Before my present position as chair of Experimental Biological Psychology in Düsseldorf that I took over in 1997, I held a Heisenberg Fellowship of the German Research Foundation. This allowed me to pursue my studies on visual awareness and blindsight in Montreal and Oxford, where I have collaborated with Alan Cowey since 1987.
I got immersed into the field of Consciousness Studies through my interdisciplinary doctoral thesis on the neurophilosophy of the mind-body problem, and have since used anatomical and behavioural methods to explore three basic questions, namely: What is consciousness good for? What is its neuronal basis?, and Who has it? Working with neurological patients as well as monkeys, I have predominantly used the visual system as the best-studied of the sensory modalities to tackle these questions.
I have served as president of the European Brain and Behaviour Society and of the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness, and am a founding member of the European Dana Alliance for the Brain, which is devoted to informing the public about brain research and its relevance to the individual and to society.