©Franziska Pfeifer 2018; Rosental, Leipzig

I am a cognitive neuroscientist leading the internal Merge Computations Group in the department of Neuropsychology,

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, Germany.

In our group, we test internal organization (lexical access, stringing, categorization, hierarchization), modality-independence (visual, auditory, signed), domain-specificity (conceptual, motor) and species-specificity (human, nonhuman) of the most fundamental combinatorial computation for language, something roughly alike of what is called Merge in theoretical linguistics.
We use fMRI, sMRI, EEG/MEG, TMS, DTI, lab/web-based behavioral methods and computational modelling to tackle these questions. Participant pools include healthy adults, aphasic patients, adults and children corpora, and non-human primates (chimpanzees). All projects focus on how such computations are topographically organized, they temporally unfold, and the way
they causally interact on the cortical surface. We therefore seek to understand the general organizational principles of combinatorial abstraction in the brain.

I am active member of PostdocNet, an organization founded in 2019 and supported by the Max Planck Society to represent the needs and opinions of the postdoctoral research members.

I am particularly interested in the historical documentation of the nazi-fascist massacres in Italy in 1943-45 and the emergence of the Italian resistance movements in Southern Italy at that time.
I collect reports of locals living in my hometown area during the war years that started right after the armistice of Cassibile in September '43.
I support
A.N.P.I. (National Association of Italian Partisans, Berlin-Brandenburg section), which was founded in April '45 by participants of the Italian resistance during World War II.

Sixty years later, the murder of
Federico Aldrovandi on 25 September 2005 would have had a great impact on me during my youth and would continue to do so today.


I speak Molisan back home.
I grew up in Masserie La Corte, fòr[ə] all[ə] tra’en[ə]ra, Italy,
surrounded by the old men sitting there long before I left the place.