Thesis topic

Retro-Cueing Working Memory Project

© pixabay

How does our brain coordinate working memory processes? To answer this question, previous neuroimaging studies have investigated the neural correlates of prioritization of items (for example colors) held in visual short term memory. Using EEG, it has been shown that prioritized items (say, a red, blue and green item on the left half of a screen) in working memory may be reflected by two EEG-based signatures. During the working memory retention interval (so while people actively memorize items), both the contralateral delay activity (CDA), as well as power in the alpha band (around 8-12 Hz) in posterior brain areas, have been found to differ between memorized items presented in the contralateral or ipsilateral visual hemifield.

So the interesting part about these EEG measures is that they both exhibit a lateralized topography: Contralateral to memorized visual target(s), for the CDA, more negative ERP amplitudes (Luria et al., 2016; Vogel & Machizawa, 2004) and for alpha activity, reduced power (Green et al., 2017; Sauseng et al., 2009) has been found.

But do memory representations remain lateralized according to the target‘s original retinotopic location, even when the gaze is shifted in the meantime? Or is lateralization updated according to target‘s current spatiotopic location in the world? To address these questions, we are carrying out a multi-method study, in which participants will complete a visual working memory task while we measure their EEG and simultaneously collect eye-tracking data.

We are looking for motivated students to assist in this project, either as a research internship or as part of a thesis topic.

What you will be doing:

As part of your research internship or thesis project, you will assist the project team in all stages of the project. With the help of close supervision, you will contribute to the project, e.g. by

  • organizing subject acquisition and appointment scheduling
  • assisting in lab-based EEG & eye-tracking data collection
  • doing literature research and participating in journal clubs about relevant papers.
  • possibility contributing your own research question(s) to the project

We are looking for:

  • first experience with and / or an interest in neuroscientific methods
  • structured, careful and self-reliant work
  • openness, communication skills and ability to work in a team
  • confident handling of common MS Office, browser and mail applications
  • ideally first experience with R and / or MATLAB
  • ideally first experience with participant recruitment and / or data collection

We are offering:

  • a research internship and / or a thesis topic (B.Sc. and M.Sc.)
  • very close mentoring and feedback throughout the process
  • a project which adheres to open science principles
  • hands-on experience with neuroscientific methods (EEG and eye-tracking)
  • insights into data analysis with eeglab toolbox in MATLAB
  • hands-on experience with statistical data analysis using R
  • and additional learning opportunities depending on your interest (e.g. advanced statistical analyses, scientific writing, improving coding skills, …)


Please contact us by sending a short introductory statement and a CV to anna.lena.biel[at]


Green, J. J., Boehler, C. N., Roberts, K. C., Chen, L. C., Krebs, R. M., Song, A. W., & Woldorff, M. G. (2017). Cortical and subcortical coordination of visual spatial attention revealed by simultaneous EEG–fMRI recording. Journal of Neuroscience, 37(33), 7803-7810.

Luria, R., Balaban, H., Awh, E., & Vogel, E. K. (2016). The contralateral delay activity as a neural measure of visual working memory. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 62, 100-108.

Sauseng, P., Klimesch, W., Gerloff, C., & Hummel, F. C. (2009). Spontaneous locally restricted EEG alpha activity determines cortical excitability in the motor cortex. Neuropsychologia, 47(1), 284-288.

Vogel, E. K., & Machizawa, M. G. (2004). Neural activity predicts individual differences in visual working memory capacity. Nature, 428(6984), 748-751.

Thesis topic

Do different pipelines lead to the same outcome?


Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience are facing a replicability crisis as it is estimated that around 50% of studies in these fields could not be replicated (Open Science Collaboration, 2015). A few potential reasons have been named, including small effects and differences in experimental setups (e.g., varying tasks). Another factor that could contribute to low replicability is a lack of standardized data cleaning and analysis practices. Laboratories worldwide vary in the way they process data, by using so-called data processing pipelines - steps that are used to prepare data for the analysis. For instance, electroencephalogram (EEG) data can be processed in numerous different ways despite the fact that it is one of the most commonly used neuroimaging tools in Psychology. But how variable are the data processing pipelines in real-life laboratory settings and how much do they affect the result if at all? This thesis will contribute to the EEGManyPipelines project, which is a community driven, international collaborative approach to tackle the causes behind the replicability crisis in the field. We will look at how much the EEG signal differs before and after processing and cleaning it, by using different pipelines. If you wish to learn more about EEG data preprocessing, and would like to consider continuing your career path in research – this project might be just for you!

What you will be doing:

With a help of close supervision you will be estimating features from the raw EEG dataset with minimal processing and comparing those to the features of the same data that had been pre-processed by different labs. We will derive brain signal features that originate from the neural activity (e.g., oscillations, event-related potentials) as well as noise (e.g., muscle activity), and compare how much they change after the processing. We will then try to identify potential determinants of this change.

