Molly J. Henry
I'm interested in how synchronization between brain rhythms and environmental rhythms shapes auditory perception. I use a combination of behavioral/psychophysical and electrophysiological methods to investigate this problem. Before starting the Max Planck Research Group "Neural and Environmental Rhythms", I was a postdoc in the Music and Neuroscience Lab at the University of Western Ontario, and before that in the Max Planck Research Group “Auditory Cognition” at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany (now the Obleser Lab at the University of Lübeck). I received my PhD in Experimental Psychology in 2011 from Bowling Green State University (in the Timing, Attention, and Perception Lab, now at Michigan State University). I love karaoke. [CV]
My main research interest is to understand how neural activity gives rise to perception. Within this frame, I am interested on the special role of brain rhythms as key mechanism orchestrating network dynamics. To investigate these topics, I have been using a combination of human psychophysics, functional brain imaging and non-invasive brain stimulation techniques. Before joining the group, I was a postdoc at the MEG Unit, BIC, Frankfurt University (Prof. Michael Wibral) in collaboration with the German resilience center in Mainz (Prof. Oliver Tüscher). I received my PhD in Systems Neuroscience in 2016 from the University of Göttingen (Institute for Cognitive Neurology, Prof. Melanie Wilke). I obtained my master’s degree in Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience in 2011 from the Cuban Center for Scientific Investigations and a Diploma degree in Psychology in 2007 from the University of Havana, Cuba. In addition to science, I love music and photography.
Olivia Xin Wen
My research focuses on perceptual and cognitive principles underlying music listening, music performance, and dancing. I am also interested in neural processes involved in these activities. Before joining the group, I received my Ph.D. in Psychology in 2019 from Cornell University (Advisor: Prof. Carol Krumhansl), and obtained my Bachelor’s degree in both Psychology and Music in 2013 from Grinnell College. In my spare time, I enjoy singing, tango dancing, and traveling. [website]
visiting PhD student
Tahereh Afghah is a doctoral student in “computer music” at the university of California San Diego. She pursues the aforementioned program under the supervision of Prof. Miller Puckette. She is currently a visiting scholar in “Neural and Environmental Rhythms” research group at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt under supervision of Dr. Molly Henry. She completed her master’s degree in media technology with specialization in audio engineering at the technical university of Ilmenau, Thuringia, Germany. Her postgraduate degree was completed under the supervision of Prof. Karlheinz Brandenburg. She completed her dual bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and audio engineering. Her research focuses on spatial audio perception, 3D audio reproduction techniques, psychoacoustics, the design of psychoacoustic based listening experiments, audio signal processing, and human-digital media interaction.
The main focus of my research is the investigation of perception and cognition of rhythm in the domains of music and language. Having a background in psychology, I explored cultural differences in rhythmic grouping, using behavioral and psychophysical methods. Before joining the group, I completed my master’s degree in Cognitive Science at Bogazici University, Turkey. For my thesis, I investigated the effects of native language on perception and grouping of tones and phonemes. I worked in the project "Potential Influences of Music and Language on Rhythm Perception" (supervised by Dr. Esra Mungan), which enabled me to pursue and advance my studies. Additionally, I was involved in other projects addressing various topics from the disciplines of linguistics and philosophy, reflecting my other scientific interests such as phonetics, phonology and predictive information processing. In my free time, you can find me playing old songs at a blues bar or producing electronic music at home.
My main research is broadly centered on the perception of music and time, with a secondary interest in the interrelationship between speech, music, and absolute pitch. I completed my MA in Music at Durham University in 2019; my thesis, supervised by Dr. Kelly Jakubowski, was a corpus analysis of Malian jembe music examining timing asynchronies during the production of polyrhythms, with the aim of understanding how performers are entrained when producing a rhythm that counteracts the prevailing meter of their co-performers. Prior to this, I received my bachelor’s degree in music from City, University of London in 2017, which included a study abroad year at the University of Queensland. During my year abroad, I took up learning the double bass mainly because I enjoy jazz, but later went on to play in several of the orchestras at Durham. I’ve played piano since early childhood, guitar since my teens, and if asked nicely I can sometimes coax a few noises out of a trumpet.
My main research interest addresses the role of neural network dynamics involved in sensory perception and behavior. In this context, I am especially interested in the communication between neural populations required for the complete representation of the auditory environment and the alterations of neural activity patterns implicated in aging and diseases. Before joining the group, I completed my master’s degree in Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main (Institute for Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Dr. Julio Hechavarria). During my bachelor, I studied Medical Biotechnology at the University of Rostock and wrote my thesis at the Leibniz Institute for Molecular Pharmacology/NeuroCure Cluster of Excellence in Berlin.
Master student / HIWI
I am a master student in the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience program at Goethe University in Frankfurt. I completed my bachelor’s in biology at Lewis & College in Portland, Oregon and worked in Prof. Claudio Mello’s vocal learning songbird lab at Oregon Health & Science University. Before joining the “Neural and Environmental Rhythms” group, I interned at the Scene Grammar Lab (Psychology Department, Goethe University) under Prof. Melissa Võ and at the Neuroradiology Department (University Clinic, Frankfurt) under Prof. Joachim Berkefeld. I am fascinated by rhythm perception, rhythm-based therapies, and improvisation in music. In my spare time I enjoy Japanese food and crossword puzzles.
I am a Master student of Interdisciplinary Neuroscience at the Goethe University Frankfurt. Within my bachelor's in Music Psychology and Acoustics at the University of Hamburg, I investigated the perception of soundscapes using EEG (PD Dr. Ch. Neuhaus) and worked with Prof. Clemens Wöllner within the ERC project "SloMo". I am fascinated by the processing of hearing on the cortical and peripheral level and its connections to other cognitive functions. Additionally, I am highly interested in the neurophysiological impacts of sound and noise, as well as in Brain-Computer Interfaces. Before joining the "Neural and Environmental Rhythms Group" I interned at the Institute for Cell Bilogy and Neuroscience under Dr. Julio Hechavarria (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main), in the laboratory for Psychophysiology (Psychiatry of the University Hospital Frankfurt) under Prof. Michael Plichta and at the Department of Otolaryngology (University Hospital Frankfurt) under Prof. Uwe Baumann, where I also work as a student assistant.