The primary somatosensory (or: barrel) cortex of rodents has been established as a prime model system for studying the molecular, cellular and circuit mechanisms of a highly developed and behaviorally important sensory system. However, in recent years, conceptual and methodological advances allowed scientist to broadly go beyond the barrel cortex and establish fruitful research programs in other primary sensory areas (visual and auditory) as well as the primary motor cortex and the polymodal associative prefrontal cortex. Thus, the time is ripe to compare commonalities but also possible differences of cortical information processing across all these different areas. Scientists of the CRC 889 (Cellular mechanisms of sensory processing) and the previous Research Group 1341 (Barrel Cortex Function) aim at clarifying these mechanisms with a specific focus on circuits and the precisely-defined cell types that establish these. To support these efforts on a bigger and more international scale, this meeting in Göttingen in May 2018 is organized to bring together leaders in the field, to reflect the state of current knowledge and to develop further methods and concepts that will enable to understand the cellular mechanisms of sensory perception, decision making and goal-directed behavior at a mechanistic, circuit-based level.