Dr Olaf Hauk

Olaf Hauk

University position

Senior Investigator Scientist

Dr Olaf Hauk is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit



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Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


I use a multi-modal imaging approach to problems in the neuroscience of language and cognition.


How are the complex computations underlying reading behaviour implemented so efficiently and flexibly in our brains? I address this question using EEG, MEG and fMRI to study effects of psycholinguistic variables/tasks on the human brain response, in combination with behavioural measures (such as eye movements) and in the context of computational models of reading.

Embodied Cognition:

I test predictions of embodied cognition theories using EEG, MEG and fMRI, focussing on word meaning and arithmetic processing. Are motor areas activated when we read an action-related word? Or when we multiply two numbers?


I evaluate and develop EEG/MEG source estimation procedures for connectivity and pattern analysis as well as multi-modal imaging, and apply novel approaches to EEG/MEG analysis to study cognitive variables and tasks, such as regression or mixed-effects models.

Brain activation in cortical motor areas in response to different types of action words as determined with fMRI
Time course of brain activation during word recognition, estimated from combined EEG/MEG data and displayed on an inflated cortical surface
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus






inverse problem

Clinical conditions



Language disorders


Behavioural analysis

Electroencephalography (EEG)


functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)



Matt Davis

Thanasis Fokas

Richard Henson

Rebecca Jackson

Franziska Knolle

Matt Lambon Ralph

Lucy MacGregor

Karalyn Patterson

Grace Rice

United Kingdom

Rezvan Farahibozorg Web: https://www.ndcn.ox.ac.uk/team/re...

Simon Liversedge Web: https://www.uclan.ac.uk/staff_p...

Matthias Treder Web: https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/people/...

Anna Woolams Web: http://www.psych-sci.manchester.ac.uk/staff/A...


Alessio Basti Web: https://www.researchgate.net/profile...

Tim Kietzmann Web: http://www.timkietzmann.de/

Nikolaus Kriegeskorte Web: https://zuckermaninstitute.columbia.edu/nikolau...

Laura Marzetti Web: https://unich-it.academia.edu/LauraMa...

Volker Michel Web: https://www.uni-siegen.de/fb6/geo...

Marieke Mur Web: http://mariekemur.com/

Vittorio Pizzella Web: https://www.unich.it/ugov/pe...

Friedemann Pulvermüller Web: https://www.geisteswissenschaften.fu-berlin.de/v/brain...

Matti Stenroos Web: https://people.aalto.fi/matti.s...

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Basti A, Mur M, Kriegeskorte N, Pizzella V, Marzetti L, Hauk O (2019), “Analysing linear multivariate pattern transformations in neuroimaging data” bioRxiv

    Hauk O, Stenroos M, Treder M (2019), “Towards an Objective Evaluation of EEG/MEG Source Estimation Methods: The Linear Tool Kit” bioRxiv

    Farahibozorg SR, Henson RN, Hauk O (2018), “Adaptive cortical parcellations for source reconstructed EEG/MEG connectomes.” Neuroimage

    Farahibozorg SR, Henson RN, Woollams AM, Hauk O (2018), “Distinct roles for the Anterior Temporal Lobe and Angular Gyrus in the spatio-temporal cortical semantic network” bioRxiv

    Hauk O (2018), “Is there a problem with methods skills in cognitive neuroscience? Evidence from an online survey.” bioRxiv

    Tschentscher N, Hauk O (2017), “Frontal Cortex Supports the Early Structuring of Multiple Solution Steps in Symbolic Problem-solving.” J Cogn Neurosci

    Hauk O (2016), “Only time will tell - why temporal information is essential for our neuroscientific understanding of semantics.” Psychon Bull Rev

    Tschentscher N, Hauk O (2016), “Frontal and Parietal Cortices Show Different Spatiotemporal Dynamics across Problem-solving Stages.” J Cogn Neurosci

    Chen Y, Davis MH, Pulvermüller F, Hauk O (2015), “Early Visual Word Processing Is Flexible: Evidence from Spatiotemporal Brain Dynamics” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

