Lab Director – Sonja A. Kotz

I hold a Chair in Neuropsychology and Translational Cognitive Neuroscience at the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience (FPN), Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology (NPPP) at Maastricht University, the Netherlands. Since starting my current post in the Netherlands (2015), I am a board member and current Chair of the Research Council of FPN at Maastricht University. I was the President of the European Society for Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (ESCAN; 2016-2018) and the President of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (SNL; 2018-2020). I am an elected scientific advisory board member of several European research institutes  (Italian Institute of Technology (IIT), Genova, Italy; the Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour, Nijmegen, The Netherlands; Center Language Communication and the Brain (ILCB) and Brain & Language Research Institute (BLRI) LPL-CNRS & Université d’Aix-Marseille, France; ISCTE, Lisbon).  I serve as a board member and senior editor of major journals (Neuroimage, Cortex, Neurobiology of Language, PLoS ONE, Time & Time Perception). I actively review for all top neuroscience journals and almost all major research funding bodies in Europe, North America, and Australia.

I collaborate with leading experts in speech, music, and attention neuroscience. These include nationally: Prof. Rainer Goebel, Prof. Elia Formisano, Dr. Federico De Martino, Prof. Alexander Sack, Prof. Yasin Temel, Dr. Mark Janssen, Prof. David Linden, all Maastricht University; internationally: Prof. David Poeppel, NYU & Ernst Sprüngmann Institute for Neuroscience; Prof. Joachim Gross, University of Münster;  Dr. Molly Henry, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics; Prof. Pascal Belin, Aix-Marseille University; Prof. Hugo Merchant, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México (UNAM); Prof. Josef Rauschecker, Georgetown University; Prof. Robert Zatorre & Prof. Simone Dalla Bella, International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research (BRAMS); Prof. Erich Schröger, University of Leipzig; Prof. István Winkler, Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA); Dr. Nelson-Trujillo-Barreto, University of Manchester; Prof. Wael El-Deredy, Universidad de Valparaiso; Dr. Ana Pinheiro, University of Lisabon.

Links to find out more about Sonja:


Google Scholar




My scientific career has unfolded in three phases: (1) With modern neuroimaging techniques (M/EEG, f/sMRI, TMS), I started a program at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig, Germany in 1996, investigating how predictive cues (temporal, formal, and emotional) facilitate the perception and cognition of verbal and nonverbal speech, language, communication, and music in healthy and clinical populations (e.g., Schirmer & Kotz, 2006; Kotz & Schwartze, 2010; Stahl, Kotz et al., 2011) (2) At the University of Manchester, UK (2012-2015), I extended this research to the analyses of neural oscillation and computational modeling to understand (i) how learning mechanisms apply to speech, language, and music (e.g. Mestres-Misse et al., 2016, 2017; Verga et al., 2015), and (ii) which neural mechanisms underlie the facilitatory effects of music, rhythm, and social interaction in learning (e.g. Schwartze & Kotz, 2013; Verga & Kotz, 2019a, b). (3) At Maastricht University (since 2015), I continue (i) to specify the neural network interface(s) of fronto-striatal and cortico-cerebellar circuitries involved in uni- and multimodal processing and (re-)learning, with a particular focus on temporal, rhythmic, and emotional stimulus properties and contexts, (ii) with animal models (rodent (Temel, Jansen @UM), macaque monkey (Merchant, Mexico)) and lesion-symptom mapping, I substantiate the relative contribution of specific brain regions (e.g. thalamus, supplementary motor area, posterior superior temporal gyrus) to uni- and multimodal processing and integration, and (iii) by means of translational and intervention models, we develop neuromodulatory therapies in persons with Parkinson’s disease, subcortical stroke, tinnitus, and first incidence psychosis (e.g. Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS), rhythmic cueing, gaming; Nozaradan et al., 2017; Dalla Bella et al., 2017; Brinkmann et al., 2021; Honcamp et al., 2022).


  • Cognitive, Affective, & Translational Neuroscience
  • Verbal and non-verbal (social) communication
  • Time and rhythm perception
  • Predictive coding in auditory, visual, and multimodal emotion perception
  • Cognitive and affective control
  • Learning and neuroplasticity


  • s/fMRI (3 and 7T); Parcellation, VBM, Lesion-Symptom Mapping, Connectivity,
    Multivariate pattern classification
  • M/EEG and TFA
  • Integration of neuroimaging methods (EEG/fMRI; EEG/Lesion mapping)

