Georg Northoff completed his initial training in medicine/psychiatry and philosophy in Germany. Dr. Northoff’s previous academic positions included Professorships at the University of Magdeburg, Germany, and Harvard University, U.S.A. With over 100 scientific publications, his current focus is predominantly on the self – having developed the concept of cortical midline structures. Experimental research within his unit focuses on the functional and biochemical mechanisms underlying our sense of self in both healthy subjects and psychiatric patients.
In addition to neuroimaging, he also focuses on neuroethical issues. Early on, he investigated issues related to personal identity in patients with deep brain stimulation and brain tissue transplantation. Another neuroethical focus is on the impact of emotions and empathy in the decision making involved in informed consent, which is of particular relevance regarding psychiatric patients.
These issues converge nicely with his deep standing interest in the discipline of neurophilosophy. He is considered one of the main founders from the European-continental side, as is illustrated by several papers and books including Philosophy of the Brain (John Benjamins, 2004).
Dr. Northoff is also the author of Neuropsychoanalysis in Practice: Brain, Self and Objects (Oxford, 2011); Unlocking the Brain: Volume 1 – Coding (Oxford, 2012); and Unlocking the Brain: Volume 2 – Consciousness (Oxford, 2013).