The SCONe effect size project – first progress

In spring 2023, a group of SCONe researchers decided on a common research project that soon focused on reviewing the literature, and potentially doing a meta-analysis, on the strength of alpha lateralisation. We picked this effect because it is well-documented and generally accepted. It should therefore make for a proving ground for our large-scale literature survey.

Our motivations were to check how effect sizes were usually reported, borne out of a move away from only reporting the existence of an effect towards how strong it is. It seems generally more interesting to know that cued shifts of attention (or other cognitive experimental manipulations) explain x% of variability in, rather than just knowing that they do (not) affect brain activity. Ultimately, we hope to provide a benchmark for effect sizes in cognitive neuroscience to compare novel or less established findings to. Moreover, we aim to assess how effect sizes for alpha lateralisation vary across different types of designs, modalities, or design factors (if our final set of papers includes enough relevant papers).

Screeners at work

After laying the groundwork, and researching approaches, we finally settled on using cutting-edge  systematic review tools. For the first stage of title and abstract screening, following a literature search that produced ~4500 results, we used an AI tool, ASReview, that helped massively by reducing the amount of work by about 90+% (only x abstracts were scanned by two screeners). The resulting 300+ eligible studies then underwent a full-text screening involving 10 screeners, and excluding studies using a fixed set of criteria. This and the following stage made/make use of Covidence, an online tool specifically designed to support screening efforts for systematic reviews.

We met in Dundee in early March 2024 for a titration screening and finalising the criteria for all screeners. With the screening nearing completion, we are currently finalising the data extraction process that will be followed by a data analysis stage to determine effect sizes.

Getting some fresh air at Loch Brandy, Glen Clova

Our progress has been hugely engaging and the learning experiences, discussions and meetings have been invaluable opportunities for exchange. The effect size project steering committee, including Lui Ka Yan (Troby), Laura-Isabelle Klatt and Christian Keitel, say huge thanks to everyone involved in the project so far: Karin Bakardjian, Chris Benwell, Emily K Cunningham, Anne Keitel, Martina Kopcanova, Manuela Ruzzoli, Linda Drijvers, Malte Wöstmann, Benedikt Zoefel, Søren K Andersen, Marlene Rösner, Philipp Ruhnau.

Please get in touch for questions and suggestions, and stay tuned for updates!

From Dundee to Maastricht (and back)

By Sümeyye Şen Alpay

As an international student, relocating abroad to pursue a master’s degree with demanding coursework during the pandemic was no easy feat. Looking back on those days, I realize that adapting to a new educational system while feeling isolated hindered my ability to fully embrace the academic delights, such as international travel, conference attendance, and meeting remarkable researchers in person. Now, after a year as a doctoral student, my journey has been filled with a multitude of opportunities that reignited my enthusiasm for my career in numerous ways. One of these remarkable experiences was my week-long visit to Prof Sonja Kotz’s Basic & Applied NeuroDynamics Laboratory at the University of Maastricht in October, which was generously sponsored by the Scottish-EU Critical Oscillations Network (SCONe). My expectations for the lab visit were quite modest, revolving around introducing my research on the relationship between emotional processes and naturalistic speech processing, soliciting feedback on planned studies, and acquiring new research methodologies. At the end of the week, I departed Maastricht with more than I initially anticipated—an experience well worth sharing in a blog post.

By a fortunate coincidence, my first day at the BAND Lab coincided with attending Anna Czepiel’s PhD defense. Despite the notable variations in doctoral dissertation defenses, not only between the Netherlands and Scotland but also within different institutions in each country, her defense provided me with invaluable insights. Her exceptional presentation and adept handling of the Q&A session served as a source of inspiration for navigating my own future doctoral defense. Additionally, it was enlightening to delve into the latest literature on the neural and physiological basis of naturalistic music listening and to gain a better understanding of the advantages and challenges that ecological approaches in psychological science and neuroscience studies offer to researchers. The following day, I had the privilege of engaging in an informal coffee chat with two of the lab’s doctoral students, Hanna Honcamp and Xanthate Duggirala, during which they shared their personal experiences as PhD researchers. I’m especially grateful for my conversation with Xanthate about gathering emotional responses to vocal stimuli, as well as her patience with me as I grumbled about the challenges of measuring emotions. Equally appreciative, I am of Antonio Criscuolo, who, despite being away during my visit, managed to arrange a Zoom meeting to introduce me to alternative methods for measuring the coupling between neural activity and speech while providing valuable statistical guidance. On my final day at the BAND Lab, a meeting with Sonja, Hanna, Xanthate, and Michael Schwartze provided the feedback and advice I had been seeking.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the lab team for their warm welcome. My time in Maastricht, especially my visit to the enchanting Boekhandel Dominicanen, one of the most beautiful bookstores I have ever seen, and the awe-inspiring spectacle of swallows’ migration, will forever hold a special place in my memories.

Magnificent Boekhandel Dominicanen

SCONe at CuttingEEG 2023 Dundee

From 16-19th Oct, we hosted a local “garden” of the global CuttingEEG 2023 conference in Dundee. It’s time for a huge appreciation post for everyone who helped us made it happen: First, props to our fantastic venue who gave us shelter and kept us nourished – visit the DCA if you are in Dundee!

