CBBM Lecture "Flexible redistribution in the language network" by

Dr. Gesa Hartwigsen,

Lise Meitner Research Group “Cognition and Plasticity”,

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


will take place on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 from 15:00 to 16:00 hours in CBBM, Ground Floor, Seminar Room B1/B2.

Host: Prof. Dr. Jonas Obleser
Institute of Psychology
University of Lübeck


In this talk, I will discuss how non-invasive brain stimulation (TMS, tDCS or tACS) can be combined with functional neuroimaging or electroencephalography to probe functional interactions and plasticity in the language network. First, I will show how the application of different neuromodulation techniques over neural key areas helps to characterize the contribution of the stimulated area(s) as well as their interaction and compensatory potential during different cognitive tasks. The second part of my talk addresses short-term reorganization and adaptive plasticity in the healthy and reorganized language network. I will introduce a novel model on the flexible redistribution in cognitive networks that helps to understand adaptive plasticity in the language network. This model proposes different mechanisms of flexible redistribution within and across cognitive networks that help to compensate for (virtual) lesions. Finally, I will present recent data combining tDCS and functional neuroimaging during language learning. These data suggest that the behavioural facilitation induced by non-invasive brain stimulation may be underpinned by decreases in task-related activity and connectivity between language-specific and domain-general areas, likely reflecting more efficient task processing.


Gesa Hartwigsen is independent research group leader of the Lise Meitner Research Gruop "Cognition and Plasticity" at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig.
Dr. Hartwigsen holds degree in Psychology and received her PhD with summa cum laude from University of Kiel. After several years of postdoctoral research in the Department of Neurology at University of Leipzig she was appointed Junior Professor for Biological Psychology at University of Kiel in 2013. From 2015 to 2018 she was Group Leader (W2) for Modulation of Language Networks at the MPI CBS. Since 2019 she was appointed Lise Meitner Research Group Leader at the MPI CBS.
Dr. Hartwigsen's research interests include

  • Neural networks for higher cognitive functions
  • Adaptive plasticity and compensation in neural networks for cognition
  • Plasticity and reorganization in the language network after stroke