Welcome to the website of Elkan Akyürek, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.
• I very much enjoyed our working memory “Engram” meeting, and it ended on a particularly festive note with Aytaç winning the Poster Prize, together with Muhammet Sahan!
• On May 30-31st, as part of our NWO-funded ORA project, we are hosting an expert meeting on the cognitive neuroscience of working memory. The meeting will take place in Groningen, but all the talks will be livestreamed via our meeting website. We have some of the very best in the field on the program, so make sure to check it out!
• I am now also on Twitter (@elkanakyurek), so follow me there for more updates and retweets.
• We attended the excellent NVP
Winter Spring Conference again! From left to right: Güven, Gülşen, Joost, Sophia, Aytaç, Yining, Robbert, Yuanyuan, Elkan, Shuyao, and Ahmet.
• Michael’s excellent PhD Thesis has won the BCN Dissertation Award of 2020-2021. Congrats! It was well-deserved, in my only-slightly-biased opinion!
• I added a new preprint to the Publications section. It is a rebuttal to a paper by Barbosa, Lozano-Soldevilla, and Compte (2021, PLoS Biology), in which they present a critique of our paper on hidden brain states underlying working memory (2017, Nature Neuroscience).
• Congrats to Ahmet for just getting his first paper on the acute effects of cocoa flavanols on working memory accepted for publication in the European Journal of Nutrition!
• No fewer than three new team members have started in my lab this month: Robbert as a postdoc on the Police and Science project, Sophia as a PhD student funded by the Faculty PhD Fund, and Yuanyuan as a PhD student funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. Welcome to all!
• The “Nothing But The Truth” symposium on truth and trust in science is coming up on the 1st of November. Organized by the BCN Research School, the symposium will feature plenary talks by John Ioannidis, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Heather Douglas and Hanneke Hulst, as well as several interactive workshops. Worth taking a look at, here!
• Our paper on the two faces of conscious awareness during the attentional blink has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. I am happy to see the hard work of first author Aytaç thus rewarded, and to see Sophia publish her first paper, before she even formally started her PhD! Check out our preprint on bioRxiv to see what it is all about.
• The postdoctoral vacancy for the Police project is live! If you are interested in hidden knowledge detection, and if you are about to finish your PhD, or just did, take a look here. *expired*
• We have recently revised our original preprint from 2019 on conscious awareness during the attentional blink. As before, the new revision can be found on bioRxiv.
• A new preprint is available from the Publications section. It is the first paper by Ivory, which features some promising results on using pupillometry to detect concealed identity information.
• Another new member of the lab is incoming! The Faculty PhD Fund has selected the research proposal of Sophia Wilhelm, a BCN master student, for funding. Her project will be co-supervised by Robbert Havekes at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES).
• Exciting times ahead: My research proposal on a new method for hidden knowledge detection in photo lineups was funded in the Politie en Wetenschap (“Police and Science”) research program. I will soon start recruiting a new postdoctoral researcher!
• Today Michael Wolff successfully defended his PhD Thesis at the University of Groningen, and received his doctorate degree with the distinction Cum Laude! Congratulations once more on this incredible achievement!
• Joost just published his first paper, and my 50th! Congratulations on getting “A common dynamic prior for time in duration discrimination” published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
• We have a new “dr.” in our midst: Aytaç just passed his PhD defense with flying colors. Congratulations once again!
• Some very good news from Ivory today: Her PhD project got funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. Congrats!
• A new preprint is available from the Publications section. It is Joost’s first submitted manuscript, presenting some evidence for a Bayesian perspective on time estimation.
• I just heard that our manuscript “A functional spiking-neuron model of activity-silent working memory in humans based on calcium-mediated short-term synaptic plasticity” was accepted for publication by PLOS Computational Biology. Many thanks to my co-authors Matthijs Pals, Terrence Stewart, and Jelmer Borst!
• Acta Psychologica just accepted Gülşen’s first paper on “Adaptive event integration in the missing element task” for publication. Spoiler alert: It’s not very likely!
• Off to a good start of the new year: Michael’s paper “Drifting codes within a stable coding scheme for working memory” has been accepted for publication in PLOS Biology! You can still find the preprint on bioRxiv.
• We attended the NVP Winter Conference with pretty much the whole team again. From left to right: Güven, Ahmet, Shuyao, Elkan, Yining, Aytaç, Joost, and Gülşen. Happy holidays!
• The Journal of Neuroscience has accepted our paper on “Unimodal and bimodal access to sensory working memories by auditory and visual impulses” for publication. Nice! If you’re curious, the preprint remains publicly available on bioRxiv, here.
• Yet another bioRxiv preprint has been added to the Publications section. This one resulted from a collaboration with Jelmer Borst and features a spiking-neuron model of activity-silent working memory.
• Jefta Saija just successfully defended his PhD thesis. Well done and congratulations dr. Saija!
• Funded by a grant from the Chinese Scholarship Council, Shuyao Wang has just joined the team. Welcome!