Next, we’d like to give a huge round of applause to our stellar tutorial speakers, Philipp Ruhnau (Fieldtrip), Tanja Atanasova (Microstates), Anastasia Klimovich-Gray (Mne_python), and Robin Ince (Bayesian Prevalence) who couldn’t have done it any better.

Ana Klimovich Gray demonstrating mne_python on a screen in front of the audience.

Microstates’ tutor Tanja Atanasova was also involved in the local organisation together with the ever resourceful Bryony Buck and Rosanne Timmerman. We somehow failed to take a picture of the crew, Christopher Benwell, and Anne Keitel so here’s a replacement shot instead:

Cutting EEG reception desk at the DCA. Tanja Atanasova at the helm, Anne Keitel “signing up” our youngest attendees.

We will also keep in fond memory our city walk led by UoD Psychology’s own Dr Anne Scrimgeour, and our conference social at vegan pub Loco Rita, where our poster prizes went to Martina Kopcanova and Maria Carmen Garcia de Soria Bazan.

Crowd gathering outside to listen to Anne Scrimgeour talking about Dundee history.
Attendee social.

We remain in absolute awe about the herculanean effort of putting together the global part of the conference by the team. Having our conference cut short by the (atypically) severe weather shows that this conference format is the future! Visit to find out more.

Further huge thanks go to our sponsors and benefactors: The School of Social Sciences, Law and Humanities (home of UoD Psychology), our own HoD Prof Alissa Melinger, and our industry sponsor mBrainTrain

Finally, another big thank you to speakers Danying Wang, James Dowsett and for presenting their research at our mini-symposium sponsored by the Scottish-EU critical oscillation network (SCONe) – recording available soon.

SCONe Newsletter June 2023

Dear SCONe members,

With a few days of a delay due to the unique, outstanding experience of the Body-Brain Waves meeting in Salerno, please find below an update on SCONe activities:

Small SCONe gathering at the ancient Greek temples of Paestum. Body-Brain Waves organisers Antonio Criscuolo & Sonja Kotz with Daniel Kluger and Christian Keitel (right to left).

COST action

The time is drawing near where we’d have to put together the application for a COST action. We have identified potential partners (and some funding to visit them, if necessary), we have rough ideas for the application, a wealth of further information on how the COST funding can be used (and how it cannot), and we have an existing network that this can build on. The one thing we do not have is someone who will act as the primary applicant. For several reasons, we had to concede and can’t take it on ourselves. However, we’d be more than happy to do our parts for a successful application. Please do get in touch if you are interested in leading a bid for a COST action and we’ll give you a full account of our current “intel”. (In brief, it’s a huge pot of money for network, exchange and conference activities, up to 150k EUR pa over 4 yrs – does not generally pay for research or salaries though.)


Progress in some areas is slower than expected. We are still waiting on a couple of initial drafts (but we know they are coming). Once we have content for every section, we will do a final check and highlight where things have to be amended (e.g. shortened). Work on the Three Big Challenges has started too, and we are looking forward to a draft at the end of July.


We’d like as many of us as possible to contribute to is compiling a list of openly available datasets from experiments that look into some aspect of brain rhythms  – see here, and click on ‘Open Datasets’. In order to have your dataset listed, you will need to fill in this form. (Note that the data will not appear immediately but only after a content check.)

SCONe RA Karin Bakardjian

Soon after SCONe started last year, we were lucky enough to get Karin onboard. She’s been assisting us in many, many ways and SCONe wouldn’t be the same without her. She’s now moving on to a Masters course at Maastricht, but not without taking with her the “Ivana Markova price for Wider Achievement” in her Undergraduate studies at the University of Stirling. Congratulations Karin, and all the best for your Masters! (This is not goodbye though, as Karin will still be involved.)


We’ll keep working on all things SCONe but as summer usually means holidays for most at some point, we wish everyone some relaxing time off with friends and families. Expect the next newsletter at the end of Aug.

Best wishes, SCONe Steer Com

SCONe Newsletter- May 2023

Dear SCONe members,

We’d like to start this new form of updates so that everyone has a chance of knowing what is happening across the network. The aim will always be to keep this concise so it’s a quick read. As this is the first of its kind, this one might be a lot longer though…

Project Updates:

We are working towards a final draft of the position paper (including thinking about what else to call it). Make sure to attend the meeting on 1 Jun 2023, 10:00 BST, for a discussion of emerging big questions (~2hrs). Zoom link sent earlier and will be sent again closer to the meeting, also available on the SCONe Discord (access required).

We have started a collaborative research project that is currently gearing towards a meta-analysis of alpha lateralisation effects based on existing literature. Regular meetings are on, and updates can be found in the corresponding Discord channel (access required). This effort can still be joined.

Conferences & meetings:

SCONe will be meeting at the SAMBA conference in Salzburg, 13 – 14 Jul. Make sure to register by 31 May if you want to attend the conference. The (inofficial) SCONe satellite will take place on the morning of 15 Jul (likely 9am-1pm) – hybrid options to be explored.

