associative learning. Here, we suggest that executive functions very much build on associative learning, and argue that executive functions might be better understood as culture...
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To elucidate the working mechanism behind anthropomorphism, this study investigated whether human participants would anthropomorphize a robot more if they move synchronously versus non-synchronously with it, and whether this is affected by which of the two initiates the movements. We tested two competing hypotheses. The feature-overlap hypothesis p...
Article
Studies on joint task performance have proposed that co-acting individuals co-represent the shared task context, which implies that actors integrate their co-actor's task components into their own task representation as if they were all their own task. This proposal has been supported by results of joint tasks in which each actor is assigned a sing...
Article
Cognitive control requires a balance between persistence and flexibility. We studied inter- and intraindividual differences in the metacontrol bias towards persistence or flexibility in cognitive search tasks from various cognitive domains that require continuous switching between persistence and flexibility. For each task, clustering and switching...
Article
There is substantial interest in the possibility that cognitive skills can be improved by dedicated behavioral training. Yet despite the large amount of work being conducted in this domain, there is not an explicit and widely agreed upon consensus around the best methodological practices. This document seeks to fill this gap. We start from the pers...
Article
Full-text available
Introduction Taking microdoses (a mere fraction of normal doses) of psychedelic substances, such as truffles, recently gained popularity, as it allegedly has multiple beneficial effects including creativity and problem-solving performance, potentially through targeting serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors and promoting cognitive flexibility, crucial to cr...
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Human beings are assumed to own a concept of their self, but it remains a mystery how they represent themselves and others. I shall develop a theoretical framework, inspired by the Theory of Event Coding, of how people represent themselves and others, how and under which circumstances these two kinds of representations interact and what consequence...
Preprint
Studies on joint task performance have proposed that co-acting individuals co-represent the shared task context, which implies that actors integrate their co-actor’s task components into their own task representation as if they were all their own task. Evidence supporting this proposal has been supported by results of joint tasks in which each acto...
Article
Full-text available
Focused-attention (FA) and open-monitoring (OM) meditation techniques differ with respect to top-down control of attention. In FA states, where attention is focused on target stimuli, increased top-down control narrows attention aperture. In contrast, OM states associated with monitoring awareness weaken top-down control to broaden attention. Desp...
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With robots playing an increasing role in our daily lives, our emotional responses to them have become an active subject of study. The process of anthropomorphization, ascribing human affordances to non-human objects, is thought to play a large role in human-robot interaction. However, earlier studies have relied largely on experimenter's manipulat...
Preprint
Full-text available
Introduction: Recently popular sub-perceptual doses of psychedelic substances such as truffles, referred to as microdosing, allegedly have multiple beneficial effects including creativity and problem solving performance, potentially through targeting serotonergic 5-HT2A receptors and promoting cognitive flexibility, crucial to creative thinking. Ne...
Article
The nature of insight has been the interdisciplinary focus of scientific inquiry for over 100 years. Behavioral studies and biographical data suggest that insight, as a form of creative cognition, consists of at least four separate but intercorrelated stages as described by Wallas (1926). Yet no quantitative evidence was available for insight- or i...
Preprint
A central issue in the study of joint task performance has been one of whether co-acting individuals perform their partner’s part of the task as if it were their own. The present study addressed this issue by using joint task switching. A pair of actors shared two tasks that were presented in a random order, whereby the relevant task and actor were...