Perceptual and cognitive abilities are characteristic for humans. These abilities determine how they perceive the world around them, interact with their physical, social, and cultural environment, and whether or not they are able to make sense of it.

The PCN research programme focuses on two research areas:

  • Sensory and cognitive systems throughout a person’s lifespan;
  • Disease or disorder-related changes in the sensory and cognitive systems.

The PCN research programme focuses on questions such as:
What is the role of the brain in perceptual and cognitive functions?

  • What is the impact of ageing on the complex interactions between sensory and cognitive systems?
  • What is the impact of disorders and illnesses on these interactions?
  • How do these changes affect the interaction of humans with their physical, social, and cultural environment?
  • How can healthy perceptual and cognitive systems and function be maintained?
  • How can we help people to reach their full potential in society?
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Improving the lives of patients with hearing or vision impairment

Sight and sounds are important for the awareness of people and their surroundings. These features determine how people interact with others and perceive the world around them. Therefore, vision or hearing loss can have a hugely negative impact on people’s lives.

The PCN research is aimed at helping our patients reach their full potential in life and society. The PCN researchers develop techniques and tools to maintain healthy perceptual and cognitive systems and function and to improve impaired functioning. The research approach is multidisciplinary and involves specialists in the fields of engineering, otorhinolaryngology, cognitive neuroscience, audiology, neurocognition of music, and music pedagogy.

  • The PCN researchers are implementing GAME, an improvisation-based piano learning method intended for people with a cochlear implant. It was developed by Robert Harris from the research group Lifelong Learning in Music at the Prince Claus Conservatoire in Groningen. The PCN research team will investigate GAME’s potential benefits for this patient group’s perception of speech and music, as well as for their quality of life.

    Through networks such as the European Piano Teacher’s Association, a large number of certified piano teachers can be reached and asked to adopt and apply the GAME approach.

    The collaboration with Embrace Nederland, an organization promoting the use of music to increase the quality of life of vulnerable individuals such as older adults with dementia, allows access to a wide network of amateur and professional musicians, students, and healthcare professionals.

    The PCN’s existing collaborations with cochlear implant manufacturers allows for efficient communication with cochlear implant users and healthcare professionals.


University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
Institute BRAIN
PCN - Perceptual and Cognitive Neuroscience
P.O. Box 196
9700 AD Groningen
The Netherlands