    Hauk O (2015), “Only time will tell - Why temporal information is essential for our neuroscientific understanding of semantics” Psychonomic Bulletin & Review

    Miozzo M, Pulvermüller F, Hauk O (2014), “Early Parallel Activation of Semantics and Phonology in Picture Naming: Evidence from a Multiple Linear Regression MEG Study.” Cereb Cortex Details

    Tschentscher N, Hauk O (2014), “How are things adding up? Neural differences between arithmetic operations are due to general problem solving strategies.” Neuroimage 92:369-80 Details

    Chen Y, Davis MH, Pulvermüller F, Hauk O (2013), “Task modulation of brain responses in visual word recognition as studied using EEG/MEG and fMRI” Frontiers in Human Neuroscience

    Hauk O, Stenroos M (2013), “A framework for the design of flexible cross-talk functions for spatial filtering of EEG/MEG data: DeFleCT.” Hum Brain Mapp Details

    Hauk O, Tschentscher N (2013), “The Body of Evidence: What Can Neuroscience Tell Us about Embodied Semantics?” Front Psychol 4:50 PDF Details

    Hauk O, Coutout C, Holden A, Chen Y (2012), “The time-course of single-word reading: Evidence from fast behavioral and brain responses.” Neuroimage 60(2):1462-1477 Details

    Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2011), “The lateralization of motor cortex activation to action-words.” Front Hum Neurosci 5:149 Details

    Hauk O, Wakeman DG, Henson R (2010), “Comparison of noise-normalized minimum norm estimates for MEG analysis using multiple resolution metrics.” Neuroimage Details

    Hauk O, Pulvermüller F, Ford M, Marslen-Wilson WD, Davis MH (2009), “Can I have a quick word? Early electrophysiological manifestations of psycholinguistic processes revealed by event-related regression analysis of the EEG.” Biol Psychol 80(1):64-74 Details

    Hauk O, Davis MH, Kherif F, Pulvermüller F (2008), “Imagery or meaning? Evidence for a semantic origin of category-specific brain activity in metabolic imaging.” Eur J Neurosci 27(7):1856-66 Details

    Hauk O, Davis MH, Pulvermüller F (2008), “Modulation of brain activity by multiple lexical and word form variables in visual word recognition: A parametric fMRI study.” Neuroimage 42(3):1185-95 Details

    Hauk O, Shtyrov Y, Pulvermüller F (2008), “The time course of action and action-word comprehension in the human brain as revealed by neurophysiology.” J Physiol Paris 102(1-3):50-8 Details

    Hauk O, Patterson K, Woollams A, Cooper-Pye E, Pulvermüller F, Rogers TT (2007), “How the camel lost its hump: the impact of object typicality on event-related potential signals in object decision.” J Cogn Neurosci 19(8):1338-53 Details

    Hauk O, Davis MH, Ford M, Pulvermüller F, Marslen-Wilson WD (2006), “The time course of visual word-recognition as revealed by linear regression analysis of ERP data” Neuroimage 30(4):1383-1400 Details

    Hauk O, Patterson K, Woollams A, Watling L, Pulvermüller F, Rogers T (2006), “[Q:] When would you prefer a SOSSAGE to a SAUSAGE? [A:] At about 100 ms. ERP correlates of orthographic typicality and lexicality in written word recognition” Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18(5):818-832 Details

    Hauk O, Shtyrov Y, Pulvermüller F (2006), “The sound of actions as reflected by mismatch negativity: rapid activation of cortical sensory-motor networks by sounds associated with finger and tongue movements.” Eur J Neurosci 23(3):811-21 Details

    Hauk O (2004), “Keep it simple: a case for using classical minimum norm estimation in the analysis of EEG and MEG data.” Neuroimage 21(4):1612-21 Details

    Hauk O, Johnsrude I, Pulvermüller F (2004), “Somatotopic Representation Of Action Words In Human Motor And Premotor Cortex” Neuron 41:301-307 Details



    Hauk O, Stenroos M, Treder M (2019), “EEG/MEG Source Estimation and Spatial Filtering: The Linear Toolkit” In: Magnetoencphalography, edts. S. Supek & C.J. Aine


