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Richard Höchenberger

Neuroscience, Data Science, Software Development.

Research Center Jülich, Cologne Area, Germany

About Me

Hi, I’m Richard, a neuroscientist with a strong interest in software development. I wish to better understand how we perceive our environment and how we make decisions on a fundamental level. I’m currently part of the Cognitive Neurophysiology group headed by Kathrin Ohla, with a focus on taste processing.

I will be joining the Parietal team at Inria Saclay – Île-de-France in March 2020 to work on MNE-Python full-time.

Interests

  • Psychophysics & Multisensory Interactions
  • Decision Making & System Dynamics
  • Urban Planning & City Development
  • Social Movements

Education

  • PhD in Psychology, 2017

    University of Münster, Germany

  • Diploma in Biosystems Engineering (M.Eng.), 2013

    University of Magdeburg, Germany

Methods & Technologies

An incomplete selection of what I do, and some of the tools I use for getting things done.

Psychophysics

Response times, adaptive methods, temporal order and synchrony judgment

EEG

Sensor- and source-level analysis via MNE-Python

Lab Tools

Development, setup, and maintenance of laboratory equipment

Python

pandas, xarray, NumPy, matplotlib, seaborn, PsychoPy

R

Linear mixed models, ggplot2

Machine Learning

scikit-learn, TensorFlow(.js), statsmodels

Frontend

React & JavaScript

Backend

Flask, sqlalchemy, MariaDB

Containerization

Docker

Software

Some of the scientific software I have developed or significantly contributed to. Please also refer to my GitHub account.

webtaste

Web-based taste and smell sensitivity estimation using adaptive procedures.

questplus

A Python implementation of QUEST+, a modern Bayesian adaptive method for use in the psychophysics lab.

pyqmix

Control Cetoni syringe pump systems via an intuitive, high-level Python interface. Developed together with Lorenzo Alfine.

pyqmix-web

Browser-based remote control of Cetoni syringe pump systems via pyqmix. Developed by Camilla Arndal Andersen under my supervision.

pphelper

A collection of tools for device control in our psychophysiology lab, and a response time analysis toolbox.

Recent Publications

Also see my ORCID and my Google Scholar profile.

Repeatability of Taste Recognition Threshold Measurements with QUEST and quick Yes–No

MNE-BIDS: Organizing electrophysiological data into the BIDS format and facilitating their analysis

Estimation of olfactory sensitivity using a Bayesian adaptive method

PsychoPy2: Experiments in behavior made easy

A new gustometer: Template for the construction of a portable and modular stimulator for taste and lingual touch

Experience

Where I’ve worked and what I’ve done.

 
 
 
 
 

Post-doctoral researcher

Research Center Jülich

Jan 2018 – Present Cologne area, Germany

Supervisor: Kathrin Ohla

Tasks include:

  • Establishment of an EEG source estimation pipeline based on the MNE-Python software.
  • Refinement and extension of our gustatory stimulator and its Python control software.
  • Supervision of the development of a web-based gustometer control interface, which was carried out by Camilla Arndal Andersen.
  • Adding gustometer support to PsychoPy for simplified creation of taste studies via a graphical user interface.
  • Implementation and validation of a “taste memory” paradigm for use in the Master’s thesis work of Iryna Ruda, and extension of this paradigm together with Xue Li Lim.
  • Implementation of the QUEST+ adaptive algorithm in Python.
  • Validation of the QUEST+ method for gustatory sensitivity estimation.
  • Development and deployment of a web-based software for gustatory and olfactory sensitivity measurement.
  • Electrodermal activity (EDA) recordings time-locked to taste stimulation.
 
 
 
 
 

Post-doctoral researcher

German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke

Apr 2017 – Dec 2017 Berlin area, Germany

Supervisor: Kathrin Ohla

Tasks included:

  • Successful development of a new gustatory stimulator, together with Lorenzo Alfine and Camilla Arndal Andersen. The control software is written in Python.
  • Validation of new methods for gustatory and olfactory sensitivity estimation.
 
 
 
 
 

Doctoral student

German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke

Mar 2013 – Mar 2017 Berlin area, Germany

Thesis: “Olfactory stimuli in multisensory perception.” (two psychophysical, one EEG study; grade: magna cum laude)

Supervisors: Kathrin Ohla and Niko A Busch

Tasks included:

  • Investigation of visual-olfactory interactions via response time modeling.
  • Development of a new method for taste sensitivity estimation.
  • Setup and calibration of laboratory equipment, and thorough verification of temporal properties of the entire stimulation apparatus.
  • ECG recordings.
  • Supervision of Bachelor’s and Master’s students and interns.
 
 
 
 
 

Graduate and postgraduate studies

University of Magdeburg

Oct 2005 – Jun 2013 Magdeburg, Germany
Diploma (M.Eng.) program in Biosystems Engineering. From 2009 to 2013, I worked as a student research assistant at the Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology, supervised by Lars T Boenke in the department led by Frank W Ohl. The work was focused on audio-visual interactions and time perception, specifically, temporal-order judgment (TOJ) and simultaneity judgment (SJ). My student research project employed the sound-induced flash illusion, and my thesis work – which was partially conducted at the University of Sydney under supervision of David Alais and Lars T Boenke – investigated the McGurk/MacDonald illusion.

Funding

Funds & grants I’ve managed to acquire.

Wikimedia Germany Open Science Fellowship

  • Amount: € 5,000
  • Period: 2017 – 2018
  • Funding Agency: Wikimedia Germany

Internal Research Project Grant (Phase II)

  • Amount: € 7,500
  • Project: “Investigations of fat taste”
  • Period: 2017
  • Funding Agency: German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke

PhD travel grant

  • Amount: € 500
  • Period: 2017
  • Funding Agency: Organizers of the 37th Blankenese Conference, Hamburg, Germany

Internal Research Project Grant (Phase I)

  • Amount: € 10,000
  • Project: “Investigation of lateralized taste perception and taste-taste interactions”
  • Period: 2016 – 2017
  • Funding Agency: German Institute of Human Nutrition Potsdam-Rehbrücke

Supervision

Theses and projects I’m currently supervising, or have supervised in the past.

Theses

QUEST+ in the estimation of gustatory sensitivity.

  • Student: Luise Münchhausen
  • Type: Bachelor’s thesis
  • Period: 2019 – Present

Taste-taste interactions and their influence on bitterness perception.

  • Student: Julia Streicher
  • Type: Bachelor’s thesis
  • Period: 2017

Lateralized perception of taste: Stimulation, psychophysics, and neural correlates.

  • Student: Lorenzo Alfine
  • Type: Master’s thesis
  • Period: 2016 – 2017

A new method for rapid taste sensitivity estimation.

  • Student: Katharina Hamann
  • Type: Master’s thesis
  • Period: 2016 – 2017

Development and validation of methods for rapid estimation of taste thresholds.

  • Student: Maria J Pie
  • Type: Master’s thesis
  • Period: 2015 – 2017

Contact

Don’t hesitate to get in touch.