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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 the 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

In her PhD, Janika is interested in statistical learning. Before that, she also wrote her Master’s 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’s 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’s in psychology focusing on cognitive neurosciences at the 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 to improve 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’s in Cognitive Science from the University of Vienna and a Bachelor’s in Applied Cognitive and Media Science from the University of Duisburg-Essen. In her PhD, she investigates the effect of voice priors on the perception of speech.

Master Students + Student Assistants

Kristin Derben

Kris is a lab student assistant and supports us with EEG recordings and recruitment.

Former Lab Members

Mark Lustig

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

Eylül Karabiber

Eylül was an intern in the lab and 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.