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Maria Pefkou

I spent four memorable years as a PhD student at the Auditory Language Group, working under the supervision of Prof. Anne-Lise Guraud et Dr. Luc Arnal. During my PhD, which I successfully defended in January 2017, I studied
 the role of neural oscillations on the perception of time-compressed speech, using EEG. I also worked on dichotic hearing with cochlear implants, using PET. Prior to that, I obtained a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Statistics from the Catholic University of Louvain and a M.Sc. in Neuroscience from the University of Geneva. During my M.Sc. I worked with Dr. Alexis Hervais-Adelman on degraded speech perception, using fMRI and EEG. 

My main research interest is the interaction between bottom-up and top-down processes in speech perception, which take place at the different levels the acoustic speech signal is processed, from the muscles of the middle ear to the cochlea and brainstem and up to primary and associative cortical areas. Artificially degraded speech could be a tool for investigating speech perception at these multiple levels of processing with potentially interesting applications in clinical populations, such as cochlear implants users and people with hearing or language disorders.


Pefkou, M., Arnal, L. H., Fontolan, L. and Giraud, A.-L. (2017). Theta- and betaband neural activity reflect independent syllable tracking and comprehension of timecompressed speech. Journal of Neuroscience, doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2882-16.2017.

Pefkou, M., Becker, R., Michel, C.M. and Hervais-Adelman, A.G. (2013). Left temporal alpha-band activity reflects single word intelligibility. Front. Syst. Neurosci7:121. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00121.

Hervais-Adelman, A., Pefkou, M., & Golestani, N.  (2014). Bilingual speech-in-noise: neural bases of semantic context use in the native language.  Brain and Language, 132, 1-6.


Pefkou, M., Hervais-Adelman, A., Michel, C. & Golestani, N. (2012). Listening to Degraded Words: Dissociating the Effects of Spectral Reduction and Spectral Rotation on  Brain Electrical Activity. Poster session presented at the Auditory Cortex Conference, Lausanne, Switzerland.