The origin of the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for biological cybernetics lies within the research group “cybernetics” founded in 1958 in the MPI for biology. Only ten years later the MPI for biological cybernetics was established. Research of the institute has always been focused on uptake and processing of visual signals in the nervous system. At first, the behavioural analysis of the insects’ visual system was investigated. Proceedings in the perception theory together with new techniques in experimental technologies and new appointments led to the fact that the institute’s focus has slightly shifted towards “understanding cognitive processes” within the last 15 years.
The two departments “perception, cognition, and actions” (founded 1993) and “physiology of cognitive processes” (founded 1997) work with a complementary approach to understand complex actions in the primate’s brain. This direction was fortified in 2001 with the establishment of the new department for “empiric inference”. With the “magnetic resonance center” an additional department was established in 2006 together with the institute’s extension and leaves the institute as it is today.