Dubito ergo cogito ergo sum

“I think therefore I am” (cogito ergo sum). Everyone knows these words by Descartes. His method was based on reasoning and doubting. Doubt came first. We can rephrase it as “I doubt therefore I think therefore I am” (dubito ergo cogito ergo sum). We borrow this as a motto for our lab. Doubt comes first, as a scientific method and as subject for investigation. We wonder and inquire about perception and decision-making in complex or ambiguous situations. We study doubt with doubt. So there can be only one name for our lab: Dubito.

A core question for neuroscience

One of the primary goals of cognitive neuroscience is to develop linking propositions between perception and action. Confronted with multiple sources of information, we have to choose one of several alternative courses of action. This process is called “decision-making.”

To study the brain mechanisms for decision-making, we use a multidisciplinary approach, including neurophysiology, psychopharmacology, and behavioral analysis. In behavioral experiments we aim to characterize the cognitive processes of perceptual sensitivity and response bias. In neurophysiological and psychopharmacological experiments, we investigate how these cognitive processes are brought about in the brain.

Approach and objectives 

  • We develop a dynamical systems approach to analyzing neural data: Moving beyond the traditional static and rigidly deterministic perspectives in behavioral analysis and neurophysiology 
  • We look at improving the bioethical reasoning and praxis in neuroscience: Toward a scientifically and ethically motivated approach to reevaluating, revising and optimizing the use of animal models 
  • We investigate the cognitive dimensions of behavior (and their analogues) in various animal models, from rats to worms and back to humans 
  • We integrate cross-disciplinary perspectives in Psychology, Neuroscience, Philosophy, and Arts and Letters. This implies replacing psychoanalysis with cognitive neuroscience as the privileged partner to investigate matters of consciousness and the mind

The Dubito Lab