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

Neurophysiology of Active Perception

Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and BehaviourOur research program has three components: basic science, methodology and application.

The basic science component is about cognitive phenomena such as expectation, attention, recognition, and prediction. These phenomena explain the variable response of an organism to a stimulus. In fact, this response does not passively reflect the physical properties of a stimulus, but instead depends on his current state and his past experiences. Thus, the organism has an active role in perception and it is our objective to explain this role in terms of its underlying neurophysiological mechanisms. Almost all our experiments involve tactile stimuli, and we mainly use electrophysiological data (MEG, EEG, epidural local field potentials, and MUA).

The methodological component in our research program is the characterization of interactions in spatially distributed neural activity. To explain cognitive phenomena in neurophysiological terms, we need methods to identify these interactions. We contribute to this in two ways. First, we develop data-analytic methods that perform a blind separation of electrophysiological data into their underlying spatio-spectral components. Second, we have developed a setup in which we (1) can record epidural local field potentials (LFPs) and multi-unit activity (MUA) over a large part of the rat somatosensory system and (2) can provide controlled tactile stimulation to the rat’s upper lip.

Our research group also has a strong interest in applications of electrophysiology. These applications may involve both recording technology, data analysis, and behavioral paradigms for the testing of cognitive functions. At the moment our group is involved in a project on invasive brain-computer interfacing (BCI).

Name: Eric Maris
Telephone: 024-361265
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 publications
  • van Ede F, Köster M, Maris E. Beyond establishing involvement: quantifying the contribution of anticipatory alpha-and beta-band suppression to perceptual improvement with attention. J Neurophys. 2012
  • van Ede F, de Lange F, Maris E. Attentional cues affect accuracy and reaction time via different cognitive and neural processes. J Neurosci. 2012 July 25; 32(30):204:208
  • van der Meij R, Kahana M, Maris E. Phase-amplitude coupling in human electrocorticography is spatially distributed and phase diverse. J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 4; 32(1):111-23
  • van Ede F, de Lange F, Jensen O, Maris E. Orienting attention to an upcoming tactile event involves a spatially and temporally specific modulation of sensorimotor alpha- and beta-band oscillations. J Neurosci. 2011 Feb 9; 31(6):2016-24
  • Maris E, Oostenveld R. Nonparametric statistical testing of EEG- and MEG-data. J Neurosci Methods. 2007 Aug 15; 164(1):177-90.


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Theme 4:
Natural Computing & Neurotechnology

Research Group
Neurophysiology of Active Perception

Principal Investigator
Dr Eric Maris

Group members

Charlotte de Blecourt
Anne Fransen