Welcome to the website of Elkan Akyürek, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.

You can also find me on Twitter/X and Bluesky.


July 2024

• Ivory’s turn to defend her PhD thesis; congratulations Dr. Chen!

June 2024

• Joost successfully defended his excellent PhD thesis, which was awarded Cum Laude! Very well done Joost!

• Does a review make for a good preprint? I’m not sure, but here is my latest paper on the adaptive nature of temporal integration in perception, attention, and working memory. It covers behavioral and neuroscientific research on the topic, from 1829 to 2024!

April 2024

• I’m proud to contribute to the new Imaging Neuroscience journal with our manuscript on mental rotation in working memory.  Now featuring 5 supplemental figures!

March 2024

Psychonomic Bulletin & Review just accepted the paper on adaptive forgetting in working memory by Joost, Sophia, and me!

• Ahmet posted a new preprint on bioRxiv about the effects of cocoa flavanols on cognitive control and response inhibition. Work by Ahmet and Monica Moruzzi, a former ACN master student. Cool to have one more paper with an undergraduate (at the time) co-author on the list!

February 2024

• It’s a busy month: Gülşen successfully defended her PhD thesis as well. Congratulations Dr. Balta!

• One more preprint has been put online, on the effects of cocoa flavanols and caffeine on attention and working memory. With Ahmet and Aytaç.

• We have a new preprint out on the effects of interference on functionally active and passive working memory states. Both were equally susceptible to interference, but we did observe qualitative differences in how memories were distorted. Featuring Sophia, Yuanyuan, Jelmer Borst, and Robbert Havekes.

• Our former preprint on impulse-based decoding of colors in working memory was just accepted by iScience! Thanks to Güven and Sophia for pulling the cart, and to Nikolai Axmacher for the smooth collaboration!

• The photo says it all: Güven successfully defended his PhD thesis. Congratulations Dr. Kandemir!

January 2024

• Ivory put up a second preprint on PsyArXiv about detecting concealed information from gaze and pupil data. Although gaze was not very informative, the new sequential movement task we created boosted the pupil response quite a bit.

December 2023

• Shuyao’s first paper has been accepted by Consciousness and Cognition! In the paper we show that although attentional scaling cannot be controlled in response to explicit cues, it is possible to do so via statistical learning.

• Season’s greetings from the lab at the NVP Winter Conference! From left to right: Mingmin, Sophia, Joost, Shuyao, Robbert, Yuanyuan, The Christmas Tree or Ornament, Nursena, Elkan, Zehan, and Yining.

October 2023

• Ivory added a new preprint on PsyArXiv, about concealed information detection with oculomotor measures in rapid serial visual presentation. Get it here.

Psychophysiology accepted the ERP paper Gülşen and I wrote on in- and extrinsic factors in visual temporal integration! We found that even though the (intrinsic) passage of time and the (extrinsic) onset of stimuli similarly affect the tendency to integrate, the underlying neural pathways seem quite different.

September 2023

• We put a new preprint on bioRxiv, on feature matching between impulse perturbation stimuli and memoranda in working memory. This rather cool little project was first-authored by Aytaç.

August 2023

• What better time to read a new preprint on attentional scaling than summertime? Another fine manuscript that was spear-headed by Shuyao.

July 2023

• An elevator-pitch-esque video about my work on the neural basis of working memory has popped up on YouTube. It’s in Dutch, but captions are available. You can watch it right here, too:

• Güven and Sophia got a new preprint out on bioRxiv about working memory for colors! Multivariate pattern analyses, impulse perturbation, and some intriguing findings… here.

June 2023

• Joost and Sophia worked together on a cool paper about adaptive forgetting in working memory; you can find the preprint here.

• Another new preprint by Joost & Co, here. This is Joost’s BIG paper on the computational model of timing he developed. You were warned.

May 2023

• Güven’s paper on revealing activated long-term memories with impulse perturbation was just accepted for publication in NeuroImage!

April 2023

• In the latest Police and Science call, our project on concealed information detection was awarded an extension. Looking forward to continue this research line together with our partners at the Police!

March 2023

New job opportunity! Together with Wouter Kruijne I am recruiting a new PhD student on the topic of active and passive states in working memory. You can find all the details on the website of the University of Groningen here. *expired*

Psychological Science just accepted Joost’s paper on adaptive encoding speed in working memory. Well done Joost!

• Check out the Publications section for the link to a new bioRxiv preprint on working memory, learning, and impulse perturbation. Work by Güven and me.

February 2023

• Ahmet’s paper on GABA consumption, attention, and working memory has been accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychopharmacology! Also featuring Joost, Aytaç, and Gülşen. The link is in the Publications section, as always.

January 2023

• I joined the Board of the Dutch Society for Brain and Cognition (aka NVP). Happy to have this chance to contribute in this way to the research field in the Netherlands!

November 2022

• One more preprint! Ahmet’s paper on the effects of ingesting GABA on attention and working memory has been posted to bioRxiv. Link here.

• We have a new preprint on bioRxiv, on the concurrent maintenance of both veridical and transformed working memory representations. This one has certainly taken its sweet time, but I think the result was worth it. As always, the link is in the Publications section.

October 2022

• Gülşen’s second first-authored paper, on object benefits for features in working memory has just been accepted by Psychological Research. You can find it in the Publications section!

• Funded by the CSC, Mingmin Zhang has joined the team. Welcome aboard!

• The University of Groningen newspaper published an interview with me about our chocolate/flavanols research. You can find it here (in Dutch), or here (English, translated).

September 2022

• Our research is featured on national media! This news article (in Dutch) is about the papers by Aytaç and Ahmet, on the effect of cocoa flavanols on attention and working memory.

• A new preprint on the adaptive nature of working memory encoding speed has been added to the Publications section. Work by Joost, Hedderik, and me.

• Another preprint has been added: In her very first manuscript, Shuyao looked into which model of working memory performance would fit best to attentional blink data. Have a look in the Publications section.

July 2022

• Ivory’s first paper on concealed information detection was just accepted by Psychophysiology; well done Ivory! As always, you can find it in the Publications section.

June 2022

• I very much enjoyed our working memory “Engram” meeting, and it ended on a particularly festive note with Aytaç winning the Poster Prize, together with Muhammet Sahan!

May 2022

• On May 30-31st, as part of our NWO-funded ORA project, we are hosting an expert meeting on the cognitive neuroscience of working memory. The meeting will take place in Groningen, but all the talks will be livestreamed via our meeting website. We have some of the very best in the field on the program, so make sure to check it out!

• I am now also on Twitter (@elkanakyurek), so follow me there for more updates and retweets.

April 2022

• We attended the excellent NVP Winter Spring Conference again! From left to right: Güven, Gülşen, Joost, Sophia, Aytaç, Yining, Robbert, Yuanyuan, Elkan, Shuyao, and Ahmet.

February 2022

• Michael’s excellent PhD Thesis has won the BCN Dissertation Award of 2020-2021. Congrats! It was well-deserved, in my only-slightly-biased opinion!

• I added a new preprint to the Publications section. It is a rebuttal to a paper by Barbosa, Lozano-Soldevilla, and Compte (2021, PLoS Biology), in which they present a critique of our paper on hidden brain states underlying working memory (2017, Nature Neuroscience).

November 2021

• Congrats to Ahmet for just getting his first paper on the acute effects of cocoa flavanols on working memory accepted for publication in the European Journal of Nutrition!

• No fewer than three new team members have started in my lab this month: Robbert as a postdoc on the Police and Science project, Sophia as a PhD student funded by the Faculty PhD Fund, and Yuanyuan as a PhD student funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. Welcome to all!

October 2021

• The “Nothing But The Truth” symposium on truth and trust in science is coming up on the 1st of November. Organized by the BCN Research School, the symposium will feature plenary talks by John Ioannidis, Eric-Jan Wagenmakers, Heather Douglas and Hanneke Hulst, as well as several interactive workshops. Worth taking a look at, here!

September 2021

• Our paper on the two faces of conscious awareness during the attentional blink has just been accepted for publication in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General. I am happy to see the hard work of first author Aytaç thus rewarded, and to see Sophia publish her first paper, before she even formally started her PhD! Check out our preprint on bioRxiv to see what it is all about.

July 2021

• The postdoctoral vacancy for the Police project is live! If you are interested in hidden knowledge detection, and if you are about to finish your PhD, or just did, take a look here. *expired*

June 2021

• We have recently revised our original preprint from 2019 on conscious awareness during the attentional blink. As before, the new revision can be found on bioRxiv.

• A new preprint is available from the Publications section. It is the first paper by Ivory, which features some promising results on using pupillometry to detect concealed identity information.

April 2021

• Another new member of the lab is incoming! The Faculty PhD Fund has selected the research proposal of Sophia Wilhelm, a BCN master student, for funding. Her project will be co-supervised by Robbert Havekes at the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES).

• Exciting times ahead: My research proposal on a new method for hidden knowledge detection in photo lineups was funded in the Politie en Wetenschap (“Police and Science”) research program. I will soon start recruiting a new postdoctoral researcher!

February 2021

• Today Michael Wolff successfully defended his PhD Thesis at the University of Groningen, and received his doctorate degree with the distinction Cum Laude! Congratulations once more on this incredible achievement!

January 2021

• Joost just published his first paper, and my 50th! Congratulations on getting “A common dynamic prior for time in duration discrimination” published in Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.

September 2020

• We have a new “dr.” in our midst: Aytaç just passed his PhD defense with flying colors. Congratulations once again!

July 2020

• Some very good news from Ivory today: Her PhD project got funded by the Chinese Scholarship Council. Congrats!

June 2020

• A new preprint is available from the Publications section. It is Joost’s first submitted manuscript, presenting some evidence for a Bayesian perspective on time estimation.

May 2020

• I just heard that our manuscript “A functional spiking-neuron model of activity-silent working memory in humans based on calcium-mediated short-term synaptic plasticity” was accepted for publication by PLOS Computational Biology. Many thanks to my co-authors Matthijs Pals, Terrence Stewart,  and Jelmer Borst!

March 2020

Acta Psychologica just accepted Gülşen’s first paper on “Adaptive event integration in the missing element task” for publication. Spoiler alert: It’s not very likely!

January 2020

• Off to a good start of the new year: Michael’s paper “Drifting codes within a stable coding scheme for working memory” has been accepted for publication in PLOS Biology! You can still find the preprint on bioRxiv.

December 2019

• We attended the NVP Winter Conference with pretty much the whole team again. From left to right: Güven, Ahmet, Shuyao, Elkan, Yining, Aytaç, Joost, and Gülşen. Happy holidays!

November 2019

• The Journal of Neuroscience has accepted our paper on “Unimodal and bimodal access to sensory working memories by auditory and visual impulses” for publication. Nice! If you’re curious, the preprint remains publicly available on bioRxiv, here.

• Yet another bioRxiv preprint has been added to the Publications section. This one resulted from a collaboration with Jelmer Borst and features a spiking-neuron model of activity-silent working memory.

• The team is growing again: Yining “Ivory” Chen has joined this month. Her research project will be co-supervised by Sebastiaan Mathôt. Welcome aboard!

October 2019

Jefta Saija just successfully defended his PhD thesis. Well done and congratulations dr. Saija!

• Funded by a grant from the Chinese Scholarship Council, Shuyao Wang has just joined the team. Welcome!

September 2019

• I have added another brand-new bioRxiv preprint to the Publications section. In this paper, we report some very intriguing results from a series of attentional blink experiments, which have implications for models of conscious awareness as well.

August 2019

• I have added two new preprints to the Publications section. These are manuscripts that have been made public through the bioRxiv server, while they undergo peer review at a scientific journal. Check them out for an early bird’s view on some of our latest work.

May 2019

• Ahmet, Aytaç, Gulşen, Güven, and I will attend the ESCoP conference in Tenerife in September. We’re scheduled for 3 talks and 2 posters, so come see us there!

April 2019

• I just received some great news: Joost de Jong, a second-year BCN master student, got his research proposal for a PhD project funded by our Faculty! Starting in the Fall, his PhD will be co-supervised by me and Hedderik van Rijn.

• Proof that master theses can be both fun and productive: Psychophysiology has agreed to publish the paper that Eria Wijnja and I wrote on the EEG study she did for her master’s!

• Have you always wondered about color and contrast effects on temporal integration in rapid serial visual presentation? So did we, and Acta Psychologica just accepted our latest paper on this topic! You can find all the details in the Publications section.

March 2019

Job opportunity in my lab: Applications are now invited for a postdoctoral researcher to work on the ORA project (see below). If you have a PhD -or will soon get one- in Cognitive Neuroscience, or a related field, and have experience with EEG, you may be just the person for the job! More details here. *expired*

October 2018

• Together with Mark Stokes at the University of Oxford and Nikolai Axmacher at the Ruhr-University Bochum, I’ve been awarded an Open Research Area (ORA) collaborative research grant! The grant will allow us to study hidden brain states that underlie efficient representation in working memory, for the coming three years. I will be looking for a new postdoc to join the team soon!

September 2018

• I’ve been a member of the excellent European Society for Cognitive Psychology (ESCoP) for many years now. So I was very proud to learn that the society has awarded its Early Career Publication Award to Michael for his Nature Neuroscience paper. Well done once again, Mr. Wolff!

May 2018

• A new PhD student, Ahmet Altinok, just joined us. Welcome to the team!

April 2018

• Michael’s Nature Neuroscience paper on decoding hidden working memory brain states has won the Snijders-Kouwer Award at the Heymans Symposium. Congratulations to Michael on this achievement and on giving a memorable acceptance speech over Skype!

• The Mindwise blog just posted a cool story on the cocoa flavanols paper of Aytaç, highlighting its main findings. You can find it right here.

February 2018

• Some good news for chocolate lovers will appear soon in Psychopharmacology: Together with David Field from Reading, Aytaç, Jefta, and I discovered that consuming cocoa flavanols can boost your attentional search abilities.  So you know what to eat next time you’re looking for that one little brick…

January 2018

• After the nice NVP Winter Conference last month, I will attend another gathering in the Netherlands: I just heard that I will be giving a talk on working memory and temporal integration at the International Meeting of the Psychonomic Society in Amsterdam in May.

November 2017

• Together with our colleagues at Leiden University, BCN Master student Anna Leonte and I investigated the effects of GABA consumption on temporal and spatial attention; the results will appear soon in Brain and Cognition.

• We’ll be attending the Winter Conference of the NVP (Dutch Psychonomic Society) in force this year– we are scheduled for no fewer than three oral presentations!

October 2017

• More reinforcements: Gulşen Balta has now also joined the team. Welcome!

September 2017

Güven Kandemir officially started as a PhD in my group. Welcome aboard!

August 2017

• More good news: Psychological Research has accepted Jefta‘s paper on “Visual and auditory temporal integration in healthy younger and older adults” for publication.

July 2017

• I just published my 40th paper, entitled “What you see is what you remember: Visual chunking by temporal integration enhances working memory” in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience!

• Giving a presentation in a church is perhaps a little odd for a scientist, but I nevertheless enjoyed it at the 2017 Heymans Symposium. I showcased Michael’s work on hidden brain states:

June 2017

• More attention for Michael’s recent paper in an interview that appeared in our University newspaper, the “Universiteitskrant” (you may have to click the link twice for it to load properly).

May 2017

• A nice and insightful commentary article by Rademaker & Serences was just published in Nature Neuroscience, accompanying Michael’s paper on hidden states underlying working memory.

• Together with Michael and Aytaç, I will attend both the ECVP and the bi-annual ESCoP conference again this year, and present some of my recent work on the event-related potential correlates of temporal integration.

April 2017

• The very first paper of Aytaç “The effects of Kanizsa contours on temporal integration and attention in rapid serial visual presentation” was just accepted for publication in Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics!

March 2017

Nature Neuroscience just formally accepted Michael‘s paper “Dynamic hidden states underlying working memory guided behaviour” for publication!

Consciousness and Cognition is clearly on a roll, now also accepting our paper spearheaded by Luca Simione from Rome “Illusions of integration are subjectively impenetrable: Phenomenological experience of Lag 1 percepts during dual-target RSVP” for publication.

February 2017

• The journal Consciousness and Cognition accepted our paper “Distortions of temporal integration and perceived order caused by the interplay between stimulus contrast and duration” for publication as part of a Special Issue on brain potentials associated with consciousness!