PD Dr. Daniela Sammler

Main Research Areas

  • Neurocognition of music und language
  • Perception and production
  • Interpersonal interaction
  • Melody and prosody
  • Syntax

Research Group Neurocognition of Music and Language


Academic Education

2022Venia Legendi, Goethe University Frankfurt/M.
2018Habilitation and Venia Legendi, University of Leipzig (Topic: Intonation in speech and music)
2004–2008Dr. rer. nat. in Psychology, University of Leipzig and MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (Topic: Syntax in language and music)
1997–2004Psychology, University of Leipzig and Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg (Diploma from Leipzig)


Since 2020Research Group Leader, Neurocognition of Music and Language, MPI for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt/Main
2013–2020Research Group Leader, Otto Hahn Group Neural Bases of Intonation in Speech and Music, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig
2014Visiting researcher, Western Sydney University, MARCS Institute for Brain, Behaviour and Development, Sydney
2011–2013Postdoctoral researcher, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK (Belin Voice Lab)
2009–2011Postdoctoral researcher, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (Friederici Lab)
2008–2009Postdoctoral researcher, Université Nord-de-France, Lille and Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris
2004–2008PhD student, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig (Koelsch Lab)



Sammler, D. (Ed.) (under contract). The Oxford Handbook of Language and Music. Oxford University Press.

Sammler, D. (2018). The melodic mind: Neural bases of intonation in speech and music. (MPI Series in Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Vol. 195). Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.

Sammler, D. (2009). The neuroanatomical overlap of syntax processing in music and language: Evidence from lesion and intracranial ERP studies. (MPI Series in Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Vol. 108). Leipzig: Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences.


German Articles

Sammler, D. (2017). Neurophysiologische Aspekte des Singens. In: M. Fuchs (Ed.). Die Stimme im pädagogischen Alltag. (pp. 187- 196). Berlin: Logos-Verlag.

Sammler, D. (2016). Musik- und Sprachwahrnehmung bei Epilepsiepatienten. Zeitschrift für Epileptologie, 29, 16-20.

Sammler, D. (2014). Prosodie – Die Musik der Sprache. LogoTHEMA, 11, 9-13.

Sammler, D. (2011). Amusie und Sprachstörungen. Sprachheilarbeit, 56, 194-197.


Journal Articels

Sammler, D. (2024). Signatures of speech and song: "Universal" links despite cultural diversity. Science Advances, 10(20), eadp9620. doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.adp9620

Mikutta, C. A., Knight, R. T., Sammler, D., Müller, T. J., Koenig, T. (2024). Electrocorticographic activation patterns during electroencephalographic microstates. Brain Topography, 37(2), 287–295. doi.org/10.1007/s10548-023-00952-1

Harding, E. E., Sammler, D., Kotz, S. A. (2023). The syntax-meter interface in spoken language and music: Same, different, or individually variable? bioRxiv. doi.org/10.1101/2023.03.08.531723

Kohler, N., Novembre, G., Gugnowska, K., Keller, P. E., Villringer, A., Sammler, D. (2023). Cortico-cerebellar audio-motor regions coordinate self and other in musical joint action. Cerebral Cortex, 33(6), 2804–2822. doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhac243

Tomasello, R., Grisoni, L., Boux, I., Sammler, D., & Pulvermüller, F. (2022). Instantaneous neural processing of communicative functions conveyed by speech prosody. Cerebral Cortex, 32(21), 4885–4901.doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhab522

Gugnowska, K., Novembre, G., Kohler, N., Villringer, A., Keller, P. E., Sammler, D. (2022). Endogenous sources of interbrain synchrony in duetting pianists. Cerebral Cortex, 32(18), 4110–4127. doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhab469

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Ringer, H., Kohler, N., Keller, P. E., Villringer, A., Sammler, D. (2022). Lateral prefrontal cortex is a hub for music production from structural rules to movements. Cerebral Cortex, 32(18), 3878–3895. doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhab454

Sihvonen, A. J., Sammler, D., Ripollés, P., Leo, V., Rodríguez-Fornells, A., Soinila, S., Särkämö, T. (2021). Right ventral stream damage underlies both post-stroke aprosodia and amusia. European Journal of Neurology, 29(3), 873-882.doi.org/10.1111/ene.15148

Herrojo Ruiz, M., Maudrich, T., Kalloch, B., Sammler, D., Kenville, R., Villringer, A., Sehm, B., Nikulin, V. V. (2021). Modulation of neural activity in frontopolar cortex drives reward-based motor learning. Scientific Reports, 11, 20303.

Chien, P.-J., Friederici, A. D., Hartwigsen, G.*, Sammler, D.* (2021). Intonation processing increases task-specific fronto-temporal connectivity in tonal language speakers. Human Brain Mapping, 42, 161-174. *equal contr.

