Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 2: Perception, Action and Control

Cognitive Neuroecology Lab

Donders-ACTION-CONTROL-screen thema 2We aim to understand what it is that makes brains the way they are. Primates, and especially humans, have exceptionally large brains for their body size.

Between primates, brains differ in size and in their internal organization. Why is this? We believe that each brain is an adaptation to the particular environment its owner lives in. Differences between brains are the result of deviations from ancestral brains that arose to deal with challenges in the environment.

To study these questions we use two complementary approaches. First, we study how the human brain is organized and works using a range of non-invasive brain imaging techniques, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging and transcranial magnetic stimulation. Second, we use magnetic resonance imaging to compare the organization of different brains. We scan the brains from deceased animals to study the size, location, and connections of different brain regions and compare these between species.

Contact
Name: Dr Rogier B. Mars
Telephone: 024-3616068
Email: r.mars@donders.ru.nl
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognition
Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
6525 GD Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognition
P.O. Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Key grants and prizes
  • 2014: NWO VIDI grant 'Levels of social inference: Investigating the origin of human uniqueness' (Mars)
Key publications
  • Mars RB, Jbabdi S*, & Rushworth MFS*
    A common space approach to comparative neuroscience
    Annual Reviews of Neuroscience 44:69-86 (2021)
    doi:10.1146/annurev-neuro-100220-025942
  • Balsters JH, Zerbi V, Sallet J, Wenderoth N, & Mars RB
    Primate homologs of mouse cortico-striatal circuits
    eLife 9:e53680 (2020)  doi:10.7554/eLife.53680

  • Eichert N, Robinson EC, Bryant KL, Jbabdi S, Jenkinson M, Li L, Krug K, Watkins KE, & Mars RB
    Cross-species cortical alignment identifies different types of anatomical reorganization in the primate temporal lobe
    eLife 9:e53232 (2020)   doi:10.7554/eLife.53232

  • Mars RB, Sotiropoulos SN, Passingham RE, Sallet J, Verhagen L, Khrapitchev AA, Sibson N, & Jbabdi S
    Whole brain comparative anatomy using connectivity blueprints
    eLife 7:e35237 (2018) doi:10.7554/eLife.35237

  • Mars RB*, Sallet J*, Neubert FX, & Rushworth MFS
    Connectivity profiles reveal the relationship between brain areas for social cognition in human and monkey temporoparietal cortex
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 110:10806-10811 (2013)  doi:10.1073/pnas.1302956110

Lab website: www.neuroecologylab.org