AFC Lab Talk Series

We host a virtual talk series on Thursdays at 1600 CET. Our aim: to support early-career researchers and underrepresented groups by providing a platform for their work and increasing networking opportunities.

If you'd like to give a talk, drop us a message and we'll get it organised.

For details on how to access the talks and view the event schedule, see the World Wide Neuro site.

20 May 2021
Lessons from the credibility revolution – social thermoregulation as a case study
Université Grenoble Alpes
The goal of this talk is to first provide a realization of why the replication crisis is omnipresent and then point to several tools via which the listener can improve their own work. To do so, I will go through our own work on social thermoregulation, point out why I thought changes were necessary, discuss which shortcomings we have in our own work, which measures we have taken to reduce those shortcomings, which tools we have relied on to do so, and which steps I believe we still need to make. Specifically, I will go through the following points: (1) Major replication failures and data fabrication in the field of psychology (2) Replication failures of social thermoregulation studies (3) Realization that many of our studies were underpowered (4) Realization that many of our studies were very narrow in scope (i.e., in undergraduate students and mostly in EU/US) (5) Realization that a lot of our measures were not independently validated I will show these for our own work (but will also show why, via a meta-analysis, we have enough confidence to proceed with social thermoregulation research). Throughout the talk I will point you to the following tools that facilitate our work: (a) Templates for exploratory and confirmatory research and for meta-analyses (developed for our work, but easily adaptable for other programs). I will also show you how to fork our templates. (b) A lab philosophy (c) A research milestones sheet for collaborations and overviews (d) Excel sheet for contributorship (e) A tutorial for exploratory research I would recommend listeners to read through this chapter before the talk (I will repeat a lot of that work, but I will go into greater depth).
27 May 2021
The Jena Voice Learning and Memory Test (JVLMT)
University of Jena
The ability to recognize someone’s voice spans a broad spectrum with phonagnosia on the low end and super recognition at the high end. Yet there is no standardized test to measure the individual ability to learn and recognize newly-learnt voices with samples of speech-like phonetic variability. We have developed the Jena Voice Learning and Memory Test (JVLMT), a 20 min-test based on item response theory and applicable across different languages. The JVLMT consists of three phases in which participants are familiarized with eight speakers in two stages and then perform a three-alternative forced choice recognition task, using pseudo sentences devoid of semantic content. Acoustic (dis)similarity analyses were used to create items with different levels of difficulty. Test scores are based on 22 Rasch-conform items. Items were selected and validated in online studies based on 232 and 454 participants, respectively. Mean accuracy is 0.51 with an SD of .18. The JVLMT showed high and moderate correlations with convergent validation tests (Bangor Voice Matching Test; Glasgow Voice Memory Test) and a weak correlation with a discriminant validation test (Digit Span). Empirical (marginal) reliability is 0.66. Four participants with super recognition (at least 2 SDs above the mean) and 7 participants with phonagnosia (at least 2 SDs below the mean) were identified. The JVLMT is a promising screen too for voice recognition abilities in a scientific and neuropsychological context.
03 June 2021
Why does online collaboration work? Insights into sequential collaboration
University of Mannheim
The last two decades have seen a rise in online projects such as Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap in which people collaborate to create a common product. Contributors in such projects often work together sequentially. Essentially, the first contributor generates an entry (e.g., a Wikipedia article) independently which is then adjusted in the following by other contributors by adding or correcting information. We refer to this way of working together as sequential collaboration. This process has not yet been studied in the context of judgment and decision making even though research has demonstrated that Wikipedia and OpenStreetMap yield very accurate information. In this talk, I give first insights into the structure of sequential collaboration, how adjusting each other’s judgments can yield more accurate final estimates, which boundary conditions need to be met, and which underlying mechanisms may be responsible for successful collaboration. A preprint is available at
17 June 2021
Getting to know you: emerging neural representations during face familiarization
Friedrich-Schiller University Jena