Sammler, D. (2020). Splitting speech and music. Science, 367(6481), 974-976.

Sammler, D., Elmer, S. (2020). Advances in the neurocognition of music and language. Brain Sciences, 10, 509. (Editorial)

Chien, P.-J., Friederici, A. F., Hartwigsen, G.*, Sammler, D.* (2020). Neural correlates of intonation and lexical tone in tonal and non-tonal language speakers. Human Brain Mapping, 41, 1842-1858. *equal contr.

Torppa, R., Faulkner, A., Laasonen, M., Lipsanen, J., Sammler, D. (2020). Links of prosodic stress perception and musical activities to language skills of children with CIs and normal hearing. Ear and Hearing, 41, 395-410.

Harding, E. E., Sammler, D., Kotz, S. A. (2019). Attachment preference in auditory German sentences: Individual differences and pragmatic strategy. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1357.

Martins, M. J. D.*, Bianco, R.*, Sammler, D., Villringer, A. (2019). Recursion in action: An fMRI study on the generation of new hierarchical levels in motor sequences. Human Brain Mapping, 40, 2623-2638. *equal contr.

Vanzella, P., Balardin, J. B., Furucho, R. A., Zimeo Morais, G. A., Braun Janzen, T., Sammler, D., Sato, J. R. (2019). fNIRS responses in professional violinists while playing duets: Evidence for distinct leader and follower roles at brain level. Frontiers in Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 164.

Harding, E. E., Sammler, D.*, Henry, M. J.*, Large, E., Kotz, S. A. (2019). Cortical tracking of rhythm in music and speech. NeuroImage, 185, 96-101. *equal contr.

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Keller, P. E., Villringer, A., Sammler, D. (2018). Musical genre-dependent behavioural and EEG signatures of action planning. A comparison between classical and jazz pianists. NeuroImage, 169, 383-394.

Hellbernd, N., Sammler, D. (2018). Neural bases of social communicative intentions in speech. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 13, 604-615.

Hartwigsen, G., Scharinger, M., Sammler, D. (2018). Modulating cortical dynamics in language, speech, and music. Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 12, 58. (Editorial)

Sun, Y., Lu, X., Ho, H. T., Johnson, B. W., Sammler, D., Thompson, W. F. (2018). Syntactic processing in music and language: parallel abnormalities observed in congenital amusia. NeuroImage Clinical, 19, 640-651.

Sammler, D., Cunitz, K., Gierhan, S. M. E., Anwander, A., Adermann, J., Meixensberger, J., Friederici, A. D. (2018). White matter pathways for prosodic structure building: A case study. Brain and Language, 183, 1-10.

Speck, I. K., Echternach, M., Sammler, D., Schulze-Bonhage, A. (2018). Frontal lobe epileptic seizures are accompanied by elevated pitch during verbal communication. Epilepsia, 59, e23-e27.

Hellbernd, N., Sammler, D. (2016). Prosody conveys speaker’s intentions: Acoustic cues for speech act perception. Journal of Memory and Language, 88, 70-86.

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Keller, P.E., Kim, S.-G., ..., Sammler, D. (2016). Neural networks for harmonic structure in music perception and action. NeuroImage, 142, 454-464.

Merrill, J., Bangert, M., Sammler, D., Friederici, A. D. (2016). Classifying song and speech: Effects of focal temporal lesions and musical disorder. Neurocase, 22, 496-504.

Novembre, G., Sammler, D., Keller, P. E. (2016). Self-other entrainment and co-representation are linked via alpha oscillations in musical joint action. Neuropsychologia, 89, 414-25.

Bianco, R., Novembre, G., Keller, P. E., Scharf, F., Friederici, A. D., Villringer, A., Sammler, D. (2016). Syntax in action has priority over movement selection in piano playing: An ERP study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 28, 41-56.

Sammler, D., Grosbras, M.-H., Anwander, A., Bestelmeyer, P. E. G., Belin, P. (2015). Dorsal and ventral pathways for prosody. Current Biology, 25, 3079-3085.

Maffongelli, L., Bartoli, E., Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Campus, C., Olivier, E., Fadiga, L., D’Ausilio, A. (2015). Distinct brain signatures of content and structure violation during action sequence observation. Neuropsychologia, 75, 30-39.

Alonso, I., Sammler, D., Valabrègue, R., Dinkelacker, V., Dupont, S., Belin, P., Samson, S. (2014). Hippocampal sclerosis affects fMR-adaptation of lyrics and melodies in songs. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 8, 111.

Besson, P., Dinkelacker, V., Valabrègue, R., Thivard, L., Leclerc, X., Baulac, M., Sammler, D., Colliot, O., Lehéricy, S., Samson, S., Dupont, S. (2014). Structural connectivity differences in left and right temporal lobe epilepsy. NeuroImage, 100, 135-144.

Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Ball, T., Brandt, A., Grigutsch, M., ..., Schulze-Bonhage, A. (2013). Co-localizing linguistic and musical syntax with intracranial EEG. NeuroImage, 64, 134-146.

Sammler, D.*, Novembre, G.*, Koelsch, S., Keller, P. E. (2013). Syntax in a pianist’s hand: ERP signatures of “embodied” syntax processing in music. Cortex, 49, 1325-1339. *equal contr.

Merrill, J., Sammler, D., Bangert, M., Goldhahn, D., Lohmann, G., Turner, R., Friederici, A. D. (2012). Perception of words and pitch patterns in song and speech. Frontiers in Psychology, 3, 76.

Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Friederici, A. D. (2011). Are left fronto-temporal “language areas” a prerequisite for normal music-syntactic processing? Cortex, 47, 659-673.

Sammler, D., Kotz, S. A., Eckstein, K., Ott, D. V. M., Friederici, A. D. (2010). Prosody meets syntax: the role of the corpus callosum. Brain, 133, 2643-2655.

Sammler, D., Baird, A., Valabrègue, R., Clément, S., Dupont, S., Belin, P., Samson, S. (2010). The relationship of lyrics and tunes in the processing of unfamiliar songs: An fMR adaptation study. The Journal of Neuroscience, 30, 3572-3578.

Sammler, D., Koelsch, S., Ball, T., Brandt, A., ..., Schulze-Bonhage, A. (2009). Overlap of musical and linguistic syntax processing: Intracranial ERP evidence. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1169, 494-498.

Fritz, T., Jentschke, S., Gosselin, N., Sammler, D., ..., Koelsch, S. (2009). Universal recognition of three basic emotions in music. Current Biology, 19, 573-576.

Koelsch, S., Schulze, K., Sammler, D., Fritz, T., Mueller, K., Gruber, O. (2009). Functional architecture of verbal and tonal memory: An fMRI study. Human Brain Mapping, 30, 859-873.

Koelsch, S., Sammler, D., Jentschke, S., Siebel, W. A. (2008). EEG correlates of moderate intermittent explosive disorder. Clinical Neurophysiology, 119, 151-162.

Koelsch, S., Sammler, D. (2008). Cognitive components of regularity processing in the auditory domain. PLoS one, 3, e2650.

Sammler, D., Grigutsch, M., Fritz, T., Koelsch, S. (2007). Music and Emotion: Electrophysiological correlates of the processing of pleasant and unpleasant music. Psychophysiology, 44, 293-304.

Koelsch, S., Remppis, A., Sammler, D., Jentschke, S., et al. (2007). A Cardiac signature of emotionality. European Journal of Neuroscience, 26, 3328-3338.

Koelsch, S., Jentschke, S., Sammler, D., Mietchen, D. (2007). Untangling syntactic and sensory processing: An ERP study of music perception. Psychophysiology, 44, 476-490.

Koelsch, S., Heinke, W., Sammler, D., Olthoff, D. (2006). Auditory processing during deep propofol sedation and recovery from unconsciousness. Clinical Neurophysiology, 117, 1746-1759.

Koelsch, S., Gunter, T. C., Wittfoth, M., Sammler, D. (2005). Interaction between syntax processing in language and in music: An ERP study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17, 1565-1577.

Heinke, W., Kenntner, R., Gunter, T. C., Sammler, D., Olthoff, D., Koelsch, S. (2004). Sequential effects of increasing propofol sedation on frontal and temporal cortices as indexed by auditory event-related potentials. Anesthesiology, 100, 617-625.

Koelsch, S., Kasper, E., Sammler, D., Schulze, K., Gunter, T., Friederici, A. D. (2004). Music, language and meaning: Brain signatures of semantic processing. Nature Neuroscience, 7, 302-307.

Scheid, R., Voltz, R., Guthke, T., Sammler, D., von Cramon, D. Y. (2003). Neuropsychiatric findings in anti-MA2-positive limbic encephalitis. Neurology, 61, 1159-1160.

Koelsch, S., Gunter, T. C., Schröger, E., Tervaniemi, M., Sammler, D., Friederici, A. D. (2001). Differentiating ERAN and MMN: An ERP study. Neuroreport, 12, 1385-1389.


Grants & Awards

Grants and Awards

2012Gold Medal for outstanding achievements in the preservation of historic monuments in Europe, 10th denkmal Leipzig (Europe’s Leading Trade Fair for Conservation, Restoration and Old Building Renovation)
2010Otto Hahn Medal of the Max Planck Society
2010Otto Hahn Award of the Max Planck Society (equals funding for an Otto Hahn Research Group)
2010Poster Award, 16th Annual Meeting of the Organization of Human Brain Mapping