• I have added another brand-new bioRxiv preprint to the Publications section. In this paper, we report some very intriguing results from a series of attentional blink experiments, which have implications for models of conscious awareness as well.
• I have added two new preprints to the Publications section. These are manuscripts that have been made public through the bioRxiv server, while they undergo peer review at a scientific journal. Check them out for an early bird’s view on some of our latest work.
• Ahmet, Aytaç, Gulşen, Güven, and I will attend the ESCoP conference in Tenerife in September. We’re scheduled for 3 talks and 2 posters, so come see us there!
• I just received some great news: Joost de Jong, a second-year BCN master student, got his research proposal for a PhD project funded by our Faculty! Starting in the Fall, his PhD will be co-supervised by me and Hedderik van Rijn.
• Proof that master theses can be both fun and productive: Psychophysiology has agreed to publish the paper that Eria Wijnja and I wrote on the EEG study she did for her master’s!
• Have you always wondered about color and contrast effects on temporal integration in rapid serial visual presentation? So did we, and Acta Psychologica just accepted our latest paper on this topic! You can find all the details in the Publications section.
• Job opportunity in my lab: Applications are now invited for a postdoctoral researcher to work on the ORA project (see below). If you have a PhD -or will soon get one- in Cognitive Neuroscience, or a related field, and have experience with EEG, you may be just the person for the job! More details here. *expired*
• Together with Mark Stokes at the University of Oxford and Nikolai Axmacher at the Ruhr-University Bochum, I’ve been awarded an Open Research Area (ORA) collaborative research grant! The grant will allow us to study hidden brain states that underlie efficient representation in working memory, for the coming three years. I will be looking for a new postdoc to join the team soon!
• I’ve been a member of the excellent European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) for many years now. So I was very proud to learn that the society has awarded its Early Career Publication Award to Michael for his Nature Neuroscience paper. Well done once again, Mr. Wolff!
• A new PhD student, Ahmet Altinok, just joined us. Welcome to the team!
• Michael’s Nature Neuroscience paper on decoding hidden working memory brain states has won the Snijders-Kouwer Award at the Heymans Symposium. Congratulations to Michael on this achievement and on giving a memorable acceptance speech over Skype!
• The Mindwise blog just posted a cool story on the cocoa flavanols paper of Aytaç, highlighting its main findings. You can find it right here.
• Some good news for chocolate lovers will appear soon in Psychopharmacology: Together with David Field from Reading, Aytaç, Jefta, and I discovered that consuming cocoa flavanols can boost your attentional search abilities. So you know what to eat next time you’re looking for that one little brick…
• After the nice NVP Winter Conference last month, I will attend another gathering in the Netherlands: I just heard that I will be giving a talk on working memory and temporal integration at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society in Amsterdam in May.
• Together with our colleagues at Leiden University, BCN Master student Anna Leonte and I investigated the effects of GABA consumption on temporal and spatial attention; the results will appear soon in Brain and Cognition.
• We’ll be attending the Winter Conference of the NVP (Dutch Psychonomic Society) in force this year– we are scheduled for no fewer than three oral presentations!
• More reinforcements: Gulşen Balta has now also joined the team. Welcome!
• Güven Kandemir officially started as a PhD in my group. Welcome aboard!
• More good news: Psychological Research has accepted Jefta‘s paper on “Visual and auditory temporal integration in healthy younger and older adults” for publication.
• I just published my 40th paper, entitled “What you see is what you remember: Visual chunking by temporal integration enhances working memory” in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience!
• Giving a presentation in a church is perhaps a little odd for a scientist, but I nevertheless enjoyed it at the 2017 Heymans Symposium. I showcased Michael’s work on hidden brain states:
• More attention for Michael’s recent paper in an interview that appeared in our University newspaper, the “Universiteitskrant” (you may have to click the link twice for it to load properly).
• A nice and insightful commentary article by Rademaker & Serences was just published in Nature Neuroscience, accompanying Michael’s paper on hidden states underlying working memory.
• Together with Michael and Aytaç, I will attend both the ECVP and the bi-annual ESCoP conference again this year, and present some of my recent work on the event-related potential correlates of temporal integration.
• The very first paper of Aytaç “The effects of Kanizsa contours on temporal integration and attention in rapid serial visual presentation” was just accepted for publication in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics!
• Nature Neuroscience just formally accepted Michael‘s paper “Dynamic hidden states underlying working memory guided behaviour” for publication!
• Consciousness and Cognition is clearly on a roll, now also accepting our paper spearheaded by Luca Simione from Rome “Illusions of integration are subjectively impenetrable: Phenomenological experience of Lag 1 percepts during dual-target RSVP” for publication.
• The journal Consciousness and Cognition accepted our paper “Distortions of temporal integration and perceived order caused by the interplay between stimulus contrast and duration” for publication as part of a Special Issue on brain potentials associated with consciousness!