About the Group

The research group’s predecessor was founded by Valéria Csépe in January of 2000. The group’s research is aimed at understanding the dynamic systems of cognitive functions and the exploration of their developmental aspects. The focus of research is on higher order auditory processing (speech and music) and the dynamic, domain-specific (reading, language processing, visual cognition) and domain-general (executive functions) sub-systems of cognition. Behavioural measures and methods of neuroscience (electrophysiology and neuroimaging) are used in combination to study these processes. In 2014, the group joined the Brain Imaging Centre of RCNS HAS.

The research group focuses on the following topics:

  • perception of speech prosody in newborn infants, and in adults during the acquisition of a second language
  • backgrounds of reading related processes in the deaf
  • the effects of active music learning on cognitive processes and on plasticity
  • probabilistic sequence learning in decision making




Lead researchers of the Brain Imaging Centre, Valéria Csépe, Ferenc Honbolygó and Zoltán Vidnyászky participate in the Neo-Prism-C European Training Network (lead by the University of Cyprus) a four-year project funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 Program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network. Neo-PRISM-C aims to study neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), which emerge early in development and result in long-term disability. The purpose of the Network is to train Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) from multiple disciplines (psychology, neuroscience, data science) in applying the Research Domain Criteria approach, a novel framework for understanding psychopathology, to the study of the mechanisms of NDD, in order to inform and begin to test appropriate treatments. For further information please check the Neo-Prism-C website: http://www.neoprismc.org/

Probabilistic sequence learning in decision making: ERP and fMRI studies (PI: Andrea Kóbor)

An increased sensitivity to environmental regularities is crucial in learning new skills and effectively forming our behavior. We aim to investigate this sensitivity or learning capacity using the state-of-the art tools of cognitive neuroscience, electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging. We are particularly interested in how this learning capacity changes after one or a few days, in what degree it is resistant to new, interfering information, and how the brain adapts to the changed task requirements by continuously experiencing the consequences of risky choices. Our results may have implications in clinical and educational context, such as how to overcome harmful behaviors (substance use disorder, pathological gambling) and to develop training programs to change daily routines (learning the updates of an application, changing communication between various environments).

Multimodal interactions in orthographic learning (PI: Valéria Csépe)

Skilled reading is characterized by fast and automatic visual word recognition which requires the reader to possess detailed and directly accessible orthographic representations. However, little is known about how theses orthographic representations are acquired. In a series of experiments, we aim to test the role of phonological recoding and other factors in orthographic learning. We mainly focus on whether recoding in the visual-auditory modality is a necessary requirement for orthographic learning and which additional, within- and across-modality factors influence orthographic learning, investigated both at the cognitive and at the neurobiological level. To test the crucial importance and modality-specificity of phonological recoding, we compare the orthographic learning of hearing and deaf readers. In addition, we investigate the impact of visual attention on fluent reading and orthographic learning by adopting a special training program. Finally, in the acoustic domain, we investigate whether higher-level phonological (prosodic) factors, such as word stress can modulate orthographic learning (besides phonological recoding) in foreign language learners.

Content Pedagogy Research Program

The Research Group on Active Music Learning has been established in collaboration between the Hungarian Academy of Sciences and Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music and works under the auspices of the Content Pedagogy Research Program of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. Our interdisciplinary research endeavours to develop a new practice for elementary school music instruction which integrates movement into music pedagogy, taking the educational aspects of psychology and cognitive neuroscience into consideration. The main purpose of our methodological work is to develop and adopt a music educational model using movement in elementary school contexts. The model based on creative vocal-movement games aims to support the understanding of musical concepts through directed movement activities, providing a kinaesthetic and visual experience of music for the student. The dynamic music teaching model encourages students to use movement to improvise during singing and music listening, which might indirectly benefit the development of musical abilities as well as cognitive, emotional, and physical skills. We measure the impacts of these new music-movement pedagogical methods on cognitive development using psychological tests. Additionally, electrophysiological experiments are conducted to evaluate the effects of active music learning on “entrainment” skills as well as on music and speech processing. Our longitudinal study investigates the long-term effects of the applied active music learning models on the development of cognitive abilities and neural mechanisms underlying music and speech perception. Further information about the project is available in Hungarian.



Hungarian collaborations

  • BME, Department of Ergonomy and Psychology, Budapest
  • BME, Faculty of Natural Sciences, Department of Cognitive Science, Budapest
  • University of Pannonia, Institute of Hungarian and Applied Linguistics, Veszprém
  • University of Debrecen, Department of General and Applied Linguistics, Debrecen
  • University ELTE, Faculty of Education and Psychology, Department of Cognitive Psychology, Budapest
  • MTA Institute of Linguistics, Department of Neurolinguistics, Budapest

International collaborations

  • University of Jyväskylä , Department of Psychology , Jyväskylä, Finland
  • University of Tübingen, Department of Psychology, Tübingen, Germany
  • University of Zagreb, Department of Psycholinguistics, Zagreb, Croatia
  • University of Cyprus, Department of Psychology, Nicosia, Ciprus

For further information please check our Facebook page.


Leader of the group

Ferenc Honbolygó