LIBC Human Potential

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LIBC Human Potential

Humans are capable of many things. Moreover, they have an impressive ability to learn, improve, and/or develop these capacities throughout their lives. Sometimes this takes considerable or even extreme effort, but other times it comes easily. To some, growth seems to come naturally.

In this hotspot we focus on a broad range of things that humans can do and, more importantly, can get better at. This includes abilities we don’t always have to learn explicitly, such as mimicking treatment effects when receiving placebos or inferring structure in extremely complex stimuli like when we feel a beat in music or navigate social behavioral rules. But we also highlight the effortful development of human skills in three main domains: (1) cognitive functioning, (2) health behaviors, and (3) prosociality. Within and across these domains, we aim to answer questions on how we can improve ourselves, ultimately leading to better cognitive functioning, better health, better awareness of self and others, and overall improved well-being.

This also brings us to an interest in experts – how do some people become ‘superhumans’ with rare and extreme skills? From problem-solving to sports, meditation, arts, and many other fields, people have the capacity to develop highly specialized skills. Focusing on these experts allows us to clarify what non-experts may need to develop these skills, or even to assist people who have clear deficiencies in these areas.

Research within this research area or hotspot is conducted under the supervision of  dr. Rebecca Schaefer and dr. Niels van Doesum


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