We are searching for:

  • interest in EEG data processing
  • some familiarity with Matlab and/or Python 
  • good English skills
  • good organizational skills

We are offering:

  • close mentoring
  • project on existing dataset (no data collection is required)
  • broad learning opportunities (e.g. improved coding skills in Matlab)
  • hands-on experience to research practices
  • practical insights


Please contact us by sending a short introductory statement and a CV to elena.cesnaite[at]

Open Science Collaboration. Estimating the reproducibility of psychological science. Science 349, 1–8 (2015).

Thesis topic

Have I seen this before?

© Robina Weermeijer on Unsplash

It is well known that our memories fade over time: with the passage of time, people tend to remember fewer details about a scene they saw as it becomes less vivid. Memory formation and representation can be studied experimentally in a laboratory set up by presenting participants with different sets of pictures, some of which are repeated, and asking to indicate if they have seen the picture before. In our laboratory we also aim to understand neural representation of memories and measure participants’ brain activity with an electroencephalogram (EEG). By doing so we try to understand why at times pictures are remembered or forgotten. Forgetting can depend on various factors - it can depend not only on how much time has passed between two presentations of the same picture, but it can also depend on the properties of the picture itself. How well a picture is remembered can be measured by behavioral measures, i.e., correct answers, but it can also be represented by neural network activity, i.e. event-related potentials (ERPs). In this Master thesis we will investigate the question which factors determine whether the picture is remembered or forgotten and what their neural representations in the brain are.

What you will be doing:

With the help of a supervisor, you will be working on an existing dataset that includes behavioral and EEG data. You will extract features from the EEG data under different conditions and compare them statistically. You will learn how to analyze and interpret EEG data, visualize and discuss your findings.

We are searching for:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • interest in memory formation
  • interest EEG data processing
  • basic familiarity with Matlab and/or R
  • good English skills
  • good organizational skills

We are offering:

  • close mentoring
  • project on existing dataset (no data collection is required!)
  • broad learning opportunities (e.g. improved coding skills in Matlab and R!)
  • hands-on experience to research practices
  • practical insights


Please do not hesitate to contact us by sending a short introductory statement and a CV to elena.cesnaite[at]

Thesis topic

“Do they even know what they are doing?” - Metacognitive Aspects of Iconic Memory and its Relation to Alpha Rhythm


'Iconic Memory', often also called 'visual sensory memory', is a part of the visual memory tasked with the short-term encoding of visual impressions before they transition to the working memory. Imagine 'screenshots' of your environment, deleted mere milliseconds after they are taken. Expecially interesting aspects of the iconic memory are
a) its large storage capacity (significantly larger than in working memory ) and
b) the short timeframe of encoding (significantly shorter than in working memory).
Most intriguing however is its manner of processing, which is currently hotly debated. It remains, on the contrary to conditions in working memory, still unclear if the iconic memory can consciously process information. The unsolved metacognitive aspect - How much does a person know about their own cognitive processing and to what extent can they influence it? - gives rise to several further research questions: Does iconic memory performance even necessitate conscious processing? Do people know they are taking 'screenshots'? Can they deliberately access those screenshots? Or does an automatic unconscious process take place?


To answer the aforementioned questions, we are examining alpha rhythm - an oscillation of 8 - 12 Hz in human EEG signals - in our study. Alpha rhythm has been linked to visual decisions, attention, and visual memory as well as having been proven to interact with cognitive and metacognitive processes. However, the specific relationship between iconic memory and alpha rhythm remains unclear. Our aim in this experiment is to further establish a connection between iconic memory and alpha rhythm and additionally differentiate between cognitive and metacognitive aspects.

We are searching for:

  • an interest in research as well as self-reliance, organization and reliability
  • basic R skills (necessary for data analysis)

Your tasks will be:

  • participant recruitment and appointment scheduling
  • preparation & supervision of EEG recordings
  • literature research
  • analysis of behavioral data
  • composition of your thesis

We are offering you:

  • hands-on research in EEG experiments
  • interesting insights in the collection & analysis of EEG data
  • a great team! ;)


Data collection for this project is scheduled for February to June, analysis and composition of the thesis may also take place afterwards.


Please contact paul.smith[at]

Sperling, G. (1960). The information available in brief visual presentations. Psychological Monographs: General and Applied, 74(11), 1-29.

Quilty‐Dunn, J. (2020). Is iconic memory iconic?. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, 101(3), 660-682.


Have you ever heard of the so-called 'replication crisis' in psychology and asked yourself what you could do about it? The EEGManyLabs project replicates high-impact EEG-studies in labs all around the world. This allows us to systematically examine (a) how robust research findings are and (b) how specific lab setups influence results. As an intern in our research group, you will contribute to the experimental collection of data and gain valuable skills in the collection of EEG data. Furthermore, we offer insights in international research projects and ways to handle the replication crisis.

We offer you:

  • insights in current research topics
  • EEG data collection skills and experience in experimental psychology
  • flexible work hours
  • great supervision
  • cooperation with a great team! :)

We are searching for:

  • interest in experimental research
  • self-reliance and reliability
  • ability to work in a team and motivation

Interested? Send any questions or your application including a CV to paul.smith[at]