Paper on syntax in music and language accepted in Frontiers in Psychology

M.P. Roncaglia-Denissen, F.L. Bouwer, & H. Honing (2018). Decision Making Strategy and the Simultaneous Processing of Syntactic Dependencies in Language and Music

Despite differences in their function and domain-specific elements, syntactic processing in music and language is believed to share cognitive resources. This study aims to investigate whether the simultaneous processing of language and music share the use of a common syntactic processor or more general attentional resources. To investigate this matter we tested musicians and non-musicians using visually presented sentences and aurally presented melodies containing syntactic local and long-distance dependencies. Accuracy rates and reaction times of participants’ responses were collected.


Paper on rhythmic complexity accepted in PLoS ONE

F.L. Bouwer, J.A. Burgoyne, D. Odijk, H. Honing, & J.A. Grahn (2018). What makes a rhythm complex? The influence of musical training and accent type on beat perception

Perception of a regular beat in music is inferred from different types of accents. For example, increases in loudness cause intensity accents, and the grouping of time intervals in a rhythm creates temporal accents. Accents are expected to occur on the beat: when accents are “missing” on the beat, the beat is more difficult to find. However, it is unclear whether accents occurring off the beat alter beat perception similarly to missing accents on the beat. Moreover, no one has examined whether intensity accents influence beat perception more or less strongly than temporal accents, nor how musical expertise affects sensitivity to each type of accent. In two experiments, we obtained ratings of difficulty in finding the beat in rhythms with either temporal or intensity accents, and which varied in the number of accents on the beat as well as the number of accents off the beat.


Travel grant awarded by the Landelijk Netwerk Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren

I am very happy to report that I am one of 4 recipients of the Distinguished Women Scientists Fund, awarded by the Landelijk Netwerk Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren (Dutch network of women professors). The DWSF is a travel grant, and will allow me to examine rhythm perception in patients with Parkinson’s disease in collaboration with Dr. Jessica Grahn. I am very excited to start this new line of research!

Presenting at SMART and NVP

I will be presenting at both the the SMART Cognitive Science Conference and the bi-annual conference of the NVP this month.

At SMART, I will present behavioural data from several tests that assess beat perception abilities during the Musicality Phenotype workshop.

At NVP, I will present EEG data looking at the difference between beat-based and memory-based expectations in musical rhythm.

Why do people enjoy music? Can everyone dance? What are potential benefits of music for humans? I am a cognitive-neuroscientist-slash-used-to-be-performing-clarinettist, intrigued by the human mind and passionate about music. In my research, I hope to answer questions like these and many more! Currently, funded by an NWO Veni grant, I focus on how we perceive and produce rhythm.

ABC Talent Grant

I am the lucky recipient of one of two ABC Talent Grants, awarded in September 2016 by Amsterdam Brain and Cognition. The purpose of this grant (100.000 euros) is to spend one year as a postdoctoral researcher at UvA, continuing my research on rhythm and beat perception in the brain. I will be supervised by Dr. Heleen Slagter and Prof. Henkjan Honing. Dr. Slagter is an expert on predictive processing in the brain, and I am very much looking forward to working with her on connecting my research about rhythm and beat perception with general theories about predictive processing!