New Endowed Chair to Explore the Acoustic Environment

A group of people posing for the camera Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

The HEAD-Genuit-Stiftung supports the development of a process to reduce noise pollution.


The acoustic environment has an impact on our cognitive performance and subjective well-being – regardless of whether the auditory input is relevant, such as the statements of a conversation partner, or irrelevant, such as background music during concentrated tasks such as reading or working.

Supported by the HEAD-Genuit-Stiftung and headed by Professor Sabine Schlittmeier, the newly established endowed RWTH Chair of Psychology with a Focus on Auditory Cognition investigates how certain cognitive processes and performance depend on how the information to be processed is heard.

Schlittmeyer’s research focuses on cognitive-psychological modelling as well as application-related questions of cognitive ergonomics, such as the optimization of assistance systems, human-computer interaction, or virtual reality (VR) applications. Regarding irrelevant background sounds, Schlittmeyer and her team are interested in identifying the sound characteristics of disturbance effects on certain cognitive performances and in modelling the identified effect patterns.

The endowed chair is intended to complement the University's portfolio in the area of environmental competence and serve as an interdisciplinary interface between psychology, technology, and the environment. It will receive a total of 1.25 million euros in funding over a period of five years.

In 1986, RWTH alumnus Klaus Genuit founded HEAD acoustics GmbH, one of the world’s leading companies for integrated acoustics solutions as well as sound and vibration analysis. Today, the company has over 350 employees and a turnover of over 50 million euros. The HEAD-Genuit-Stiftung was established in 2008 with the aim of supporting projects that seek to reduce the increasing ambient noise of our modern world or to develop new approaches in the field of pain therapy.


Rector Ulrich Rüdiger (6.f.l.) and Dean Christine Roll (4.f.l.) welcomed Brigitte Schulte-Fortkamp, Iring Koch, André Fiebig, Michael Vorländer, Klaus Genuit and Sabine Schlittmeier (left to right) to a constitutive session of the advisory council of the newly established endowed Chair of Psychology with a Focus on Auditory Cognition.

Source: Press and Communications