Fakultät für Philosophie, Wissenschaftstheorie und Religionswissenschaft

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Merle T. Fairhurst, Ph.D.

Associate Researcher (bidt Project)


Professor Merle Fairhurst is a cognitive neuroscientist with strong interdisciplinary ties that facilitate cross-talk with philosophers. She studies the interaction between sensory signals that allow us to make sense of the world around us and to successfully interact with others. Her projects range from trying to understand what makes touch special to identifying factors that make interacting in a group different to interacting in pairs. As a classical singer, she is passionate about the special cases of sensory perception in music and art. And, as a mother of four, she strongly believes in promoting women in academia.

Research Topics

Social interaction, sensory perception, integration, dynamic exchange


  • Fairhurst M.T., Janata P., Keller P.E. Distinguishing self from other in a dynamic synchronization task with an adaptive virtual partner. Submitted
  • Tajadura-Jiménez A., Vakali M., Fairhurst M.T., Mandrigin A., Bianchi-Berthouze N., Deroy O. Auditory Pinocchio: Rising pitch changes the mental representation of one’s finger length. In press
  • Fairhurst M. T. Scott M., Deroy O. Matching face-voices pairings affect recall: Evidence from a real-life context. 2017
  • Gallotti, M., Fairhurst M. T., Frith, C. Alignment in social interactions. Consciousnes and Cognition 2017
  • Fairhurst M.T., Deroy O. Testing the shared spatial representation of magnitude of auditory and visual intensity. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 2017
  • Koehne, S., Behrends, A.,Fairhurst, M.T., Dziobek, I. Fostering Social Cognition through an Imitation- and Synchronization-Based Dance/Movement Intervention in Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Controlled Proof-of-Concept Study. 2016
  • Fairhurst, M.T., Pritchard, D., Ospina, D., Deroy, O. Bouba-Kiki in the plate: combining crossmodal correspondences to change flavour experience. Flavour 2015
  • van der Steen, M.C., Jacoby, N., Fairhurst, M.T., & Keller, P.E. Sensorimotor synchronization with tempo-changing auditory sequences: Modeling temporal adaptation and anticipation. Brain Research 2015
  • Tajadura-Jimenez, A, Basia, M, Deroy, O, Fairhurst, M, Marquardt, Berthouze, N. As light as your footsteps: altering walking sounds to change perceived body weight, emotional state and gait. Computer Human Interface 2015
  • Fairhurst, M.T., Löken, L.S., Grossman, T. Physiological and behavioral responses reveal human infants’ sensitivity to pleasant touch. Psychological Science 2014
  • Ragert M., Fairhurst M.T., Keller P.E. Segregation and integration of complex auditory streams. PloS One 2014
  • Fairhurst M.T., Janata P., Keller P.E. Leading the follower: an fMRI investigation of dynamic cooperativity and leader-follower strategies in synchronization with an adaptive virtual partner. Neuroimage 2013
  • Uhlig M., Fairhurst M.T., Keller P.E. The importance of integration and top-down salience when listening to complex multi-part musical stimuli. Neuroimage 2013
  • Hove M.J., Fairhurst M.T., Kotz S.A., Keller P.E. Synchronizing with auditory and visual rhythms: an fMRI assessment of modality differences and modality appropriateness. Neuroimage 2012
  • Fairhurst M.T., Janata P., Keller P.E. Being and feeling in sync with an adaptive virtual partner: brain mechanisms underlying dynamic cooperativity. Cerebral Cortex 2012
  • Fairhurst M., Fairhurst K, Berna Renella C, Tracey I.A. Simulated and physical pain produce overlapping brain network of activity except for posterior insular cortex. Plos One 2012
  • Fairhurst M., Wiech K., Dunckley P., Tracey I. Anticipatory brainstem activity predicts neural processing of pain in humans. PAIN 2007
  • Fairhurst M.. Neurogenetic Imaging. Book chapter in: Gene Therapy – Prospective assessment in its societal context. Niewohner & Tannert (Eds), Elsevier (pub). 2006.
  • Dunckley P., Wise R.G., Fairhurst M., Hobden P., Aziz Q., Chang L., Tracey I. A comparison of visceral and somatic pain processing in the human brainstem using functional magnetic resonance imaging. J Neurosci 2005

Weitere Informationen

Curriculum Vitae

Merle Fairhurst holds a diploma in music and completed her undergraduate and postgraduate training in Physiological Sciences and Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Oxford with her doctoral work entitled "Dissecting the pain experience using psychological intervention and functional MRI". Her postdoctoral training has included two research fellowships with the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig) firstly within the Music, Cognition and Action group (2009-2012) and then in the Early Social Development group (2012-2013). Before starting at the LMU, she completed a research fellowship at the Centre for the Study of the Senses at the University of London (2014-2017). She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Philosophy of Mind and Cognitive Neuroscience group.

Download: CV Merle T. Fairhurst (PDF)

Selected Publications