The successful recognition of familiar persons is critical for social interactions. Despite extensive research on the neural representations of familiar faces, we know little about how such representations unfold as someone becomes familiar. In three EEG experiments, we elucidated how representations of face familiarity and identity emerge from different qualities of familiarization: brief perceptual exposure (Experiment 1), extensive media familiarization (Experiment 2) and real-life personal familiarization (Experiment 3). Time-resolved representational similarity analysis revealed that familiarization quality has a profound impact on representations of face familiarity: they were strongly visible after personal familiarization, weaker after media familiarization, and absent after perceptual familiarization. Across all experiments, we found no enhancement of face identity representation, suggesting that familiarity and identity representations emerge independently during face familiarization. Our results emphasize the importance of extensive, real-life familiarization for the emergence of robust face familiarity representations, constraining models of face perception and recognition memory.
12 July 2021
Redressing imbalances in the kind of research that gets done and who gets credit for it
University of Sydney
If we want good work to get done, we should credit those who do it. In science, researchers are credited predominantly via authorship on publications. But many contributions to modern research are not recognized with authorship, due in part to the high bar imposed by the authorship criteria of many journals. “Contributorship” is a more inclusive framework for indicating who did what in the work described by a paper, and many scientific journals have recently implemented versions of it. I will consider the motivation for and specifics of this change, describe the tenzing tool we created to facilitate it, and how we might want to support and shape the shift toward contributorship.
22 July 2021
Spatio-temporal large-scale organization of the trimodal connectome derived from concurrent EEG-fMRI and diffusion MRI
University of Geneva
While time-averaged dynamics of brain functional connectivity are known to reflect the underlying structural connections, the exact relationship between large-scale function and structure remains an unsolved issue in network neuroscience. Large-scale networks are traditionally observed by correlation of fMRI timecourses, and connectivity of source-reconstructed electrophysiological measures are less prominent. Accessing the brain by using multimodal recordings combining EEG, fMRI and diffusion MRI (dMRI) can help to refine the understanding of the spatio-temporal organization of both static and dynamic brain connectivity.  In this talk I will discuss our prior findings that whole-brain connectivity derived from source-reconstructed resting-state (rs) EEG is both linked to the rs-fMRI and dMRI connectome. The EEG connectome provides complimentary information to link function to structure as compared to an fMRI-only perspective. I will present an approach extending the multimodal data integration of concurrent rs-EEG-fMRI to the temporal domain by combining dynamic functional connectivity of both modalities to better understand the neural basis of functional connectivity dynamics. The close relationship between time-varying changes in EEG and fMRI whole-brain connectivity patterns provide evidence for spontaneous reconfigurations of the brain’s functional processing architecture. Finally, I will talk about data quality of connectivity derived from concurrent EEG-fMRI recordings and how the presented multimodal framework could be applied to better understand focal epilepsy.  In summary this talk will give an overview of how to integrate large-scale EEG networks with MRI-derived brain structure and function. In conclusion EEG-based connectivity measures not only are closely linked to MRI-based measures of brain structure and function over different time-scales, but also provides complimentary information on the function of underlying brain organization. 
29 July 2021
Age-related dedifferentiation across representational levels and their relation to memory performance
Ruhr-University Bochum
Episodic memory performance decreases with advancing age. According to theoretical models, such memory decline might be a consequence of age-related reductions in the ability to form distinct neural representations of our past. In this talk, I want to present our new age-comparative fMRI study investigating age-related neural dedifferentiation across different representational levels. By combining univariate analyses and searchlight pattern similarity analyses, we found that older adults show reduced category selective processing in higher visual areas, less specific item representations in occipital regions and less stable item representations. Dedifferentiation on all these representational levels was related to memory performance, with item specificity being the strongest contributor. Overall, our results emphasize that age-related dedifferentiation can be observed across the entire cortical hierarchy which may selectively impair memory performance depending on the memory task.
19 August 2021
Enhanced perception and cognition in deaf sign language users: EEG and behavioral evidence
Gallaudet University
In this talk, Dr. Quandt will share results from behavioral and cognitive neuroscience studies from the past few years of her work in the Action & Brain Lab, an EEG lab at Gallaudet University, the world's premiere university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students. These results will center upon the question of how extensive knowledge of signed language changes, and in some cases enhances, people's perception and cognition. Evidence for this effect comes from studies of human biological motion using point light displays, self-report, and studies of action perception. Dr. Quandt will also discuss some of the lab's efforts in designing and testing a virtual reality environment in which users can learn American Sign Language from signing avatars (virtual humans).