Prof. Dr. Georg Northoff

Georg Northoff (* 1963 in Hamburg) is a German physician and philosopher. He is considered a significant exponent of neurophilosophy.
Northoff studied in Hamburg, Essen, Bochum and New York. From 1996 he worked as a senior physician at the Psychiatric University Hospital Magdeburg. He habilitated in 1998 in medicine and in 1999 in philosophy and taught, among others, at the universities of Magdeburg and Harvard. Since 2009, he holds the especially for him created chair of mind, brain and neuroethics at the University of Ottawa. His research focuses are on functional imaging for the study of emotions, neurobiology, psychiatric disorders, mental analytic philosophy, neurophilosophy, neuropsychoanalysis and neuroethics.
Northoff uses a "relational" or "interactive" approach: Brain and mind are therefore not to be considered in isolation, but are always in an inner relationship (relation) to the body and the environment. He interprets the self and psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia in terms of how the relationship between mind, body and environment is organized or changed. The basis of all mental activity of man - and thus the condition of the possibility of conscious experience - is not the personality or subjective identity, but a "self-related processing". Northoff understands this as the fundamental code, the way the brain relates all the stimuli to itself, to one's body, and one's own mind. [1] First, this self-related processing works purely neuronal, that is, as an automatic brain activity. Then progressively higher mental functions build on this: a physical, emotional and finally also mental (cognitive) self-living. The latter allows first the conscious perception and then the conscious reflection of the own self.
He tries conceptually and in his neuroscientific experiments, the "first-person perspective" (first-person perspective),to include the subjective experience of the subjects. Spiritual phenomena, including the self, are also always culturally shaped for him.


What is our ego? Is our ego a mind, a brain, or something completely different? Philosophers saw and see the ego as the mind, the neuroscience see it as the brain. Based on various investigations, I determine the ego as a dynamic relationship and not as a static entity - i.e. mind or brain. I define the self or l’ego as a relationship between the world and the brain in a spatial-temporal perspective. The ego or self is a spatiotemporal world-brain relationship. The implications of these findings for psychiatry and philosophy are finally shown.

Dr Martina Ardizzi

Department of Medicine & Surgery – Unit of Neuroscience; University of Parma, Parma, Italy


PhD in Neuroscience, University of Parma.

Title of the thesis: “The effects of repetitive traumatic experiences on emotions recognition, Facial Mimicry and Autonomic Regulation”, supervisor Prof. Vittorio Gallese.

Master’s degree in Neuropsychology and Life-long Functional Rehabilitation at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna

Bachelor’s degree in Behavioral and Social relationships sciences at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, Campus of Cesena, School of Psychology.

School of Psychology.


Interoception and its functional role in healthy participants and clinical populations (i.e., schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, PTSD)

The neurobiological bases of Bodily-Self and Self-other distinction among healthy population and along schizohrenia spectrum (i.e., schizotypy, full-blown schizophrenia patients)

Effects of childhood trauma on the neurophysiological bases of intersubjectivity

Neurophysiological bases of Aesthetic experience


Experimental Aesthetic: the sensorimotor roots of aesthetic experience

Ardizzi Martina, PhD

University of Parma, Department of Medicine & Surgery – Unit of Neuroscience, Parma, Italy

Aesthetic choices and preferences implicitly permeate a large variety of humans’ behaviors. In the light of this, the main interest of the neuroscientific study of beauty is to understand what are the primary mechanisms involved in the formation of aesthetic appreciation. Ever since the time of Immanuel Kant, the mainstream view in aesthetics has conceived the explicit appraisal of beauty as the result of an emotionally detached, cognitively driven attitude, where beholder’s sensorimotor engagement plays no role. This approach overlooks the results of convergent studies demonstrating that art, specifically pictorial art, cannot be perceived independently of beholder’s spontaneous and covert activation of sensorimotor circuits triggered by the actions depicted within the artwork itself or by the visible signs of artist’s creative gestures. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that this engagement of the sensorimotor system plays a role in the formation of subjective aesthetic judgments. More recently, the contribution of beholder’s sensorimotor engagement to the formation of an aesthetic judgment was extended to the emotional content of artworks. In contrast with the centuries-old common wisdom on this issue, these studies show that the explicit aesthetic judgment of the objective beauty of beheld works of art is not solely confined on beholders’ cognitively driven detached and disembodied attitude. Hence, they provide novel arguments in support of the naturalization of aesthetics, moving the field forward and opening new avenues for empirical research.


Dr. Rebekka Reinhard

Dr. Rebekka Reinhard has earned her PhD from Free University Berlin with a work on contemporary American and continental philosophy ("summa cum laude"). 

She has worked as a philosophical counselor for individual clients as well as for in-patients suffering from depression at the clinic of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich and for oncological patients. Since 2007, she has been coaching and training managers and giving key note speeches for companies and global corporations. An editor at the German magazine HOHE LUFT, she’s also well-known for her essays and interviews with famous philosophers such as Judith Butler or Simon Blackburn. 

Rebekka Reinhard is the bestselling author of many books on philosophy, including „Die Sinn-Diät“, „Würde Platon Prada tragen?“ („Would Plato Wear Prada?“) and „Kleine Philosophie der Macht (nur für Frauen)“ („Small Philosophy of Power: for Women Only“)


"I - Spirit and Philosophy"

"One should stand upright without being held upright," wrote the Stoic emperor philosopher Marcus Aurelius in his self-contemplation. For him, his mind (nous) was an inner shelter and space at the same time. The philosophy of life art (techné tou biou) of the Stoics today is more relevant than ever. It shows us how, despite the complexity and unpredictability of external circumstances, we can protect our "I" from pain and suffering - and empathically embed us in a larger "we" of people and the cosmos.