Dong-Seon Chang

Alumni Group Virtual Reality
Alumni of the Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action
Alumni of the Group Recognition and Categorization
Alumni of the Group Social and Spatial Cognition

Main Focus

Action Recognition & Social Interaction

How do people recognize and understand the actions of other humans?

What information do they perceive and collect when they interact together?

Are action recognition processes different across cultures (e.g. Germany vs. Korea)?

In my PhD projects, I tried to answer these questions using Behavioral, Psychophysical and Cross-Cultural approaches. I use motion capture techniques to record human actions, and show these action mapped on 3D, life-sized avatars in a virtual reality (VR) setup. To assess the cognitive and neural processes underlying the representations of actions, we use a high-level action adaptation aftereffect paradigm. We recorded also different social interactions such as greetings or dancing (Salsa or Lindy Hop) to specifically assess how people recognize those actions in interactions. Studies have been conducted in Germany and Korea, to compare to influence of culture on the recognition of actions.

I am also an enthusiastic Science Communicator, trying to spread enthusiasm for science & research to a broad public. I have given more than 60 talks in the form of Science Slams, FameLab events, and TEDx Talks. If you are more interested in this, you can check out my videos online: (German) (English) (English)

Curriculum Vitae

Personal Information

Date of Birth:                     May 28th, 1980

Place of Birth:                    Heidelberg, Germany

Nationality:                        Republic of Korea


08/2012 –

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (GER)

PhD Student, Dept. of Human Perception, Cognition and Action

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Stephan de la Rosa

Thesis Advisors: Prof. Dr. Heinrich H. Bülthoff,

Prof. Dr. Martin Giese,

Prof. Dr. Kai Vogeley,

Dr. Hong Yu Wong

10/2006 – 08/2007

Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics (GER)

MSc, Dept. of Cognitive and Computational Psychophysics

Thesis Advisors: Prof. Dr. Heinrich.H. Bülthoff, Dr. John Butler

10/1999 – 08/2007

University of Konstanz (GER)

MSc in Biology (in collaboration with the MPI for Biol. Cybernetics)

Thesis Advisor: Prof. Dr. Giovanni Galizia

09/2003 – 06/2004

Rutgers, State University of New Jersey (USA)

Visiting Graduate Student, Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science

Visual Attention Laboratory, Advisor: Prof. Dr. Zenon Pylyshyn

03/1996 – 02/1999

Anyang-Highschool (KOR)

Work Experience

03/2011 – 07/2012

DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service) IC Seoul (KOR)

Project Manager for ADeKo (Alumni Network Germany-Korea)

05/2008 – 05/2011

Acupuncture & Meridian Science Research Center,

Kyung Hee University (KOR)

Staff Researcher, Dept. of Oriental Medicine, Medical School

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Hyejung Lee, Prof. Dr. Younbyoung Chae

08/2004 – 09/2006

05/2003 – 08/2003

City Hospital Konstanz (GER)

MRI Technical Assistant, Dept. of Radiology

Advisors: Prof. Dr. Hansjörg Zwicker, Dr. Peter Köhler

05/2000 – 02/2006

University of Konstanz (GER)

Research Assistant

- Dept. of Developmental Psychology and Cross-Cultural Psychology, Advisor: Prof. Dr. Gisela Trommsdorf

03/2000 – 07/2000


Technical Assistant for the Development of an Automated Language Recognition Data System, Advisor: Dr. Torsten Caesar

Selected Awards  & Stipends
08/2012 – present

PhD Fellowship

Stipend of the Max Planck Society


Travel Fellowship

Awarded by the Schwarz Foundation for Theoretical Neurobiology

to attend the 79th Cold Spring Harbor Symposium on Quantitative Biology: Cognition Meeting in Cold Spring Harbor, New York, USA


First Prize

Science Slam

at the Visions in Science 2013, Max Planck Society's PhDnet Annual Conference for Junior Scientists


Best Presentation Award

2010 Conference of the Korean Society of Stress Medicine


First Prize

2006 Prize Question from the “Junge Akademie” at the National Academy of Germany (Academy of Sciences Leopoldina) and Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities


Travel Grant for Interdisciplinary College 2007

From the German Association for Cognitive Science

(Gesellschaft für Kognitionswissenschaft e. V.)

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