    Finoia P, Mitchell DJ, Hauk O, Beste C, Pizzella V, Duncan J (2015), “Concurrent brain responses to separate auditory and visual targets” Journal of Neurophysiology

    Hauk O (2015), “Representing mental representations – Neuroscientific and computational approaches to study language processing in the brain” Language, Cognition and Neuroscience 30(4)

    Hauk O (2015), “What does it mean? A review of the neuroscientific evidence for embodied lexical semantics” Neurobiology of Language (Edts: Hickok/Small)

    Tschentscher N, Hauk O (2015), “Individual strategy ratings improve the control for task difficulty effects in arithmetic problem solving paradigms” Frontiers in Psychology


    Chen Y, Davis MH, Pulvermüller F, Hauk O (2013), “Task modulation of brain responses in visual word recognition as studied using EEG/MEG and fMRI.” Front Hum Neurosci 7:376 Details

    Moseley RL, Mohr B, Lombardo MV, Baron-Cohen S, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2013), “Brain and behavioral correlates of action semantic deficits in autism.” Front Hum Neurosci 7:725 Details

    Stenroos M, Hauk O (2013), “Minimum-norm cortical source estimation in layered head models is robust against skull conductivity error.” Neuroimage Details


    Tschentscher N, Hauk O, Fischer MH, Pulvermüller F (2012), “You can count on the motor cortex: Finger counting habits modulate motor cortex activation evoked by numbers.” Neuroimage 59(4):3139-48 Details


    Moseley R, Carota F, Hauk O, Mohr B, Pulvermüller F (2011), “A Role for the Motor System in Binding Abstract Emotional Meaning.” Cereb Cortex Details

    Pulvermüller F, Cook C, Hauk O (2011), “Inflection in action: Semantic motor system activation to noun- and verb-containing phrases is modulated by the presence of overt grammatical markers.” Neuroimage 60(2):1367-1379 Details


    Boudelaa S, Pulvermüller F, Hauk O, Shtyrov Y, Marslen-Wilson W (2010), “Arabic morphology in the neural language system.” J Cogn Neurosci 22(5):998-1010 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Cooper-Pye E, Dine C, Hauk O, Nestor PJ, Patterson K (2010), “The word processing deficit in semantic dementia: all categories are equal, but some categories are more equal than others.” J Cogn Neurosci 22(9):2027-41 Details


    Bediou B, Eimer M, d'Amato T, Hauk O, Calder AJ (2009), “In the eye of the beholder: individual differences in reward-drive modulate early frontocentral ERPs to angry faces.” Neuropsychologia 47(3):825-34 Details

    Boulenger V, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2009), “Grasping ideas with the motor system: semantic somatotopy in idiom comprehension.” Cereb Cortex 19(8):1905-14 Details

    Carlyon RP, Deeks JM, Shtyrov Y, Grahn J, Gockel HE, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2009), “Changes in the perceived duration of a narrowband sound induced by a preceding stimulus.” J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform 35(6):1898-912 Details

    Grave de Peralta R, Hauk O, Gonzalez SL (2009), “The neuroelectromagnetic inverse problem and the zero dipole localization error.” Comput Intell Neurosci :659247 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Kherif F, Hauk O, Mohr B, Nimmo-Smith I (2009), “Distributed cell assemblies for general lexical and category-specific semantic processing as revealed by fMRI cluster analysis.” Hum Brain Mapp 30(12):3837-50 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Shtyrov Y, Hauk O (2009), “Understanding in an instant: neurophysiological evidence for mechanistic language circuits in the brain.” Brain Lang 110(2):81-94 Details


    Nazir TA, Jeannerod M, Hauk O (2008), “The role of sensory-motor systems for language understanding. Foreword.” J Physiol Paris 102(1-3):1-3 Details


    Kiefer M, Sim EJ, Liebich S, Hauk O, Tanaka J (2007), “Experience-dependent plasticity of conceptual representations in human sensory-motor areas.” J Cogn Neurosci 19(3):525-42 Details

