Jasmin Pfeifer - binational PhD student at HHU and the University of Amsterdam

Jasmin Pfeifer, binational PhD Student at the HHU and the University of Amsterdam
Photo: Private

Jasmin Pfeifer studied linguistics and got her masters degree in 2009. Currently she is undertaking her doctoral studies also in linguistics at HHU and the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in frame of a bi-national thesis project.
Undertaking bi-national doctoral studies the doctoral researcher spents half of the research time at one university and the 2nd half of the time at the other university. However, Jasmin Pfeifer takes advantage of the geographic proximity of the two universities. She commutes twice a week from Düsseldorf to Amsterdam. starting her journey in the morning and ending it after her research work with a train back to Düsseldorf. 

Her doctoral thesis project focuses on "congenital amusia" studying a musical disorder mainly appearing as a defect in processing pitch. Musical memory and recognition are also affected. Studying and understanding amusia is a rather new field of research and only a handful of research groups are working on it at the moment. 

"We are thus one of the first to work on it, which is very exciting. There are only five groups worldwide and we are one of them. It is pioneering work, which makes it particularly interesting." In different courses of study, Jasmin analyzes how having a music perception disorder affects the speech perception. There are just a few people with this disorder. Only 4% of the population are affected. 

"The biggest part of my work is to search for test persons. We are looking for people with musical symptoms because they are more likely to be recognized than the language ones." Most of the people cannot recognize common songs without the texts or have problems with the perception of different tones. Approximately 50% of those have no sense of rhythm.

Jasmin is also a member of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre 991 at HHU and doctoral representative at the Graduate Academy of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities - philGRAD. As a philGRAD member she has taken part in several courses of the graduate academy. "It was always very helpful to get in contact with doctoral researchers of different fields being able to share knowledge."

In her free time Jasmin coordinates a music project for young refugees, where they can learn German in conjunction with hip hop and rap. 

After her doctoral research project she wants to apply for third party funding in order to continue her research on congenital amusie. 


Jasmin Pfeifer has been interviewed by Mareike Schulz in December 2015.


In person

Jasmin Pfeifer


2009 - BA in Linguistics
Thesis: "Kongenitale Amusia: Linguistisch und Neurolinguistisch"

2012 -  MA in Linguistics
Thesis:"An Experimental Study on the Influence of Congenital Amusia on Speech Perception"

since 2013 - Doctoral Student at HHU and the Amsterdam Centre for Language and Communication (Joint PhD degree)

PhD thesis:
"Speech perception impairments in congenital amusia"

Supervising committee: 
Prof. Dr. Paul Boersma, University of Amsterdam 
Prof. Dr. Dr. Peter Indefrey, Institute of Linguistic and Information, HHU
Dr. Silke Hamann, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Dr. Henkjan Honing, University of Amsterdam
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Ruben van de Vijver, Institute of Linguistic and Information, HHU

Additional Informationen:
Member of the DFG Collaborative Research Centre 991

DAAD Scholarship funded research stay in Australia in order to study an outdated language. 

Graduate Training:
Member of the Graduate Academy of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities - philGRAD

philGRAD Doctoral Representative

Pfeifer, Jasmin & Hamann, Silke (2015) Revising the diagnosis of congenital amusia with the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia, Frontiers in Human Neurosciences 9:161 

Pfeifer, Jasmin & Hamann, Silke (2015): Web-based testing of congenital amusia with the Montreal Battery of Evaluation of Amusia in Proceedings of the Ninth Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of Music

Schaal, Nora, Jasmin Pfeifer, Vanessa Krause & Bettina Pollock (2015): From amusic to musical? – Improving pitch memory in congenital amusia with transcranial alternating current stimulation, Behavioural Brain Research 294: 141–148

Pfeifer, Jasmin & Hamann, Silke (2014). “Congenital Amusia in linguistic and non-linguistic pitch perception - What behavior and reaction times reveal” in Proceedings of Speech Prosody 7, 2014, 438-442.

Pfeifer, Asano et al. (2014) “Report of the Summer School of Pitch, Music & Associated Pathologies (Lyon, July 9–11, 2014)” Psychomusicology: Music, Mind and Brain 24(3): 264-271

Hamann, Silke, Mats Exter, Jasmin Pfeifer & Marion Krause-Burmester (2012): Perceiving Differences in Linguistic and Non Linguistic Pitch: A Pilot Study With German Congenital Amusics. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Music Perception and Cognition (ICMPC) and 8th Triennial Conference of the European Society for the Cognitive Sciences of  Music (ESCOM), 398-405. 

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