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Workshop: Neuroscientific methods in language and music cognition research

November 22nd, 2018, 12-18h

Alter Seminarraum, Musikwissenschaftliches Institut, Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln (Map)


This workshop introduces to different methods of cognitive neuroscience used in language and music cognition research for investigating language and music as neurocognitive systems, i.e., information processing systems in the mind/brain. The workshop serves as platform facilitating communication between researchers and students from the arts, the humanities, and the sciences. It strives for an integrative approach in language and music cognition research, i.e., how to integrate empirical findings from different disciplines and how to foster cross-disciplinary theoretical understanding. Topics of discussion are methodological questions concerning the relation of empirical neurocognitive research to clinical applications as well as to theoretical perspectives, and concerning ways how neurocognitive processes might be examined in future research.

Invited Speakers

  • Andrea E. Martin (MPI for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen)
  • Jan Niklas Petry-Schmelzer (Department of Neurology, University Hospital Cologne)
  • Michael Schwartze (Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University)
  • Edna Cieslik (Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine – Brain Behaviour, Research Centre Jülich)


12:00    Registration
12:15    Introduction
12:30    Jan Niklas Petry-Schmelzer
"An introduction to the anatomy of the brain"
13:30    Edna Cieslik
"How to perform a neuroimaging meta-analysis"
14:30    Coffee break
15:00    Michael Schwartze
"Predictive adaptation to change in audition: principles, event-related-potentials, lesion-symptom mapping"
16:00    Andrea E. Martin
"How artificial and cortical neural networks can learn and compute hierarchy from time (in a compositional way)"
17:00    Short break
17:15    Discussions
17:45    Closing remarks


Rie Asano (rie.asano(at) and Doris Mücke (doris.muecke(at)


+++Vergangene Veranstaltungen (Past events)+++

Brain mechanisms for hierarchical structure building in language and mathematics

Michiru Makuuchi
Neuropsychology, National Rehabilitation Center
for Persons with Disabilities, Japan

July 5th, 2018
Alter Seminarraum
Musikwissenschaftliches Institut,
Hauptgebäude der Universität zu Köln

The room of the talk is still subject to change.

Registration: Rie Asano (rie.asano(at)


The hallmark of language is hierarchical structure, which organizes words into phrases and phrases into clauses to determine the meaning of the sentence. Compared to rather simple animal sound communication, human language has more complex structure, e.g., centre embedding structure. Uniquely human centre embedding structure is generated by context-free grammar which is theoretically more complex than regular grammar that both humans and animals have. fMRI studies revealed that centre embedding structures, in symbol sequence and in natural language, are processed in Broca’s area, suggesting the language centre in the brain may serve as a processor for hierarchical structures in a broader range. These results naturally led us to conjecture that hierarchical structures in other cognitive domains such as mathematics and music may be treated in Broca’s area in the same vein. Using fMRI, we demonstrated that Broca’s area is involved in hierarchical structure building in mathematics as well as in language.

Workshop on Evolutionary Simulation using NetLogo

This workshop introduces neophytes to evolutionary simulation and computation using NetLogo 6.0.2. NetLogo is a programming and simulation environment for multi-agent based modeling and allows us to simulate natural or social phenomena interactively. Evolutionary simulation uses algorithms inspired by biological dynamics that evolve adaptively to an environment. Research questions are conceived of as optimization problems. This approach to problem solving is used to search for (quasi-)optimal solutions according to a fitness function.

Requirements: This course is for beginners. No experience in programming, agent-based modeling, or evolutionary simulation is required.

Workshop language: English
Lecturer: Genta Toya (Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), Japan)

Date: November 3–4, 2017 / 10:00-17:00
Room: Systematischer Arbeitsraum, Institute of Musicology, University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Köln

Workshop plan:

Day 1 10:00-16:30
10:00-11:30: Introduction to Evolutionary Simulation and Genetic Algorithms (1.5 hour)
12:00-13:30: Tutorial: NetLogo (1.5 hour)
15:00-16:30: "Predatory & Prey" using Evolutionary Simulation (1.5 hour)

Day 2 10:00-16:30
10:00-11:30: Programming Agent’s Behavior (1.5 hour)
12:00-13:30: Programming Evolutionary Simulation (1.5 hour)
15:00-16:30: Modification (1.5 hour)

Please include full name + Matrikelnummer