Vis­it us at CNS

UPDATE — The Vol­cano ash that Island is kind­ly sup­ply­ing might pre­vent us from get­ting to Mon­tréal. Let’s see whether we make it until the poster ses­sion starts on Sun­day. But I am slight­ly pes­simistic on that.

 

I am cur­rent­ly quite busy with fin­ish­ing off loads of old data and prepar­ing new adven­tures in audi­to­ry neu­ro­science. Stay tuned for more!

Mean­while, if you have a few-hours stop-over in Mon­tréal, Cana­da next week: Why don’t you come and find us at the Annu­al Meet­ing of the Cog­ni­tive Neu­ro­science Soci­ety.

I will present a col­lab­o­ra­tive effort with old Kon­stanz acquain­tance Dr. Nathan Weisz on brain oscil­la­to­ry mea­sures in degrad­ed speech—a field I feel very strong­ly about cur­rent­ly and which will sure­ly keep me busy for years to come:

Poster D 53 — Spec­tral fea­tures of speech dri­ve the induced EEG brain response: Para­met­ric changes in Alpha- and Theta-band pow­er

Also, our stu­dent Lars Mey­er will present a neat fMRI study we recent­ly ran on real­ly nasty (yet per­fect­ly legal) Ger­man syn­tax and how the brain deals with it under as-nasty (poor, that is) acoustics:

Poster I31When Com­plex Gram­mar Must Pass the Bot­tle­neck of Degrad­ed Acoustics: an fMRI Study.

See you in Mon­tréal!

07. April 2010 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Neuroscience, Degraded Acoustics, Editorial Notes, Events, fMRI, Linguistics, Posters, Publications | Tags: , |

New arti­cles

May I humbly point you to three new arti­cles I had the hon­our to be involved in recent­ly.

First­ly, Chris Petkov, Nikos Logo­thetis and I have put togeth­er a very broad overview over what we think is the cur­rent take on pro­cess­ing streams of voice, speech and, more gen­er­al­ly, vocal­i­sa­tion input in pri­mates. It appears in THE NEUROSCIENTIST and is aimed at (sic) neu­ro­sci­en­tists who are not in the lan­guage and audi­tion field on an every­day basis. It goes back all the way to Wer­nicke and also owes a lot to the hard work on func­tion­al and anatom­i­cal path­ways in the pri­mate brain by peo­ple like Jon Kaas, Troy Hack­ett, Josef Rauscheck­er, or Jef­frey Schmah­mann.

Sec­ond­ly, Angela Friederi­ci, Son­ja A. Kotz, Sophie Scott and myself have a new arti­cle in press in HUMAN BRAIN MAPPING where we have tried and dis­en­tan­gled the gram­mat­i­cal vio­la­tion effects in speech that Angela had observed ear­li­er in the ante­ri­or supe­ri­or tem­po­ral gyrus and the effects of speech intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty Sophie had clear­ly pin­point­ed in the sul­cus just below. When com­bin­ing these two manip­u­la­tions into one exper­i­men­tal frame­work, the results turned out sur­pris­ing­ly clear-cut! Also, an impor­tant find­ing on the side: While the acti­va­tions we observed are of course bilat­er­al, any kind of true inter­ac­tion of gram­mar and intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty were locat­ed in the left hemi­sphere (both in infe­ri­or frontal and in supe­ri­or tem­po­ral areas). Watch out here for the upcom­ing pre-print.

Final­ly, recent data by Son­ja Kotz and I have some­what scru­ti­nised the way I see the the inter­play of the ante­ri­or and pos­te­ri­or STS, as well as the IFG and, impor­tant­ly, the left angu­lar gyrus (see the fig­ure below show­ing the response behav­iour of the left angu­lar gyrus over var­i­ous lev­els of degra­da­tion as well as seman­tic expectan­cy, with pooled data from the cur­rent as well as a pre­vi­ous study in J Neu­rosci by Obleser et al., 2007). These data, on a fine-tuned cloze-prob­a­bil­i­ty manip­u­la­tion to sen­tences of vary­ing degra­da­tion are avail­able now in CEREBRAL CORTEX. Thanks for you inter­est, and let me know what you think.

 

Ref­er­ences

  • Petkov CI, Logo­thetis NK, Obleser J. Where are the human speech and voice regions, and do oth­er ani­mals have any­thing like them? Neu­ro­sci­en­tist. 2009 Oct;15(5):419–29. PMID: 19516047. [Open with Read]
  • Friederi­ci AD, Kotz SA, Scott SK, Obleser J. Dis­en­tan­gling syn­tax and intel­li­gi­bil­i­ty in audi­to­ry lan­guage com­pre­hen­sion. Hum Brain Mapp. 2010 Mar;31(3):448–57. PMID: 19718654. [Open with Read]
  • Obleser J, Kotz SA. Expectan­cy con­straints in degrad­ed speech mod­u­late the lan­guage com­pre­hen­sion net­work. Cereb Cor­tex. 2010 Mar;20(3):633–40. PMID: 19561061. [Open with Read]

22. July 2009 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Neuroscience, Degraded Acoustics, Editorial Notes, fMRI, Linguistics, Papers, Publications, Speech | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

What is it with degrad­ed speech and work­ing mem­o­ry?

