Current projects

Noninvasive functional and neuroanatomical exploration of the human basal ganglia with high resolution (7T) MRI

Anna Mestres-Missé

The basal ganglia receive inputs from virtually the entire cerebral cortex. The anatomy of the basal ganglia and its well-position in the circuitry give these structures a crucial role in influencing many neural pathways and the information processing systems. Due to this role, basal ganglia functions have remained elusive for a long time. The aim of this project is to study the function, structure and connectivity of the basal ganglia with high-field high-resolution (7T) MRI, and, to investigate its role and influence on information processing when predictions based on experience or previous cues do not match the actual context.


Extraction and analysis of temporal acoustic cues in patients with temporal lobe lesions

Anika Stockert

We investigate the effect of pitch pattern and order violations in speech on different temporal and segmental levels. For this purpose, we use lesion mapping and connectivity measures as well as EEG to compare the ERP responses of patients with temporal lobe lesions and healthy controls.


Hierarchical rhythm in auditory language and music

Eleanor Harding

To date, metric and periodic aspects of rhythm have been inconsistently defined and yet indiscriminately compared across language and music studies. This project seeks a unified account of rhythm perception, with specific regard to its role in syntax processing across the two domains using EEG and EEG-oscillatory measures.


The impact of metric cues on semantic processing

Kathrin Rothermich

We examine the influence of configural rhythms at different semantic levels using EEG and fMRI. Our main interest concerns the facilitation of lexical semantic integration by means of predictable metric cues.


The effects of metric regularity on emotion and aesthetic perception

Christian Obermeier

We utilize EEG, EEG-oscillatory measures and fMRI to explore to what extent rhythmic predictability facilitates poetry comprehension and intensifies affective states in listeners.


Attentional orienting to emotional sounds

Anna S. Hasting

This project aims to identify the relative impact of evolutionary and experience-based factors on attentional orienting to emotional human and animal vocalizations as well as positive, negative and neutral environmental sounds. Two ERP studies look into the temporal processing stages influenced by these factors. In an fMRI study, we further explore whether distinct brain areas are involved in attentional orienting to emotional vocalizations of related versus familiar species.


Predictive processes underlying emotion perception and their neural correlates

Hao Tam Ho

Perception cannot solely be sensory driven but must be guided by top-down predictive mechanisms. The importance of emotions in human communication necessitates that emotional information is processed fast and efficiently, in particular, when the perceiver is faced with information from multiple sources (e.g. voice, facial expression, semantics etc.). In a series of ERP and fMRI studies we probe the magnitude of such top-down influences on multisensory perception of emotions and to uncover the neural correlates of this interaction.



Dr Maren Schmidt-Kassow
Institute of Medial Psychology, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Dr Sven Mattys
Faculty of Science, University of Bristol, UK

Dr Winfried Menninghaus
Free University of Berlin, Germany

Dr Matthias Müller
University of Leipzig, Faculty of Biosciences, Pharmacy and Psychology, Institute of Psy-chology I, Leipzig, Germany

Dr Martin von Koppenfels
University of Bielefeld, Germany

Dr. Silke Paulmann
Department of Psychology, University of Essex, UK

Dr Jonas Obleser
Max Planck Research Group "Auditory Cognition"; MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany

Dr Marc Pell
School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Dr Daniela Sammler
Department of Psychology, University of Glasgow, UK & MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany

Dr Bernhard Sehm
Day Clinic of Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany & MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Dept. of Neurology, Leipzig, Germany

Dr Elke Zimmermann
Institute for Zoology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hanover, Germany


Selected publications

Rhythmic and formal cues in comprehension

Rothermich, K.; Schmidt-Kassow, M.; Kotz, S. A.: Rhythm's gonna get you: Regular meter facilitates semantic sentence processing. Neuropsychologia 50 (2), pp. 232 - 244 (2012)
Schmidt-Kassow, M.; Rothermich, K.; Schwartze, M.; Kotz, S. A.: Did you get the beat? Late proficient French-German learners extract strong-weak patterns in tonal but not in linguistic sequences. NeuroImage 54 (1), pp. 568 - 576 (2011)
Schmidt-Kassow, M.; Roncaglia-Denissen, M. P.; Kotz, S. A.: Why pitch sensitivity matters: Event-related potential evidence of metric and syntactic violation detection among Spanish late learners of German. Frontiers in Psychology 2, 131 (2011)

Emotional cues in comprehension

Garrido-Vásquez, P.; Jessen, S.; Kotz, S. A.: Perception of emotion in psychiatric disorders: On the possible role of task, dynamics, and multimodality. Social Neuroscience 6 (5-6), pp. 515 - 536 (2011)
Jessen, S.; Kotz, S. A.: The temporal dynamics of processing emotions from vocal, facial, and bodily expressions. NeuroImage 58 (2), pp. 665 - 674 (2011)
Kotz, S.A., Kalberlah, C., Bahlmann, J., Friederici, A.D., & Haynes, J.D.
Predicting emotional vocal expressions from the human brain.

Human Brain Mapping (in press)
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