Tobias Overath


UCL Ear Institute

University College London

332 Gray's Inn Road

London WC1X 8EE

Tel.: +44 (0)20 7679 8899

Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 8990









I have moved and am currently a postdoc with Prof. André Beauducel and Jun.-Prof. Anja Leue in the Department of Psychology at the University of Bonn, Germany. I will be taking up a position as Assistant Research Professor at the Duke Institute for Brain Sciences (DIBS) at Duke University as of the 2014/15 semester. Prospective graduate students and postdocs interested in working in my Lab should email me outlining their research interests and include a CV and contact details of two references.
This website will be discontinued in the near future.

Research Interests


I study how sound is processed in the human auditory cortex. In my research, I investigate the acoustic building blocks that we must assemble in complex listening situations, such as when we engage in a conversation or listen to a symphony. More specifically, one branch of my research program centers on the neural representation of fundamental acoustic parameters, e.g. pitch and timbre. A second branch concerns the neural mechanisms for detecting meaningful acoustic changes of such parameters within an auditory scene. I employ a combination of behavioural and neuroimaging methods (fMRI, MEG) to elucidate the underlying neural processes in human auditory cortex with high spatial and temporal precision.


Research keywords

Auditory neuroscience

Human auditory cortex

Auditory perception and cognition

Information theoretic and probabilistic properties of sounds

Pitch pattern processing

Functional imaging of music



Academic Career (extended CV)


Postdoc with Prof. Tim Griffiths, UCL Ear Institute, University College London, 2010 -


Postdoc with Prof. David Poeppel, Department of Psychology, New York University, 2008-2010


PhD, Representation of Statistical Sound Properties in Human Auditory Cortex

Wellcome Trust Centre for Neuroimaging, University College London, 2004-2009

Supervisors: Prof. Tim Griffiths, Prof. Cathy Price


MSc in Neuroscience, University of Oxford, 2003-2004


Psychology (Vordiplom), Humboldt University Berlin, 2001-2003


MA in Musicology, Humboldt University Berlin, 1997-2003




Books and book chapters

Poeppel D, Overath T, Popper AN, Fay RR (eds) (2012) The Human Auditory Cortex. Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, New York.

(Volume 43 in the Springer Handbook of Auditory Research series, edited by AN Popper and RR Fay.)

Find it on Amazon: The Human Auditory Cortex


Griffiths TD, Micheyl C, Overath T (2012) Auditory object analysis. In D Poeppel, T Overath, AN Popper, RR Fay (eds.) The Human Auditory Cortex, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, New York.


Poeppel D, Overath T (2012) Introduction: why human auditory cortex? In D Poeppel, T Overath, AN Popper, RR Fay (eds.) The Human Auditory Cortex, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, New York.


Griffiths TD, Kumar S, von Kriegstein K, Overath T, Stephan KE, Friston KJ (2009) Auditory object analysis. In MS Gazzaniga (ed.) The Cognitive Neurosciences, 4th edition, MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.



Journal articles (in preparation / submitted)

Kumar S, Overath T (joint first authors), Griffiths TD (in preparation) Repetition suppression for pitch using fMRI.


Overath T, Kumar S, Sedley W, Teki S, Griffiths TD (in preparation) MEG correlates of pitch perception in human auditory cortex.


Overath T, McDermott JH (joint first authors), Zarate JM, Poeppel D (in preparation) Sensitivity to temporal structure in the human auditory system.


Overath T, Poeppel D (in preparation) Asymmetric and non-linear neural correlates of modulation change detection in human auditory cortex.


Woods KJP, Overath T, Poeppel D (in preparation) Optimally balanced spectro-temporal resolution in speech-music chimeras.





Journal articles (published)

Overath T, Zhang Y, Sanes DH, Poeppel D (2012) Sensitivity to temporal modulation rate and spectral bandwidth in the human auditory system: fMRI evidence. J Neurophysiol, 107(8): 2042-2056.

(see also the companion paper by Wang, et al. (2012) Sensitivity to temporal modulation rate and spectral bandwidth in the human auditory system: MEG evidence. J Neurophysiol, 107(8): 2033-2041.)


Sedley W, Teki S, Kumar S, Overath T, Barnes GR, Griffiths TD (2012) Gamma band pitch responses in human auditory cortex measured with magnetoencephalography. Neuroimage, 59(2): 1904-1911.


Overath T, Kumar S, Stewart L, von Kriegstein K, Cusack R, Rees A, Griffiths TD (2010) Cortical mechanisms for the segregation and representation of acoustic textures. J Neurosci, 30(6): 2070-2076.

(supplementary information, example stimulus)


Overath T, Kumar S, von Kriegstein K, Griffiths TD (2008) Encoding of spectral correlation over time in auditory cortex. J Neurosci, 28(49): 13268-13273.

(supplementary information, example stimuli)


Stewart S, Overath T (joint first authors), Warren JD, Foxton JM, Griffiths TD (2008) fMRI evidence for a cortical hierarchy of pitch pattern processing. PLoS ONE, 3(1): e1470.

(supplementary figures)


Overath T, Cusack R, Kumar S, Warren JD, von Kriegstein K, Grube M, Carlyon RP, Griffiths TD (2007) An information theoretic characterisation of auditory encoding. PLoS Biology, 5(11): e288.

(supplementary information, example stimuli)




The homepage of my wife Lillian Pierce




- Page last updated: 9 July 2013 -