Upcom­ing mon­day, I will present in-house some of my recent rumi­nat­ing on the con­cept of “ver­bal” work­ing mem­o­ry and on-line speech com­pre­hen­sion. It is an ancient issue that received some atten­tion main­ly in the 1980s, in the light of Baddeley’s great (read: testable) work­ing mem­o­ry archi­tec­ture includ­ing the now famous phono­log­i­cal store or buffer.

Now, when we turn to degrad­ed speech (or, degrad­ed hear­ing, for that mat­ter) and want to under­stand how the brain can extract mean­ing from a degrad­ed sig­nal, the debate as to whether or not this requires work­ing mem­o­ry has to be revived.

My main con­cern is that the con­cept of a phono­log­i­cal store always relies on

rep­re­sen­ta­tions […] which […] must, rather, be post-cat­e­gor­i­cal, ‘cen­tral’ rep­re­sen­ta­tions that are func­tion­al­ly remote from more periph­er­al per­cep­tu­al or motoric sys­tems.

Indeed, the use of the term phono­log­i­cal seems to have been delib­er­ate­ly adopt­ed in favor of the terms acoustic or artic­u­la­to­ry (see, e.g., Bad­de­ley, 1992) to indi­cate the abstract nature of the phono­log­i­cal store’s unit of cur­ren­cy.’’

(Jones, Hugh­es, & Mack­en, 2006, p. 266; quot­ed after the worth­while paper by Pa et al.)

But how does the hear­ing sys­tem arrive at such an abstract rep­re­sen­ta­tion when the input is com­pro­mised and less than clear?

I think it all leads to an—at least—twofold under­stand­ing of “work­ing” mem­o­ry in acoustic and speech process­es, each with its own neur­al cor­re­lates, as they sur­face in any brain imag­ing study of lis­ten­ing to (degrad­ed) speech: A pre-cat­e­gor­i­cal, sen­so­ry-based sys­tem, prob­a­bly reflect­ed by acti­va­tions of the planum tem­po­rale that can be tied to com­pen­sato­ry and effort­ful attempts to process the speech signal—and a (more clas­si­cal) post-cat­e­gor­i­cal sys­tem not access­ing acoustic detail any longer and con­nect­ing to long-term mem­o­ry rep­re­sen­ta­tions (phono­log­i­cal and lex­i­cal cat­e­gories) instead.

Stay tuned for more of this.

28. February 2009 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Neuroscience, Auditory Working Memory, Clinical relevance, Degraded Acoustics, Speech |

Obleser & Eis­ner in Trends Cogn Sci (in press) avail­able

My year in sci­ence 2008 finds a sat­is­fy­ing end­ing by see­ing the fruits of my col­league Dr. Frank Eisner’s (cur­rent­ly ICN / UCL) and my own year­long efforts online.

Our opin­ion piece on how the prob­lem of pre-lex­i­cal abstrac­tion of speech in struc­tures of the audi­to­ry cor­tex should be best approached is final­ly avail­able as a beau­ti­ful and handy pre-print from Trends in Cog­ni­tive Sci­ences.

As a goody, I quote from the con­clu­sions rather than the open­ly avail­able abstract:

Behav­iour­al inves­ti­ga­tions in speech sci­ences and com­pu­ta­tion­al mod­el­ling have led to a detailed under­stand­ing of how the speech per­cep­tion sys­tem can be con­cep­tu­alised. While this type of research can­not by itself pro­duce a neu­roanatom­i­cal mod­el of speech pro­cess­ing, it should guide neu­ro­sci­en­tif­ic inves­ti­ga­tions by pro­vid­ing a the­o­ret­i­cal frame­work.

Using the cog­ni­tive sub­trac­tion method, func­tion­al neu­roimag­ing stud­ies have broad­ly defined the neu­roanato­my of pre-lex­i­cal pro­cess­ing. Mul­ti­vari­ate neu­roimag­ing tech­niques have the poten­tial to study spec­tro-tem­po­ral encod­ing and abstrac­tion of speech in more detail, and cru­cial­ly, in a man­ner that can be relat­ed to results from oth­er fields. […] We sug­gest that the out­put of these mul­ti­vari­ate meth­ods can serve as input to cog­ni­tive mod­els of speech per­cep­tion, in par­al­lel to behav­iour-based like­li­hoods that have been used in speech sci­ence, wave­form-based like­li­hoods that can be extract­ed with auto­mat­ic speech recog­ni­tion tech­niques, or spike-tim­ing pat­terns that have been observed in ani­mal stud­ies.

