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In 2023 ABC established two new funding schemes: The ‘ABC Themes & Transversal Perspectives Funding’ that fosters collaboration within or across ABC Themes or Perspectives and increases their visibility, and the ABC Support Grant that supports ABC members in their (ongoing), cross-disciplinary (preferably cross-faculty) research.

ABC Themes & Transversal Perspectives

The funding scheme ‘ABC Themes & Transversal Perspectives’ fosters collaboration within or across ABC Themes or Perspectives and increases their visibility.

  • Psychological and cultural foundations of music

    Disa Sauter (FMG)
    Henkjan Honing (FGW)

    An ABC guest colloquium in September 2023 will feature Dr Sam Mehr, School of Psychology, University of
    Auckland and Child Study Center, Yale University. Dr Mehr received his PhD from Harvard in 2017 on the
    topic of the psychology of music. His work combines approaches from the psychological, anthropological, and
    computational sciences to ask fundamental questions around what music is, how music works, and why music
    exists. Dr Mehr is also one of the pioneers of the citizen science movement, which has important implications
    for the ways in which researchers from a wide range of disciplines can connect with the broader public. 

    ABC Colloquium Samuel Mehr

    [granted July 2023]

  • Genetics Network Amsterdam

    Jorien Treur (AUMC)
    Margot van de Weijer (AUMC)

    There are many research groups in Amsterdam that are in some way integrating genetics in their research, but with very different specializations, ranging from gene-environment interplay to imaging and to clinical and developmental psychology. Using the ABC Themes & Transversal Perspectives Grant, we will bring together all genetics researchers in Amsterdam during a Genetics Network Amsterdam meeting. With this meeting, we aim to stimulate collaborations between diverse research groups and discuss science communication about genetics research to the general public. In addition, we want to use this opportunity to actively connect Amsterdam genetics researchers with ABC, by presenting the different ABC themes and transversal perspectives (and the research that takes place in these domains). In doing so, we can find out where ABC’s research intersects with the research of the researchers present at the meeting, and in this way find out where there are still missed opportunities for collaboration.

    [granted July 2023]

ABC Support

The ABC Support Grant supports ABC members in their (ongoing), cross-disciplinary (preferably cross-faculty) research.

  • Is there something special about language?

    Linguistic and non-linguistic top-down influences on perception captured through oscillatory activity.

    Monique Flecken (FGW)
    Conrado Bosman (FNWI)

    The way we see the world around us is very much influenced by what we know and what we expect; for example, we are more likely to see an (ambiguous) image as left- or right-oriented when beforehand a very brief flash of light is presented on the respective side of the screen. Prior information thus biases our perception. Does this also hold for linguistic information? What about words cueing the orientation just before an image is presented? Do these cues bias the perceptual system in similar, or different ways? Psycholinguistic research suggests that words are ‘special’, in that they cue a category, rather than a specific exemplar of a concept: the word ‘dog’ can refer to a chihuahua or a bulldog. When we see a dog of any kind we are perfectly ‘prepared’ for it because of the linguistic label. In perception research, little attention is paid to language as a source of prior knowledge. We address, using neuroimaging, whether there is something special about language for our perceptual system.

    [granted July 2023]

  • Neural effects of Closed-Loop Neurostimulation during REM sleep

    Umberto Olcese (FNWI) 
    Lucia Talamini (FMG)

    The sleeping brain, while less receptive to external stimuli compare to wakefulness, still processes sensory inputs. Recently, we have shown that we can manipulate individual memories during sleep using a technique called closed-loop neurostimulation (CLNS). This method targets auditory stimuli to specific phases of brain oscillations during sleep, allowing for precise memory enhancement or suppression. By focusing on REM sleep's theta oscillations, vital for emotional memory processing, we will further explore to what extent this technique can be used to modulate memory. To address this question, we will compare human EEG recordings to high-density recordings in rats, thus revealing how auditory stimulation affects theta oscillations at the circuit level and, at the same time, in a translational approach. Our goal is to understand emotional memory consolidation at the neural level, enabling  immediate repercussion for clinical research and clinical practice, with implications for treatments  to disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

    [granted July 2023]

  • A Computational Ethnographic Approach to Nonverbal Vocalisations

    Disa Sauter (FMG)
    Floris Roelofsen (FNWI) 
    Roza Kamiloğlu (FMG)

    Nonverbal vocalisations, such as laughter, sighs, moans, and grunts, are fundamental elements of human behaviour. Yet despite their significance, scientific exploration of human vocalisations has been limited, particularly in terms of understanding what leads us to produce vocalisations.
    In the current project, we will leverage the extensive ethnographic dataset of the Electronic Human Relations Area Files, a comprehensive collection of digitized high-quality ethnographies from 315 world cultures. We will produce a nonverbal vocalisations ethnography, which will be analyzed using computational methods, including both clustering analysis and supervised machine learning.
    This project will establish whether different kinds of nonverbal vocalisations occur universally, what triggers them, and what primary functions they serve.

    [granted July 2023]