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Understanding social relations

DFG Extends Research Training Group
Prof. Dr. Julia Fischer, Sprecherin des Graduiertenkollegs. Foto: Oliver Möst
Prof. Dr. Julia Fischer, Speaker of the Research Training Group. Photo: Oliver Möst

The German Research Foundation (DFG) has extended the Research Training Group 2070 "Understanding Social Relations" by a second funding period. The joint Research Training Group of the University of Göttingen and the German Primate Center (DPZ) will receive around 4.4 million euros over the next four and a half years. Behavioural researchers, psychologists and linguists from the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen and the German Primate Center (DPZ) are jointly investigating the social behaviour of monkeys and humans. Both live in complex societies and need to sustain and control social relationships. It is not yet fully understood inhowfar they differ in the mental processes they apply. The PhD students of the Research Training Group are therefore investigating how toddlers, adults and different types of monkeys process social signals such as gestures and sounds, how they track social relationships between others and how they coordinate their behaviour with group members.

In the first cohort, 22 PhD students were involved in the Research Training Group, 15 of whom have already completed their PhDs. The first funding period lasted four and a half years and had a volume of 3.7 million euros. "In the first funding period, we laid the foundation for research into social relations. We are very pleased that in a second funding period we now have the opportunity to build on these results and tackle the newly identified questions," says Julia Fischer, spokesperson of the Research Training Group. "Among other things, we will increasingly focus on the development of social behaviour in children and young monkeys.

Research Training Groups serve to promote young researchers and are funded by the DFG for a maximum of nine years. Doctoral candidates receive interdisciplinary training within the framework of a research programme that is thematically delimited and prepare them for a career in science. In this way, not only the positions of the doctoral students are financed, but funds are also made available for visiting scientists, travel, workshops and for reconciling work and family life.