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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

Janika Becker

Janika just started her PhD in our lab. Before that she also wrote her Master thesis in our lab and did a pupil study to investigate how the pupil reacts to expected (and unexpected) auditory stimuli. She obtained her Master in Psychology from University Lübeck. In her PhD she explores how we learn prior expectations from auditory sequences, using pupillometry and EEG.

Annika Garlichs

Annika is interested in how and to what extent prior information influences face perception. She obtained her Master in psychology with the focus on cognitive neurosciences at University Münster. She got her Bachelor in Psychology at Bielefeld University with a bachelor thesis about a case of congenital prosopagnosia, which started her interest in neuropsychological aspects of face perception. In her PhD, she uses RSA on fMRI data to understand how the human brain combines scene priors with faces.

Fabian Schneider

Fabian is interested in predictive coding as a way of bridging the gaps between language comprehension, memory maintenance and updating. Before joining the lab, he obtained a graduate degree in Cognitive Neuroscience from Radboud University and the Donders Institute as well as an undergraduate degree in Language, Literature, Culture from the University of Gießen. In his PhD, he aims at improving our understanding of how semantic priors are represented, used and updated.

Carina Ufer

Carina has a genuine interest in the predictive coding framework. She obtained a Master in Cognitive Science from the University of Vienna and a Bachelor in Applied Cognitive and Media Science from the University of Duisburg-Essen. In her PhD she investigates the effect of voice priors on perception of speech.

Master Students + Student Assistants

Mark Lustig

Mark is a student assistant in the lab. He studies Psychology at the University Hamburg and currently conducts several pupil studies in the eyetracker lab.

Former Lab Members

Eylül Karabiber

Eylül was an intern in the lab and she is doing her masters in Neuroscience at the University of Bremen. She helped to collect data for pupil studies in the eyetracker lab and contributed to a literature search on predictive sequences.

Franziska Kunert

Franziska was a student assistant in our lab and supported us with data collection.

Julius Krumbiegel

Julius worked on the effects of cross-modal priors on speech perception and their computational mechanisms.

Marvin Viertler

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