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Nijmegen Lectures 2016, January 20 - 22 -

Lecturer & Discussants

Lecturer David Poeppel
David Poeppel is the Director of the Department of Neuroscience at the Max-Planck-Institute (MPIEA) in Frankfurt, Germany and a Professor of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University. Trained at MIT in cognitive science, linguistics, and neuroscience, Poeppel did his post-doctoral training at the University of California San Francisco, where he focused on functional brain imaging. Until 2008, he was a professor at the University of Maryland College Park, where he ran the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language laboratory. He has been a Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg (Institute for Advanced Studies Berlin), the American Academy Berlin, and a guest professor at numerous institutions. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. 


The discussants for Wednesday, January 20

Elia Formisano 
Elia Formisano received his MSc degree in Electronic Engineering in 1996
from the University of Naples (Italy) and his PhD from the national
(Italian) program in Bioengineering in 2000. Thanks to an outgoing grant,
in 1998-1999, he was a visiting research fellow at the Max Planck
Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt/Main (with Dr. Rainer Goebel).
In January 2000, he was appointed Assistant Professor at Maastricht
University (Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience) where he is now Full
Professor of Neural Signal Analysis. In 2008-2013, he was Head of the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience.

He is Scientific Director of the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (MBIC)
and Principal Investigator of the "Auditory Perception and Cognition"
research group. His research aims at discovering the neural basis of human auditory perception and cognition by combining multimodal functional neuroimaging with methods of machine learning and computational modeling. He pioneered the use of ultra-high magnetic field (7 Tesla) functional MRI in neuroscience studies of audition. Methods development focuses on algorithms for unsupervised (e.g. independent component analysis) and supervised (e.g. multivariate classification and regression) learning. On these topics, he has published in high ranked journals, including Science, Neuron, PNAS, Current Biology and received prestigious funding, such as NWO VIDI (2005-2010) and NWO VICI (2013-2018).

Barbara Tillmann
After a PhD in cognitive psychology and postdoctoral research in cognitive neuroscience (Dartmouth College), Barbara Tillmann started a CNRS research position in Lyon in 2001. Her research is in the domain of auditory cognition and uses behavioural, neurophysiological and computational methods. More specifically, she investigates how the brain acquires knowledge about complex sound structures, such as music and language, and how this knowledge shapes perception. Since 2007, she has been the leader of the Auditory Cognition and Psychoacoustics team, which is integrated into the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center. The team's research aims to understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie how humans perceive, learn, memorize and use complex sound structures (e.g., to expect and anticipate future events).

The discussants for Thursday, January 21

Usha Goswami
Usha Goswami FBA is Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St John’s College, Cambridge. She is also Director of the Centre for Neuroscience in Education. After training as a primary school teacher, she decided to pursue research in child psychology, taking a D. Phil. in Psychology at the University of Oxford. Usha has worked on reasoning by analogy, and on reading and developmental dyslexia across languages, most recently studying language encoding by the brain with a focus on prosody. Her current research examines developmental relations between phonology and basic auditory processing of amplitude modulation and amplitude rise time, with special reference to the neural oscillatory underpinnings of rhythm. The goal here is to understand the brain basis of dyslexia and speech and language difficulties, and the utility of music- and rhythm-based interventions. She has received a number of career awards, including the British Psychology Society’s Spearman Medal and President’s Award; the Aspen Brain Forum Senior Investigator Prize in Neuroeducation, New York Academy of Sciences; the Norman Geschwind-Rodin Prize for Dyslexia research, Sweden; and Research Fellowships from the National Academy of Education (USA), the Leverhulme Trust (UK), and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany).

Ole Jensen
Ole Jensen received his M.Sc. in electrical engineering at the Technical University of Denmark and subsequently a Ph.D. degree in neuroscience at Brandeis University, US. Since 2003 he has been working as principal investigator for the Neuronal Oscillations group ( at the Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging. He is appointed professor at the Faculty of Science at Radboud University and University of Amsterdam. The main goal of his research is to understand how oscillatory activity shapes the functional architecture of the working brain during cognitive processing. His group investigates this from a network perspective using computational modelling, MEG, intracranial recordings and EEG in combination with fMRI and TMS. These tools are applied to analyze and interpret data recorded from within and across regions in humans and animals performing attention and memory tasks.


The discussants for Friday, January 22

Peter Hagoort   

Peter Hagoort is director of the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (since November 2006), and the founding director of the Donders Institute, Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging (DCCN, 1999), a cognitive neuroscience research centre at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In addition, he is professor in cognitive neuroscience at the Radboud University Nijmegen. His own research interests relate to the domain of the human language faculty and how it is instantiated in the brain. In his research he applies neuroimaging techniques such as EEG, MEG, PET and fMRI to investigate the language system and its impairments as in aphasia, dyslexia and autism. For his scientific contributions, the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts Sciences (KNAW) awarded him the Hendrik Mullerprijs in 2003. In 2004 he was awarded the "Knighthood of the Dutch Lion" by the Dutch Queen. In 2005 he received the NWO-Spinoza Prize (€1.5m). In 2007 the University of Glasgow awarded him an honorary doctorate in science for his contributions to the cognitive neuroscience of language. In 2008 he was awarded the Heymans Prize. In 2012 he was awarded the Academy Professorship Prize (€1.0m) by KNAW for his career contribution to the cognitive neuroscience. Peter Hagoort is member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), of The Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen, and of the Academia Europaea.

Norbert Hornstein
Norbert Hornstein teaches linguistics (mostly syntax) at the University of Maryland. He has written/(co-)edited 13 books on linguistic themes as well as too many papers. The book he is most proud of is A Theory of Syntax (CUP). Since 2012 he has run a blog ( whose purpose has been to explain, elaborate and defend Rationalism and its implications for the study of language, mind and the brain. Hornstein is an extreme unapologetic Rationalist who believes that Empiricism has exercised an outsized baleful influence on inquiries on these topics. His firm hope is that Empiricism will soon follow the dodo to extinction, though he is not holding his breath. He also believes that Chomsky’s program in linguistics is coherent, methodologically impeccable, and wildly successful. Many consider this view either obviously false or way past its sell-by date. He thinks it trivially obvious. Moreover, he believes that much work on language in psychology, cognitive neuroscience and AI that has ignored this work is for that reason destined for the garbage heap of intellectual history. Hornstein does not consider this conclusion at all overstated.



Last checked 2016-01-15 by Ina Grevel

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