    Mohr B, Endrass T, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2007), “ERP correlates of the bilateral redundancy gain for words.” Neuropsychologia 45(9):2114-24 Details

    Penolazzi B, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2007), “Early semantic context integration and lexical access as revealed by event-related brain potentials.” Biol Psychol 74(3):374-88 Details


    Moscoso del Prado Martín F, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2006), “Category specificity in the processing of color-related and form-related words: an ERP study.” Neuroimage 29(1):29-37 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Hauk O (2006), “Category-specific conceptual processing of color and form in left fronto-temporal cortex.” Cereb Cortex 16(8):1193-201 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Huss M, Kherif F, Moscoso del Prado Martin F, Hauk O, Shtyrov Y (2006), “Motor cortex maps articulatory features of speech sounds.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 103(20):7865-70 Details


    Pulvermüller F, Hauk O, Nikulin VV, Ilmoniemi RJ (2005), “Functional links between motor and language systems.” Eur J Neurosci 21(3):793-7 Details

    Pulvermüller F, Hauk O, Zohsel K, Neininger B, Mohr B (2005), “Therapy-related reorganization of language in both hemispheres of patients with chronic aphasia.” Neuroimage 28(2):481-9 Details


    Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2004), “Effects of word length and frequency on the human event-related potential.” Clin Neurophysiol 115(5):1090-103 Details

    Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2004), “Neurophysiological distinction of action words in the fronto-central cortex.” Hum Brain Mapp 21(3):191-201 Details

    Shtyrov Y, Hauk O, Pulvermüller F (2004), “Distributed neuronal networks for encoding category-specific semantic information: the mismatch negativity to action words.” Eur J Neurosci 19(4):1083-92 Details


    Micheyl C, Carlyon RP, Shtyrov Y, Hauk O, Dodson T, Pullvermüller F (2003), “The neurophysiological basis of the auditory continuity illusion: a mismatch negativity study.” J Cogn Neurosci 15(5):747-58 Details


    Hauk O, Keil A, Elbert T, Müller MM (2002), “Comparison of data transformation procedures to enhance topographical accuracy in time-series analysis of the human EEG.” J Neurosci Methods 113(2):111-22 Details

    Keil A, Bradley MM, Hauk O, Rockstroh B, Elbert T, Lang PJ (2002), “Large-scale neural correlates of affective picture processing.” Psychophysiology 39(5):641-9 Details


    Hauk O, Rockstroh B, Eulitz C (2001), “Grapheme monitoring in picture naming: an electrophysiological study of language production.” Brain Topogr 14(1):3-13 Details


    Eulitz C, Hauk O, Cohen R (2000), “Electroencephalographic activity over temporal brain areas during phonological encoding in picture naming.” Clin Neurophysiol 111(11):2088-97 Details

    Fell J, Hauk O, Hinrichs H (2000), “Linear inverse filtering improves spatial separation of nonlinear brain dynamics: a simulation study.” J Neurosci Methods 98(1):49-56 Details


    Löw A, Rockstroh B, Cohen R, Hauk O, Berg P, Maier W (1999), “Determining working memory from ERP topography.” Brain Topogr 12(1):39-47 Details

    Rockstroh B, Cohen R, Hauk O, Dobel C, Berg P, Horvat J, Elbert T (1999), “Topography of the post-imperative negative variation in schizophrenic patients and controls obtained from high-resolution ERP maps.” Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol Suppl 49:210-4 Details


    Dobel C, Hauk O, Zobel E, Eulitz C, Pulvermüller F, Cohen R, Schönle PW, Elbert T, Rockstroh B (1998), “Monitoring brain activity of human subjects during delayed matching to sample tasks comparing verbal and pictorial stimuli with modal and cross-modal presentation: an event related potential study employing a source reconstruction method.” Neurosci Lett 253(3):179-82 Details


    Grave de Peralta Menendez R, Hauk O, Gonzalez Andino S, Vogt H, Michel C (1997), “Linear inverse solutions with optimal resolution kernels applied to electromagnetic tomography.” Hum Brain Mapp 5(6):454-67 Details