Dr. med. Matthias Grabenhorst

Main research areas

How does the human brain generate and use information to guide its actions? My research aims to understand basic mechanisms of how we observe our environment and interact with it. The topics I investigate by modeling behavior and its underlying neurophysiology include:

  • Inferential processes
  • Influence of sensory input modality on information processing
  • Timing
  • Decision making
  • Group-level behavior in e.g. the performance and perception of music


Academic Education

2015Doctorate in Medicine (Dr. med.) magna cum laude, Charité – University Medicine Berlin,  (Dissertation in Radiology) 
2011Federal Medical Exam and Medical License, Hannover Medical School
2005–2010Medical Studies Charité – University Medicine Berlin
1999–2003Diploma in Music Performance Cologne University of Music (Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Köln)
1998–1999Professional Music (undergraduate studies) Berklee College of Music, Boston/USA


2014–to dateResearcher, Department of Neuroscience, Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt/Main
2012–2013Clinical Researcher, Charité – University Medicine Berlin
2010–2011Clinical Internship Year, Hannover Medical School
2003–to dateFreelance Musician



Grabenhorst M., Maloney LT., Poeppel D., Michalareas G. (2021): Two sources of uncertainty independently modulate temporal expectancy. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences118(16), e2019342118. doi:10.1073/pnas.2019342118

Grabenhorst M., Michalareas G., Maloney LT., Poeppel D. (2019). The anticipation of events in time. Nature Communications 10:5802. doi:10.1038/s41467-019-13849-0.

Larrouy-Maestri P., Magis D., Grabenhorst M., Morsomme D. (2015). Layman versus Professional Musician: Who Makes the Better Judge? PLoS ONE,10(8): e0135394. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0135394

Grabenhorst M., Schmidt B, Liebers U, Oestmann JW. (2015). Radiologic Manifestations of Bronchoscopic Lung Volume Reduction in severe Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. American Journal of Roentgenology, 204(3):475-86. DOI: 10.2214/AJR.14.13185



  • The anticipation of events in time

    Musicians are often said to possess "good timing". Technically, this time-based behavior can be defined as appropriate action based on accurate prediction. Or, phrased differently: musicians know when to play because they ...

  • Uncertainty parameters in temporal expectancy

    In everyday life, the human brain is confronted with information that implies certainty but that is in fact probabilistic by nature. For example, a train scheduled to arrive at a remote station at 12:15 might be canceled, and even if it reaches ...

  • The performer's perspective on the aesthetic experience

    Music can be described from different points of view including the musicologist's historically informed perspective, the music theorist's notation-based relationships between sounds, and also the layman listener's verbalization of an ad hoc ...

  • Probabilistic inference based on different types of information

    Our environment contains a rich spectrum of physical signals carrying different types of information. These signals can artificially be assigned to three entities: the What, relating to the type of event, the Where, ...