Time: January 8, 2014, 15:00–17:00
Place: G-salen, Arrheniuslaboratorierna, Frescati (C5)

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Speech production is a highly complex sensorimotor task involving tightly coordinated processing in the frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes of the cerebral cortex. To better understand these processes, our laboratory has designed, experimentally tested, and iteratively refined a neural network model whose components correspond to the brain regions involved in speech. Babbling and imitation phases are used to train neural mappings between phonological, articulatory, auditory, and somatosensory representations. After the imitation phase, the model can produce learned phonemes and syllables by generating movements of an articulatory synthesizer. Because the model’s components correspond to neural populations and are given precise anatomical locations, activity in the model’s neurons can be compared directly to neuroimaging data. Computer simulations of the model account for a wide range of experimental findings, including data on acquisition of speaking skills, articulatory kinematics, and brain activity during normal and perturbed speech. Furthermore, “damaged” versions of the model are being used to investigate several communication disorders, including stuttering, apraxia of speech, and spasmodic dysphonia. The model has also been used to guide development of a brain-computer interface aimed at restoring speech output to an individual suffering from locked-in syndrome, characterized by complete paralysis with intact sensation and cognition.

Professor Frank H Guenther, Boston University

A reception in honor of professor Guenther will follow the lecture



This Honorary Lecture is arranged by the Department of Linguistics in collaboration with the Nobel Institute for Neurophysiology and the Department of Clinical Science at Karolinska Institute