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Poeppel D.,New York University | Poeppel D.,Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
Current Opinion in Neurobiology | Year: 2014

New tools and new ideas have changed how we think about the neurobiological foundations of speech and language processing. This perspective focuses on two areas of progress. First, focusing on spatial organization in the human brain, the revised functional anatomy for speech and language is discussed. The complexity of the network organization undermines the well-regarded classical model and suggests looking for more granular computational primitives, motivated both by linguistic theory and neural circuitry. Second, focusing on recent work on temporal organization, a potential role of cortical oscillations for speech processing is outlined. Such an implementational-level mechanism suggests one way to deal with the computational challenge of segmenting natural speech. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Pfordresher P.Q.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Larrouy-Maestri P.,State University of New York at Buffalo | Larrouy-Maestri P.,University of Liege | Larrouy-Maestri P.,Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience | Year: 2015

In recent years there has been a remarkable increase in research focusing on deficits of pitch production in singing. A critical concern has been the identification of “poor pitch singers,” which we refer to more generally as individuals having a “vocal pitch imitation deficit.” The present paper includes a critical assessment of the assumption that vocal pitch imitation abilities can be treated as a dichotomy. Though this practice may be useful for data analysis and may be necessary within educational practice, we argue that this approach is complicated by a series of problems. Moreover, we argue that a more informative (and less problematic) approach comes from analyzing vocal pitch imitation abilities on a continuum, referred to as effect magnitude regression, and offer examples concerning how researchers may analyze data using this approach. We also argue that the understanding of this deficit may be better served by focusing on the effects of experimental manipulations on different individuals, rather than attempt to treat values of individual measures, and isolated tasks, as absolute measures of ability. © 2015 Pfordresher and Larrouy-Maestri. Source

Omigie D.,Lille University of Science and Technology | Omigie D.,University Pierre and Marie Curie | Omigie D.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Omigie D.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | And 2 more authors.
Neuropsychology Review | Year: 2014

The current review examines the possibility that training-related changes that take place in the brains of musicians may have a beneficial effect on their cognitive outcome and recovery following neurological damage. First, we propose three different mechanisms by which training-related brain changes might result in relatively preserved function in musicians as compared to non-musicians with cerebral lesions. Next, we review the neuropsychological literature examining musical ability in professional musicians following brain damage, specifically of vascular, tumoral and epileptic aetiology. Finally, given that assessment of musician patients can greatly inform our understanding of the influence of premorbid experience on postmorbid recovery, we suggest some basic guidelines for the future evaluation of relevant patients. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Source

Overath T.,Duke University | Overath T.,New York University | McDermott J.H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology | Zarate J.M.,New York University | And 2 more authors.
Nature Neuroscience | Year: 2015

Speech contains temporal structure that the brain must analyze to enable linguistic processing. To investigate the neural basis of this analysis, we used sound quilts, stimuli constructed by shuffling segments of a natural sound, approximately preserving its properties on short timescales while disrupting them on longer scales. We generated quilts from foreign speech to eliminate language cues and manipulated the extent of natural acoustic structure by varying the segment length. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we identified bilateral regions of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) whose responses varied with segment length. This effect was absent in primary auditory cortex and did not occur for quilts made from other natural sounds or acoustically matched synthetic sounds, suggesting tuning to speech-specific spectrotemporal structure. When examined parametrically, the STS response increased with segment length up to â 1/4500 ms. Our results identify a locus of speech analysis in human auditory cortex that is distinct from lexical, semantic or syntactic processes. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. Source

Powell D.J.H.,Aberdeen Group | Powell D.J.H.,University of Southampton | Moss-Morris R.,University of Southampton | Moss-Morris R.,Kings College London | And 3 more authors.
Psychoneuroendocrinology | Year: 2015

Cortisol is a key regulator of the immune system, energy metabolism, and stress, yet its relevance to fatigue experienced by people with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) remains uncertain. We examined cortisol secretory activity in RRMS and its association with fatigue severity between-individuals and within-individuals (day-to-day) using a case-control ecological momentary assessment design. While undergoing usual daily routines, 38 people with RRMS and 38 healthy control participants provided saliva samples at strategic time-points over 4 consecutive weekdays to measure the cortisol awakening response (CAR; 0, 30, and 45. min after awakening) and the diurnal cortisol slope (DCS; 6 quasi-random samples provided between 1000. h and 2000. h). Recalled fatigue was measured at baseline, and daily fatigue was measured as the mean average of momentary fatigue ratings provided alongside each DCS sample. Multilevel modeling found CAR output was greater in RRMS than controls, and recalled fatigue in RRMS was associated with both lower waking cortisol level and larger awakening response. Day-to-day, the CAR was not associated with same-day fatigue levels in RRMS. Cortisol appears to have a role in fatigue experienced in RRMS, but whether it is a causal factor remains unclear. © 2015 The Authors. Source

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