Jacob Nelson


About me…

ESR4 portrait smallMy name is Jacob, and I come from Austin, Texas, USA. I started out studying psychology at the University of Colorado in Boulder, and then I moved to Germany to pursue a master’s degree in cognitive neuroscience at the University of Bonn. Now I am a member of the Sensorimotor Control group at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, where I study people’s perceptions of timing and rhythm using a sensorimotor synchronization paradigm.

Why I joined PACE…

After completing my master’s, I was eager to continue studying the human mind. I found the wide range of topics and techniques offered within the PACE network exciting, and I was looking forward to trying something different from what I had already done. My colleagues, PIs, and fellow ESRs have all turned out to be really great people, and I am happy to be a part of this network.

My project…

Rhythm and timing are inherent aspects of the human experience. In order to understand how people achieve accurate timing, we must also determine what role different senses play in facilitating (or disrupting) people’s ability to keep time. The specific goal of my project thus far is to tease apart the roles that vision and audition play in timing and people’s ability to keep rhythm. To achieve this, we ask participants to tap their finger on a table in synchrony with a metronome and measure precisely how well they can do this. By subtly tricking the participants’ perception of when they actually tap their finger, we can determine what information people use to adjust their own tap timing, and hopefully, we can come a little closer to understanding exactly how we are able to create and follow rhythmic patterns.

ESR4 Lab

Secondment …

I will be visiting the Italian Institute of Technology and working with Monica Gori and Gabriel Baud-Bovy to study the effects of blindness on spatial perception. This secondment will allow me to branch out from my regular research and get a feel for working with a clinical population, as well as try my hand at research with direct application.

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