The inte­gra­tion of find­ings from all of these areas, and the lat­est tech­no­log­i­cal devel­op­ments with­in each of them, can lead to a testable, neu­roanatom­i­cal mod­el of pre-lex­i­cal abstrac­tion.’

Feel free to mail me for reprints.

Ref­er­ences

  • Obleser J, Eis­ner F. Pre-lex­i­cal abstrac­tion of speech in the audi­to­ry cor­tex. Trends Cogn Sci. 2009 Jan;13(1):14–9. PMID: 19070534. [Open with Read]

16. December 2008 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Cortex, Papers, Publications | Tags: , , , , |

Why will a per­son with a right-hemi­spher­ic stroke not become apha­sic…

… if spec­tral (fine-fre­quen­cy) details of the speech sig­nal are “pre­dom­i­nant­ly tracked in the right audi­to­ry cor­tex”, Prof. Sophie Scott just right­ly asked after my talk fif­teen min­utes ago at SfN.

I am not sure what Robert Zatorre and David Poep­pel would answer, but I think that this is not an easy ques­tion and it can sure­ly not be answered based on the first exper­i­ment on spec­tral vs. tem­po­ral detail in speech that we just pub­lished.

I would argue that it is open to thor­ough test­ing how patients with left or right tem­po­ral lobe lesions would cope with removed spec­tral and tem­po­ral detail, respec­tive­ly.

I am glad that Sophie Scott some­what sug­gest­ed this, as I have been main­tain­ing for years the opin­ion that in lesioned patients, apha­sic or not, there is much to learn on fine-grad­ed, basic audi­to­ry processing—it is high­ly under­stand­able that, from a clin­i­cal point of view, patients have much more severe prob­lems in com­mu­ni­ca­tion that deserve our clin­i­cal atten­tion. Nev­er­the­less, thor­ough (behav­iour­al) test­ing of the audi­to­ry speech per­cep­tion in vol­un­teer­ing patients is a worth­while and time­ly effort.

19. November 2008 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Neuroscience, Clinical relevance, Editorial Notes, Speech |

Talk at the Soci­ety for Neu­ro­science Meet­ing, Wash­ing­ton, DC on Wednes­day

If you hap­pen to be at SfN this week, you might want to check out my short pre­sen­ta­tion on a recent study [1] we did: What do spec­tral (fre­quen­cy-domain) and tem­po­ral (time-domain) fea­tures real­ly con­tribute to speech com­pre­hen­sion process­es in the tem­po­ral lobes?

It is in the Audi­to­ry Cor­tex Ses­sion (710), tak­ing place in Room 145B. My talk is sched­uled for 0945 am.

[1] Obleser, J., Eis­ner, F., Kotz, S.A. (2008) Bilat­er­al speech com­pre­hen­sion reflects dif­fer­en­tial sen­si­tiv­i­ty to spec­tral and tem­po­ral fea­tures. Jour­nal of Neu­ro­science, 28(32):8116–8124.

Ref­er­ences

  • Obleser J, Eis­ner F, Kotz SA. Bilat­er­al speech com­pre­hen­sion reflects dif­fer­en­tial sen­si­tiv­i­ty to spec­tral and tem­po­ral fea­tures. J Neu­rosci. 2008 Aug 6;28(32):8116–23. PMID: 18685036. [Open with Read]

16. November 2008 by Jonas
Categories: Auditory Neuroscience, Auditory Speech Processing, Degraded Acoustics, Events, fMRI, Noise-Vocoded Speech, Papers, Publications | Tags: , , , , |

Kick-Off: Wel­come to the new Obleser lab weblog

Wel­come to this col­lec­tion of news, facts and mis­cel­lanea from the Jonas Obleser “Cogn­tive Neu­ro­science of Speech” head­quar­ters. Cur­rent­ly, these head­quar­ters are sit­u­at­ed with­in the fan­tas­tic sci­en­tif­ic facil­i­ties that the Max Planck Insti­tute for Human Cog­ni­tive and Brain Sci­ences Leipzig and Prof. Dr. Angela Friederi­ci pro­vide.

Our work focus­es on how the human brain analy­ses, (de–)codes and repairs incom­ing speech sig­nals. Our stud­ies are firm­ly root­ed in audi­to­ry neu­ro­science, yet also incor­po­rate par­a­digms and research ques­tions that are more lin­guis­tic or psy­cho­log­i­cal at times—in order to grasp a more com­pre­hen­sive under­stand­ing of the human brain’s amaz­ing fac­ul­ty to per­ceive and com­pre­hend speech.

We use main­ly func­tion­al MRI to study the brain lis­ten­ing to (often degrad­ed) speech, but EEG, MEG and behav­iour­al stud­ies are as well part of the arse­nal.

Thanks for drop­ping by, and stay tuned.

16. November 2008 by Jonas
Categories: Editorial Notes | Tags: |

Newer posts →