Principal Investigator

Helen Blank

I am interested in how prior expectations influence our perception during human communication. How does the human brain integrate prior evidence from different sensory sources to make sense of new incoming information? I combine behavioural, neuroimaging, and computational methods to investigate how priors influence speech and person recognition.

I started my Emmy Noether group on Prediction in Communication at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Before that I was a Marie Curie fellow with Christian Büchel (also at the UKE). During my post-doc with Matt Davis at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK, I combined computational modelling and multivariate fMRI measurements to investigate how prior expectations improve perception of degraded speech. During my PhD with Katharina von Kriegstein at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany, I investigated multisensory integration of faces and voices during human communication.

PhD Students

Julius Krumbiegel

I am interested in the question how closely our perception reflects what is going on in the real world. What does the brain add or remove when it processes and represents physical stimuli? This is directly tied to the influence that our beliefs and predictions exert on the interpretation of raw sensory input. In my PhD, I am looking into the effects of cross-modal priors on speech perception and their computational mechanisms.

I obtained my Master’s degree in the Mind & Brain program at Humboldt University of Berlin, with a thesis in the lab of Prof Martin Rolfs about the perceptual mechanisms of combined eye and head movements. Before that, I received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology at University of Göttingen where I wrote my thesis about microsaccades and visual attention under Prof Stefan Treue at the German Primate Center. In my spare time, I develop open-source data visualization software for the Julia language.

Annika Garlichs

I am interested in how and to what extent prior information influences face perception.

I obtained my Master in psychology with the focus on cognitive neurosciences at Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität, Münster. I wrote my master thesis about the neural correlates of action segmentation and the influence of object information in action observation, in the lab of Prof Ricarda Schubotz. I achieved my Bachelor in psychology at Bielefeld University. I wrote my bachelor thesis in the lab of JunProf Kirsten Labudda about a case of congenital prosopagnosia which substantially contributed to my interest in neuropsychological aspects of face perception.

Master Students + Student Assistants

Janika Becker

Janika is a student assistant in the lab. She studies Psychology at the Universität zu Lübeck. Janika is writing her Master thesis on a pupil study which investigates how the pupil reacts to expected (and unexpected) auditory stimuli.

Former Lab Members

Marvin Viertler

Marvin was an intern and student assistant in the lab and conducted a pupil study.


  • Arjen Alink at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
  • Janine Bayer at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
  • Christian Büchel at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
  • Matt Davis at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, UK
  • Linda Geerligs at the Donders Institute for Brain Cognition and Behaviour
  • Franziska Knolle at the Technical University Munich
  • Christoph Korn at Heidelberg University