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Nicolas Farrugia

  • PhD
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Music Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths - University of London
  • 4h-indexImpact measure calculated using publication and citation counts. Updated daily.
  • 92CitationsNumber of citations received by Nicolas's publications. Updated daily.

Other IDs

Research interests

motor and rhythmical entrainment and musical imagery. Applications in musicwith a focus on rhythm and sensorimotor synchronization. Interest in internal processes such as spontaneous brain oscillationsResearcher in the cognitive neurosciences of music

About

My initial work as a PhD student and engineer was about optimizing electronical architectures for highly demanding signal and image processing applications, namely real-time face analysis (Farrugia et al. 2009, 2008) and cryptography. The strategies proposed in this research have direct applications to modern neuroscientific research such as neurofeedback or brain-computer interface settings, which require real-time EEG or fMRI signal processing. Since late 2010, my goal as a post-doctoral researcher is to investigate different aspects related to rhythm perception, temporal processing, and sensorimotor synchronization, by studying brain oscillations, movement, and behavior. As a Marie Curie Experienced Researcher in the EBRAMUS project (Europe, Brain and Music), in a collaborative framework between WSFiZ in Warsaw, Poland, Euromov / M2H in Montpellier, France, and the Max Planck Institute in Leipzig, Germany, supervised by Pr. Simone Dalla Bella Pr. Dr. Sonja Kotz, we have been investigating the neural correlates of rhythmic auditory stimulation in Parkinson’s Disease. This is a particular form of music-based therapy using rhythm for the rehabilitation of gait disorders. Our approach was based on a combination of motion capture (gait kinematics analysis using a Vicon system), perceptual and sensorimotor behavioral experiments via the BAASTA battery of sensorimotor and rhythm perception tests (Dalla Bella, Farrugia, & Kotz, in preparation) and neurophysiological measurements such as EEG. Under the direct supervision of Pr Dr Sonja Kotz, we investigated spontaneous brain oscillations (resting state) and electrophysiological markers of temporal processing using EEG (Schwartze, Farrugia & Kotz, 2013 and Farrugia, Schwartze, Pell, & Kotz, in prep.). My personal contribution was to apply time-frequency analyses to EEG data in order to show how brain oscillations prior to a target stimulus predict subsequent neurophysiological brain responses in form of event-related potentials, in temporally regular and irregular contexts. In addition, we studied the degree of impairment of this predictive link in the presence of subcortico-cortical degeneration in Parkinson’s Disease (Farrugia et al., in prep.). We further aim to demonstrate the role of spontaneous brain oscillations in forming auditory temporal predictions within a subcortico-cortical brain network. As an invited researcher at the EuroMov Center/ Movement to Health Laboratory (M2H) in Montpellier, France in 2012, I have led and designed an experiment on the link between movement and isochronous synchronization as an effect of musical expertise under the supervision of Simone Dalla Bella (Farrugia & Dalla Bella, in prep.). Expert percussionists were asked to synchronize with a metronome at different tempi with their movement being recorded by a motion capture system. We were interested in studying arms movement preceding the drum strike, by addressing the following research questions, as a function of tempo: (1) “When” does an expert start his movement for the next beat? (2) How much amplitude in the movement is needed, and (3) Can we characterize individual differences in the first two questions using quantitative assessment of musical training? Secondary research questions in this experiment were to ask participants about the specific strategies they apply to achieve their performance goals (i.e., accuracy and precision), still as a function of tempo, with a particular interest on (1) consciousness of the amount of movement of the different parts of the arm and (2) rhythmical and/or musical imagery, which in this case range from simple metric subdivisions to complex rhythmic imagination. The main outcome of this project is to show what we can learn from different expertise degrees in terms of kinematic and timing markers of a healthy, expert movement. These contributions highlight my interests in music neuroscience, with outcomes ranging from brain research (role of oscillations for temporal processing, subcortico-cortical networks) to clinical research (music therapy), as well as music pedagogy (role of movement and musical imagery on building expertise).

Co-authors (20)

Publications (11)

Auditory cueing improves both perceptual and motor timing in Parkinson's disease

  • Benoit C
  • Dalla Bella S
  • Farrugia N
Frontiers in Neuroscience 
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Effects of musically cued gait training in Parkinson's disease: beyond a motor benefit.

  • Dalla Bella S
  • Benoit C
  • Farrugia N
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (2015)
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Expectations induced by natural-like temporal fluctuations are independent of attention decrement: evidence from behavior and early visual evoked potentials.

  • Derosiere G
  • Farrugia N
  • Perrey S
NeuroImage (2015)
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Tunes stuck in your brain: The frequency and affective evaluation of involuntary musical imagery correlate with cortical structure.

  • Farrugia N
  • Jakubowski K
  • Cusack R
Consciousness and cognition (2015)
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BAASTA : Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities

  • Farrugia N
  • Benoit C
  • Harding E
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Professional experience

Postdoctoral Fellow

Music Mind and Brain at Goldsmiths - University of London

November 2013 - Present

Postdoctoral fellow

Max-Planck-Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences

October 2012 - October 2013(a year)

Postdoctoral fellow

Departement of Cognitive Psychology, University of Finance and Management in Warsaw

October 2010 - September 2012(2 years)

R&D Engineer

CS

December 2008 - September 2010(2 years)

PhD Candidate

Orange Labs

October 2005 - October 2008(3 years)

Education history

PhD in Electronics for real-time image processing

Université de Bourgogne

September 2005 - December 2008(3 years)

M. Sc. in Signal and Image processing

Université de Cergy-Pontoise

September 2003 - September 2005(2 years)

Enginneering Diploma in Electronics, Signal processing, digital telecommunications and real-time sys

ENSEA

September 2002 - September 2005(3 years)