From 16-19 Oct, we’ll have the global conference CuttingEEG 2023. Several SCONe members will be involved in organising local “gardens”, and some even in the main event, as speakers or organisers.

Website & Social Media:

As a consequence of moving SCONe admin from Stirling to Dundee, there are some changes to our internet presences. The SCONe twitter account now has the updated handle @SCONe_neuro. Also huge thanks to Laura Klatt who’s taken over some (if not most) of the account’s tweeting. (Get in touch if you are interested in having access to our SocMed accounts and help us out spreading the word). Our website can be found at Emails should be sent to

One thing that can be found on the website, and that we’d like as many as possible to contribute to is compiling a list of openly available datasets from experiments that look into some aspect of brain rhythms  – see here, and click on ‘Open Datasets’. In order to have your dataset listed, you will need to fill in this form. (Note that the data will not appear immediately but only after a content check.)

Funding & Jobs:

We are looking into extending the SCONe funding lifetime past the end of 2023, as well as expanding based on the current network. Some of us have recently attended an info session on EU COST actions and they still seem the most comprehensive way of entertaining a pan-European network of like-minded researchers. Discussions surrounding a bid for a COST action (due Oct 2023), or similar, will be part of the SCONe meeting at SAMBA.

[Send us job adverts to be listed here … can also be posted on the Discord channel]


We welcome Søren Andersen, Raquel London, James Dowsett, Benedikt Zoefel and Keith Doelling to SCONe – happy to have you on board.

[Let us know whether there are other categories of info to be covered here, e.g., recent papers from SCONe members, etc.]

Best wishes,
SCONe Steer Com

Celebrating 1 year of SCONe!

One year ago, the Scottish-EU Critical Oscillations Network was launched to connect researchers across Europe who are interested in brain rhythms. In 2022, SCONe saw amazing progress, hosting for the first time of an in-person meeting in Helsinki, Finland, as a satellite of the International Conference of Neuroscience! This meeting brought members together to discuss the next stages of our collaboration. We focused on shaping a position paper, a first joint publication that we progressed further through several online meetings over the course of the year. The paper is nearing completion and we aim for a publication in the second half of 2023.

2023 will bring some changes. Previously hosted at the University of Stirling, the network admin will be based at the University of Dundee, Scotland, from May 2023 on.

We will also be moving social media platforms in 2023. Our Twitter account will still exist, but our most active platform will be on Mastodon, where the SCONe account is currently hosted at:

SCONe would like to thank you for your strong and continuous support, and we look forward to many more interesting events and accomplishments in 2023!

SCONe Logo Competition

SCONe needed a logo – as aspiring networks do. So we asked our members to enter their ideas into a logo competition, and vote for their favourites. After a nerve-wracking tie between two of the contenders in the online voting, it came down to a deciding face-off during our March meeting.

The winning entry came from Malte Wöstmann, with the addition of a hand-drawn brain from Karin Bakardjian. Also thanks to the graphics department of the Max-Planck institute for Empirical Aesthetics and Johanna Rimmele for the close runner-up design.

The runner-up design

Congratulations to the winner and huge thanks to everyone who took part in the competition!

First SCONe in-person meeting in Helsinki

SCONe members rounded off an exciting ICON 2022 with the first in-person meeting of the newly founded network ever.

In a cosy meeting space at the University of Helsinki we discussed future endeavours of SCONe, and in particular, an upcoming publication. This massive effort, the details of which will be shared at a later date, will involve all members. To celebrate the occasion, we finished our meeting with some fine Finnish seafood.

Thanks to everyone who attended online and in-person! With this much engagement and enthusiasm, SCONe’s future is looking bright.

Introducing SCONe

In summer 2021, Paul Sauseng (LMU, Munich, Germany), Satu Palva (University of Glasgow, Scotland, University of Helsinki, Finland), Anne Keitel (University of Dundee, Scotland) and Christian Keitel (University of Stirling, Scotland) successfully applied for a Saltire Network Facilitation Award from the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE) to start the Scottish-EU Critical Oscillations Network.

The Network officially started on 1 Jan 2022 with 20 members from labs and workgroups in nine different European countries and has since grown steadily. We all share a strong interest in
rhythmic brain processes and how they influence perception, cognition, and behaviour.

Research into brain rhythms has already fundamentally extended our knowledge of normal brain function, and how disturbances of rhythmic activity relate to known brain dysfunctions. Further advances in our understanding, and more importantly, our ability to interact with brain rhythms to promote a healthier society will require the concerted international efforts of leading research groups.

SCONe will deliver the groundwork and allow researchers to go beyond their usual reach and seek out expertise in a pan-European network of experts on brain rhythms. We will establish an infrastructure for putting together high-impact collaborative research grants, creating knowledge exchange opportunities and multi-centre data management know-how.

So far, we have started work on our first position paper, and held online gatherings to discuss additional SCONe-related projects. We are now looking forward to meeting in-person at a satellite event at the ICON 2022 in Helsinki.