Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour
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Theme 4: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication

Dynamic and naturalistic cognitive neuroscience

In the Dynamic and Naturalistic Cognitive Neuroscience laboratory, we investigate the dynamics of brain function over different timescales. On the timescale of the lifespan we explore how brain function dynamically reorganizes with age and with declines in brain structure. We also ask what mechanisms allow older adults to keep functioning well in daily life.

On the timescale of our daily life experiences (seconds to minutes) we investigate how the brain segments and integrates information over time into meaningful events and neural states, where neural states are temporally stable patterns of neural activity. Across the cortical hierarchy, regions segment information at different temporal scales. We investigate the properties of this segmentation mechanism; how it relates to our experience of temporal events, how it is shaped by attention and drives memory encoding and how it relates to the information that is represented in specific brain regions.

To study these questions we use and develop cutting-edge techniques for measuring brain function, such as data-driven methods for neural state segmentation and more robust functional connectivity metrics. An important feature of our research is that we use naturalistic stimuli, such as movies and auditory narratives that allow us to study brain function in contexts similar to our daily life experiences. Our group is committed to creating a safe, open and inclusive research environment with a healthy balance between life and work.

Name: Linda Geerligs
Telephone: 024-3616091
Visiting address: Donders Centre for Cognition
Thomas van Aquinostraat 4
6525 GD Nijmegen
The Netherlands
Postal address: Donders Centre for Cognition
P.O. Box 9104
6500 HE Nijmegen
The Netherlands

Key grants and prizes

  • 2020 - Donders Centre for Cognition grant 'Structuring real-life events: perception, attention, and memory'
  • 2018 - Human Brain Mapping Editors’ Choice Award: the best paper in the journal Human Brain Mapping in 2017, as selected by the editors.
  • 2016 - NWO Veni grant 'Understanding cognitive function across the adult lifespan: structure‐function interactions in the aging brain'
  • 2014 - NWO Rubicon grant 'Network dynamics in the aging brain'
  • 2009 - PhD Fund of the Graduate School of Behavioural and Social Sciences, University of Groningen 'Staying focused: Inhibition in the aging brain'

Key publications

  • Geerligs L., Rubinov M., Cam-CAN, Henson R.N. (2015) State and trait components of functional connectivity: individual differences vary with mental state. Journal of Neuroscience, 34(41),13949-13961.Full text
  • Geerligs L., Cam-CAN, Henson R.N. (2016) Functional connectivity and structural covariance between regions of interest can be measured more accurately using multivariate distancecorrelation. Neuroimage, 135, 16-31Full text
  • Geerligs L., Renken R.J., Saliasi E., Maurits N.M., Lorist M.M. (2015) A brain wide study of agerelatedchanges in functional connectivity. Cerebral Cortex, 25(7), 1987-1999.Full text
  • Geerligs, L., Cam-CAN, Campbell, K.L. (2018) Age-related differences in information processing during movie watching. Neurbiology of Aging, 72, 106-120Full text
  • Geerligs, L., Tsvetanov K., Cam-CAN, Henson,R.N.A. (2017) Challenges in measuring individual differences in functional connectivity using fMRI: The case of healthy aging. Human Brain Mapping. 38:4125–4156Full text

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Theme 4:
Natural Computing & Neurotechnology


Research Group

Dynamic and naturalistic cognitive neuroscience

Principal Investigator
Dr Linda Geerligs

Group members


Selma Lugtmeijer (based at Brock University)

Christienne Gonzales Damatac (based at the Radboud UMC)


Djamari Oetringer

Dora Gözükara

Michelle Jansen

Hester Huijsdens

Sahel Azizpour