Student Speakers

Synapsium 2024 will have four amazing student speakers! In this blog you will learn more about their research and talks.


Transauricular Vagal Nerve Stimulation in Patients Suffering from Disorders of Consciousness.

Emma Remacle

We aimed to investigate the benefits of 5-days bilateral taVNS stimulation in patients suffering from Disorders of Consciousness in the acute stages following brain injury. We measured the patients’ behavioral recovery using the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised.

Emerging Languages in the Lab: Affordances and Evolutionary Trajectories of Iconicity in Gestures and Vocalisations 

Oxana Grosseck

How did the first human languages evolve? And were those early signals spoken, gestured, or a mix of both? While these questions remain elusive, it seems that a perceived resemblance between a signal and its meaning – the signal’s iconicity – is essential to getting a communication system off the ground. In this project, we use online experiments and VR to simulate language evolution with modern humans, which lets us take a direct look at the iconicity of their communication as it evolves.

Designing an Optically-Pumped Magnetometer System as the Next Generation of MEG at the Donders 

Konstantinos Tsilimparis

Are optically-pumped magnetometers (OPMs) the future of MEG? In comparison to the established MEG systems, OPMs promise improved spatial resolution and source reconstruction accuracy, particularly for cortical regions. Yet, OPMs still face higher sensor noise. Our study addresses the question of how many OPM sensors would be needed to outperform a 275-sensor MEG system.

Using fNIRS to Measure Mentalizing During Interactions across Species and Agents

Dorka Boda, Fabiola de Andrade and Hester van Beek

Mentalizing, the ability to infer intentions, beliefs, and emotions of other agents, is essential for successful social interactions. Numerous studies have highlighted the significant role of the right Temporoparietal Junction (rTPJ) during mentalizing other humans. However, we interact not only with other humans in our everyday lives but also with other species and agents; we walk the dog and interact with social robots. Yet, it remains unknown how mentalizing operates during those interactions across species and agents and what role the rTPJ has in this. In the present experiments, we aim to address this gap by measuring rTPJ using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS).