Werner Sommer

Werner Sommer
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | HU Berlin · Department of Psychology

Prof. i.R. Dr.

About

412
Publications
91,612
Reads
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11,420
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - present
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Position
  • Professor
March 1995 - September 2018
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Position
  • Professor (Full)
January 1981 - February 1995
Universität Konstanz
Position
  • Hochschuldozent

Publications

Publications (412)
Article
In the Stroop task color words are shown in various print colors. When print colors are named or classified with button presses, interference occurs if word meaning is color-incongruent and facilitation if it is congruent. Although the Stroop effects in vocal and manual task versions are similar, it is unclear whether the underlying mechanisms are...
Article
Updating is an essential executive function (EF), responsible for storing, retrieving, and substituting information in working memory (WM). Here we investigated whether posthypnotic suggestions (PHS) given to high-hypnotizable participants can enhance updating in WM and measured neural correlates of the observed effects by recording event-related b...
Article
Full-text available
For theoretical and practical reasons, it is of great interest to understand how accurate and persistent episodic memories of enjoyable experiences are formed and maintained, for example, in the context of gastronomy and other instances of experience design. Here, we investigated factors that might affect the quality (a measure of coherence) of imm...
Article
Full-text available
Over the last decades, cognitive psychology has come to fair consensus about the human intelligence ontological structure. However, it remains an open question, whether anatomical properties of the brain support the same ontology. The present study explored the ontological structure derived from neuroanatomical networks associated with performance...
Article
Full-text available
Facial expressions contribute to nonverbal communication, social coordination, and interaction. Facial expressions may reflect the emotional state of the expressor, but they may be modulated by the presence of others, for example, by facial mimicry or through social display rules. We examined how deliberate facial expressions of happiness and anger...
Article
Full-text available
Previous reports suggest that East-Asians may show larger face-elicited N170 components in the ERP as compared to Caucasian participants. Since the N170 can be modulated by perceptual expertise, such group differences may be accounted for by differential experience, for example, with logographic versus alphabetic scripts (script system hypothesis)...
Article
Full-text available
The deliberate control of facial expressions is an important ability in human interactions, in particular for mothers with prelinguistic infants. Because research on this topic is still scarce, we investigated the control over facial expressions in a Stroop-like paradigm. Mothers of 2-6 months old infants and nullipara women produced smiles and fro...
Article
Full-text available
Sex differences in word perception are an important issue in reading. Previous studies that used various word perception tasks have indicated that girls outperform boys. The composite paradigm is a typical task for measuring visual perception and was employed here to identify the age at which sex differences in the perceptual processing of Chinese...
Article
Full-text available
This study investigated whether individuals with high autistic traits rely on psychoacoustic abilities in affective prosody recognition (APR). In 94 college students, Autism Spectrum Quotient (AQ) and psychoacoustic abilities were measured. Results indicated that higher AQ, higher rapid auditory processing (RAP), and maleness were associated with a...
Article
In this work, we aimed to disentangle different influences of parafoveal words during reading using the RSVP-with-flanker paradigm. Specifically, in some previous studies, the effects of the semantic congruency of the parafoveal word (does it fit into the sentence context?) and the effect of the preview validity of the parafoveal word (is it a corr...
Article
Full-text available
Food preferences are crucial for diet-related decisions, which substantially impact individual health and global climate. However, the persistence of unfavorable food preferences is a significant obstacle to changing eating behavior. Here we explored the effects of posthypnotic suggestions (PHS) on food-related decisions by measuring food choices,...
Article
Full-text available
One stable marker of face perception appears to be left-side bias, the tendency to rely more on information conveyed by the left side of the face than the right. Previous studies have shown that left-side bias is influenced by familiarity and prior experience with face stimuli. Since other-race facial recognition is characterized by reduced familia...
Article
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An important problem in many fields dealing with noisy time series, such as psychophysiological single trial data during learning or monitoring treatment effects over time, is detecting a change in the model underlying a time series. Here, we present a new method for detecting a single changepoint in a linear time series regression model, termed re...
Article
Full-text available
Subjective cognitive decline (SCD), as expressed by older adults, is associated with negative affect, which, in turn, is a likely risk factor for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). This study assessed the associations between negative affective burden, cognitive functioning, and functional connectivity in networks vulnerable to AD in the context of SCD. Old...
Article
An influential theory in the field of visual object recognition proposes that it is the fast magnocellular (M) system that facilitates neural processing of spatially more fine-grained information rather the slower parvocellular (P) system. While written words can be considered as a special type of visual objects, it is unknown whether magnocellular...
Article
Individuals differ in their responsiveness to hypnotic suggestions. However, defining and measuring hypnotizability is contentious because standardized scales, such as the Harvard group scale (HGSHS:A), measure a mixture of general suggestibility and its alteration due to hypnotic induction (hypnotizability). Exploratory factor analyses (FA) of sta...
Article
Full-text available
According to the shared signal hypothesis (SSH) the impact of facial expressions on emotion processing partially depends on whether the gaze is directed toward or away from the observer. In autism spectrum disorder (ASD) several aspects of face processing have been found to be atypical, including attention to eye gaze and the identification of emot...
Article
Full-text available
Reading is a complex cultural skill requiring considerable training, apparently affecting also the processing of non-linguistic visual stimuli. We examined whether the different visual demands involved in reading different script systems-alphabetic German versus logographic Chinese script-would differentially influence configural visual processing....
Article
Full-text available
Pitch accent marks information structure in utterances in many languages but little is known about the effects of accent on the perception of emotional word meaning. The present study explored the processing of accentuation and its influence on the semantic integration of emotional words during spoken sentence comprehension. Twenty-five participant...
Article
Full-text available
While most studies on neural signals of online language processing have focused on a few—usually western—subject-verb-object (SVO) languages, corresponding knowledge on subject-object-verb (SOV) languages is scarce. Here we studied Farsi, a language with canonical SOV word order. Because we were interested in the consequences of second-language acq...
Article
Full-text available
Holistic face perception is often considered to be a cornerstone of face processing. However, the development of the ability to holistically perceive faces in East Asian individuals is unclear. Therefore, we measured and compared holistic face processing in groups of Chinese children, young adults, and older adults by employing the complete composi...
Article
Full-text available
Many bilingual individuals acquire their second language when entering primary school; however, very few studies have investigated morphosyntax processing in this population. Combining a whole-brain and region of interest (ROI)-based approach, we studied event-related fMRI during morphosyntactic processing, specifically person-number phi-features,...
Preprint
Full-text available
An influential theory in the field of visual object recognition proposes that fast magnocellular (M) information facilitates neural processing of spatially more fine-grained but slower parvocellular (P) information. While written words can be considered as a special type of visual objects, it is unknown whether magnocellular facilitation also plays...
Article
Full-text available
When listening to a speaker, we need to adapt to her individual speaking char- acteristics, such as error proneness, accent, etc. The present study investigated two aspects of adaptation to speaker identity during processing spoken sentences in multi-speaker situations: the effect of speaker sequence across sentences and the effect of learning spea...
Preprint
Over the past decades, the neuropsychological science community has endeavored to determine the number and nature of distinguishable human cognitive abilities. Based on covariance structure analyses of inter-individual performance differences in multiple cognitive tasks, the ability structure has been substantiated with sufficient consensus. Howeve...
Preprint
Full-text available
In this work, we aimed to disentangle different influences of parafoveal words during reading using the RSVP-with-flanker paradigm. Specifically, in some previous studies, the effects of the semantic congruency of the parafoveal word (does it fit into the sentence context?) and the effect of the preview validity of the parafoveal word (is it a corr...
Article
Full-text available
The study of socio-cognitive abilities emerged from intelligence research, and their specificity remains controversial until today. In recent years, the psychometric structure of face cognition (FC)—a basic facet of socio-cognitive abilities—was extensively studied. In this review, we summarize and discuss the divergent psychometric structures of F...
Article
Full-text available
The neural correlates of face individuation—the acquisition of memory representations for novel faces—have been studied only in coarse detail and disregarding individual differences between learners. In their seminal study, Tanaka et al . (Tanaka et al. 2006 J. Cogn. Neurosci. 18 , 1488–1497. ( doi:10.1162/jocn.2006.18.9.1488 )) required the identi...
Article
Full-text available
Influential theories emphasize the importance of predictions in learning: we learn from feedback to the extent that it is surprising, and thus conveys new information. Here we explore the hypothesis that surprise depends not only on comparing current events to past experience, but also on online evaluation of performance via internal monitoring. Sp...
Article
Individuals differ in their responsiveness to (post-)hypnotic suggestions. However, defining and measuring hypnotizability is contentious because standardized scales, such as the Harvard group scale (HGSHS:A), measure a mixture of general-suggestibility and its increase due to hypnotic induction (hypnotic-suggestibility). Exploratory factor analysi...
Article
Full-text available
Two experiments were conducted to determine, first, whether food items influence participants' estimations of the size of their subjective peripersonal space. It was of particular interest whether this representation is influenced by satiated/hungry states and is differentially affected by valence and calorie content of depicted stimuli. Second, ev...
Article
Eye gaze is very important for attentional orienting in social life. By adopting the event-related potential (ERP) technique, we explored whether attentional orienting of eye gaze is modulated by emotional congruency between facial expressions and the targets in a spatial cuing task. Faces with different emotional expressions (fearful/angry/happy/n...
Article
How domain-general cognitive control is engaged in language processing remains debated. We address how linguistic processes are monitored and regulated by analyzing the effects of previous-trial sentence correctness on the P600 component of the event-related potential (ERP) in the current-trial. In data from a previous experiment about processing s...
Preprint
Hypnotic and posthypnotic suggestions are frequently and successfully implemented in behavioral, neurocognitive, and clinical investigations and interventions. Despite abundant reports about the effectiveness of suggestions in altering behavior, perception, cognition, and subjective sense of agency (SoA), there is no consensus about the neurocognit...
Article
Full-text available
Natural use of language involves at least two individuals. Some studies have focused on the interaction between senders in communicative situations and how the knowledge about the speaker can bias language comprehension. However, the mere effect of a face as social context on language processing remains unknown. In the present study we used event-r...
Article
Given the crucial role of face recognition in social life, it is hardly surprising that cognitive processes specific for faces have been identified. In previous individual differences studies, the speed (measured in easy tasks) and accuracy (difficult tasks) of face cognition (FC, involving perception and recognition of faces) have been shown to fo...
Article
Full-text available
At the group level, women consistently perform better in face memory tasks than men and also show earlier and larger N170 components of event-related brain potentials (ERP), considered to indicate perceptual structural encoding of faces. Here we investigated sex differences in the relationship between the N170 and face memory performance in 152 men...
Preprint
Full-text available
The neural correlates of face individuation - the acquisition of memory representations for novel faces - have been studied only in coarse detail and disregarding individual differences between learners. In their seminal study, (Tanaka, Curran, Porterfield, & Collins, 2006) required the identification of a particular novel face across 70 trials and...
Preprint
Full-text available
The e4 allele of the APOE gene is strongly associated with impaired brain functionality and cognitive decline in humans at older age. It is controversial whether and how the APOE e4 allele is affecting brain activity among young healthy individuals and how such effects may contribute to individual differences in cognitive performance. Signal comple...
Preprint
Influential theories emphasize the importance of predictions in learning: we learn from feedback to the extent that it is surprising, and thus conveys new information. Here we explore the hypothesis that surprise depends not only on comparing current events to past experience, but also on online evaluation of performance via internal monitoring. Sp...
Article
Full-text available
Recent empirical evidence reveals that creative idea generation builds upon an interplay of multiple neural networks. Measures of temporal complexity yield important information about the underlying mechanisms of these co-activated neural networks. A few neurophysiological studies investigated brain signal complexity (BSC) during the production of...
Article
P300 amplitude and reaction time (RT) are strongly affected by the sequence of events preceding the eliciting stimulus. Sommer, Leuthold and Soetens (1999) found that robust sequential effects in P300 amplitude could be dissociated from more variable sequential effects in RTs. However, global changes in P300 amplitude and topography gave rise to th...
Poster
Full-text available
We investigated specific mechanisms and electrophysiological correlates (event-related potentials, ERPs) of perceiving eye gaze and emotional facial expressions and their interaction in mothers with 2-6 months old infants and nullipara women. We expected a special sensitivity to infant pictures, especially in mothers; we presented pictures of both...
Article
Full-text available
At the group level, women consistently perform better in face memory tasks than men and also show earlier and larger N170 components of event-related brain potentials (ERP), considered to indicate perceptual structural encoding of faces. Here we investigated sex differences in the relationship between the N170 and face memory performance in 152 men...
Article
Eye contact is a salient social cue, which is assumed to influence already early neural correlates of face perception. Specifically, the N170 component of the event-related potential (ERP) has often been found to be larger for faces with an averted gaze as compared to faces that directly look at the observer. In most existing ERP studies, effects o...
Article
Full-text available
Previous studies have shown that cognitive demands and physical exercise stimulate adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and hippocampus. Recent observations in healthy humans and patients with mild cognitive impairment moreover suggest that training‐induced increases in hippocampal volume may be associated with improved memory performance. The c...
Article
Full-text available
Reading is a complex task involving different brain areas. As a crystallized ability, reading is also known to have effects on brain structure and function development. However, there are still open questions about what are the elements of the reading networks and how structural and functional brain measures shape the reading ability. The present s...
Article
The preference for high-over low-calorie food and difficulties in inhibiting the desire for high-calorie food are important factors involved in unhealthy food choices. Here, we explored posthypnotic suggestions (PHS), aiming to increase the desire for vegetables and fruits, as a possible new tool to induce a preference for low-calorie food. Followi...
Preprint
Full-text available
When we imagine an object and when we actually see that object, similar brain regions become active. Yet, the time course of neurocognitive mechanisms that support imagery is still largely unknown. The current view holds that imagery does not share early perceptual mechanisms, but starts with high-level visual representations. However, evidence of...
Preprint
Given the crucial role of face processing in social life, it is hardly surprising that cognitive processes have been demonstrated to be specific for faces. In previous studies on individual differences in face cognition (FC), the speed (measured in easy tasks) and accuracy (in difficult tasks) of FC have been found to form distinct abilities, going...
Article
Voice attractiveness plays a significant role in social interaction and mate choice. However, how listeners perceive attractive voices and whether this process is mandatory, is poorly understood. The current study explores this question using event-related brain potentials. Participants listened to syllables spoken by male and female voices with hi...
Preprint
Full-text available
Eye contact is a salient social cue which is assumed to influence early brain processes involved in face perception. The N170 component in the event-related potential (ERP) has frequently been reported to be larger to faces with an averted rather than direct gaze towards the observer. In most studies, however, this effect has been investigated in c...
Presentation
Full-text available
http://escop2019.webs.ull.es/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/ESCoP2019-ABSTRACTS.pdf
Article
Full-text available
The ε4 allele of the apolipoprotein (APOE) gene is a widely recognized genetic risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease in older age. However, it is controversial whether there is a positive impact of the APOE ε4 allele on human cognitive performance in young adulthood, possibly representing a case of antagonistic pleiotropy. Here we explored...
Article
Face cognition, the ability to perceive faces and interpret facial information, is a crucial skill in human social interactions. At the neurobiological level, several functionally specialized brain regions constitute a network of face processing. However, the evidence whether functional specialization within the face network is also reflected in th...
Poster
Full-text available
Reading is a cultural activity in which contemporary humans undergo considerable training. By exercising efficient visual perception for quickly processing print, learning to read may induce effects on general visual abilities, e.g. holistic perception. To address this question, we recorded event-related potentials (ERPs) to faces, words and other...
Article
We investigated the impact of acute facial palsy on the recognition of emotional facial expressions. Thirty-one patients with acute facial palsy and 30 healthy controls performed a well-established test battery with tasks both for mere face recognition (FACE) and for recognition of emotional facial expressions (EMO). Participants were tested at dis...
Article
The present study investigates in how far morphosyntactic processing is affected by an additional non-verbal task and whether this effect differs between German and Spanish, two languages with differences in processing grammatical gender (lexical vs. cue-based processing). By manipulating task load and language we aimed at getting an insight into s...
Article
Full-text available
The emotional significance of stimuli has a strong effect on lexical processing across different reading paradigms. In the present study, we investigated whether foveal and parafoveal lexical processing is influenced by foveal emotional words (positive, negative, or neutral) during the reading of Chinese sentences. We tested word N + 2 preview effe...
Poster
Full-text available
Working memory (WM) or updating is one of the most pivotal executive functions. Updating is responsible for refreshing short-term memory to keep its content relevant for the task at hand. Most of the numerous studies assessing neural underpinnings of updating function focused on the n-back task. In order to generalize these findings, we utilized a...