Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

Dartmouth Events

Psychological and Brain Sciences Colloquium

David Poeppel, PhD, Max-Planck-Institute for Emperical Aesthetics and New York University

Tuesday, May 8, 2018
Moore B03
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Please join us in Moore BO3 on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at 4:30 p.m., as David Poeppel, Director, Department of Neuroscience at Max-Planck-Institute for Empirical Aesthetics and Professor, Department of Psychology and Neural Science at New York University, presents "Speech is Special and Language is Structured."

Abstract:  I discuss two studies that focus on general questions about the cognitive science and neural implementation of speech and language. I come to (currently) unpopular conclusions about both domains. Based on experiments using fMRI and exploiting the temporal statistics of speech, I argue for the existence of a speech-specific processing stage that implicates a particular neuronal substrate that has the appropriate sensitivity and selectivity for speech. Based on a set of experiments using MEG, I discuss how temporal encoding can form the basis for more abstract, structural processing. The results demonstrate that, during listening to connected speech, cortical activity of different time scales is entrained concurrently to track the time course of linguistic structures at different hierarchical levels. Critically, entrainment to hierarchical linguistic structures is dissociated from the neural encoding of acoustic cues and from processing statistical relations between words. These results demonstrate syntax-driven, internal construction of hierarchical linguistic structure via entrainment of hierarchical cortical dynamics. The conclusions — that speech is special and language structure driven — provide new neurobiological provocations to the prevailing view that speech perception is ‘mere' hearing and that language comprehension is 'mere’ statistics.

A reception will follow outside of Moore 202.

For more information, contact:
Michelle Powers

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.