Personal Pages of Anne Fransen


I graduated in Nijmegen in both medical biology (2009), and cognitive neuroscience (2010). Since then I have been working as a PhD in this group.

Current project

It has become clear that attentive expectation has a direct effect on the way information is processed in sensory cortical areas (Lee & Maunsell, 2009; Li & Ebner, 2007; Roberts et al., 2008; Womelsdorf et al., 2008). This begs the question how these effects come about. This is the focus of my PhD project. In addition, I am studying changes in tactile processing related to inattentive expectation, and to behavioural learning

Studies from our lab and others have tried to answer the first two questions using human subjects. This has lead to interesting results, involving that expectation/attention induces a spatially and temporally specific desynchronisation in the beta band.

However, there seems to be more to the story: current work in our lab has shown that the attentional benefit at the behavioural level is largely unexplained by changes in the beta power. It is unclear what other mechanisms play a role in bringing about effects of expectation and attention. In addition, it is unclear how beta synchronisation relates to the firing patterns of sensory neurons.

My approach makes use of epidural ECoG recordings over the primary and secondary tactile cortex of unrestrained rats. Using this method I hope to shed light on local mechanism that are out of reach for human studies.

Furthermore, I am developing a method to combine this ECoG set-up withwire electrode recordings from the same areas. Thus changes that are localised to single neurons can be studied in combination with changes in network dynamics


a.fransen at

+31 24 36 55933