Qualifications and Professional Experience

  • 2015 – Chair in Neuropsychology and Translational Cognitive Neuroscience; Head of Section: Neuropsychology, Department of Neuropsychology and Psychopharmacology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  • 2014 – 2017 Research Associate; Université de Montpellier, EUROMOV, Movement to Health (M2H) lab, Montpellier, France
  • 2013 – 2015 Head of Section: Cognitive Neuroscience & Experimental Psychology, School of Psychological Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United
  • 2012 – 2015 Chair in Cognitive and Affective Neurosciences, School of Psychological
    Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, United Kingdom
  • 2006 – University of Leipzig, Germany: Doctor rerum naturalium habilitatus (Psychology)
  • 1996 – 2016 Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig,
    -2012 – 2016: Research Professor
    -2007 – 2011: Max Planck Minerva Professor
    -2000 – 2006: Tenured Senior Research Scientist
    -1996 – 2000: Research Scientist
  • 1996 – Current University of Leipzig, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy and
    Psychology, Leipzig, Germany:
    -2010 – Current: Honorary Professor
    -1996 – 2009: Reader
  • 1996 – Tufts University, USA: Ph.D. (Experimental Psychology/Neuropsychology)
  • 1992 – Tufts University, USA: M.Sc. (Experimental Psychology/Neuropsychology)
  • 1986 – University of Tübingen, Germany: M.A. (Psycholinguistics, Literary and Political Sciences)

Selected Publications

  • A Criscuolo, M Schwartze, SA Kotz (2022). Cognition through the lens of a body–brain dynamic system. Trends in Neurosciences.
  • Honcamp, H., Schwartze, M., Linden, D.F.J., El-deredy, W., & Kotz, S.A. (2022). Unpacking Hidden Resting State Dynamics: Providing A New Analytic Take On Auditory Verbal Hallucinations. Neuroimage, 255:119188. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119188
  • Kasdan, A., Burgess, A., Pizzagalli, F., Scartozzi, A., Chern, A., Kotz, S.A., Wilson, S.E., & Gordon, R.L. (2022). Identifying a brain network for musical rhythm: A functional neuroimaging meta-analysis and systematic review. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral, 136:104588.
  • Henry, M.J., Cook, P.F., de Reus, K., Nityanada, V., Rouse, A.R., & Kotz, S.A. (2021). An ecological approach to measuring synchronization abilities across the animal kingdom. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B., 376: 20200336. doi:10.1098/rstb.2020.0336
  • Giordano, B.L., Whiting, C., Kriegeskorte, N., Kotz, S.A., Gross, J., & Belin, P. (2021). The Representational Dynamics of Perceived Voice Emotions Evolve from Categories to Dimensions. Nature Human Behaviour, 5, 1203-1213. DOI:10.1038/s41562-021-01073-0
  • Stockert, A., Schwartze, M., Poeppel, D. Anwander, A., & Kotz, S.A. (2021). Temporo-cerebellar connectivity underlies timing constraints in audition. Elife;10:e67303. DOI:10.7554/eLife.67303
  • Pinheiro, A.P., Schwartze, M., & Kotz, S.A. (2020).Cerebellar circuitry and auditory verbal hallucinations: and integrative synthesis and perspective. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, 118:485-503. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.08.004
  • Johnson, J.F., Belyk, M., Schwartze, M., Pinheiro, A.P., & Kotz, S.A. (2019). The role of the cerebellum in adaptation: ALE meta-analyses on sensory feedback error. Human Brain Mapping, 40(13), 3966-3981. doi: 10.1002/hbm.24681.
  • Harding, E. E., Sammler, D., Henry, M. J., Large, E. W., & Kotz, S. A.(2019). Cortical tracking of rhythm in music and speech. Neuroimage, 185, 96-101.
  • Kotz, S. A., Ravignani, A., & Fitch, W. T. (2018). The Evolution of Rhythm Processing. Trends Cogn Sci, 22(10), 896-910.
  • Kotz, S.A. & Schwartze, M. (2016). Motor timing and sequencing in speech production: A general purpose framework. In: Hickock, G.S., & Small, S.L. (eds.). Neurobiology of Language, pp.717-723.

Awards & Academic Recognitions

  • 2019 – 2021 Fellowship of the Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica de Chile (CONICYT) – PCI Programa de Cooperación I Internacional, Universidad de Valparaíso, Chile
  • 2017 – 2019 Visiting Professor in Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, UK
  • 2018 – Honorary Professor, Faculty of Psychology, University of Lisbon (FPUL), Portugal
  • 2015 – Honorary Chair in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Division of Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology, University of Manchester, UK
  • 2015 – Research Fellow, Georgetown University, Department of Neuroscience, Laboratory of Integrative Neuroscience and Cognition, Washington D.C., USA
  • 2010 – Honorary Professor in Experimental Psychology, University of Leipzig, Germany
  • 2007 – 2012 Max Planck Society Minerva Award: “Excellence Support for Female Scientists”
  • 1996 Dissertation Award, Dean of the Graduate School, Tufts University, USA
  • 1989 – 1996 Conference Award, Dean of the Graduate School and Department of Psychology, Tufts University, USA
  • 1988 – 1996 Ph.D. Fellowship, Dean of the Graduate School, Tufts University, USA