About Brainglot
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Consolider CogNeuro Seminar Series
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Consolider Groups
Speech Perception, Production and Bilingualism
Cognitive Neuroscience of Auditory Perception and Attention
Group of Attention, Action and Perception
Computational and Theoretical Neuroscience
Neuropsychology and Functional Neuroimaging
Grammar and Bilingualism
 
 
 

Noticias
September 27th: Talk by Michael T. Ullman

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CogNeuro Consolider Seminar Series- Tuesday, September 27 has changed to room 52.321, where we will be able to connect with UPV by videoconference

Tuesday September 27th at 10.30 in room 52.421 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Roc Boronat).

Prof. Michael T. Ullman from theDepartments of Neuroscience Linguistics, Psychology and Neurology at Georgetown University, Washington, DC (web page)

The title of his talk is: "Brain, Memory and Second Language".

If you would like to have a chat with the speaker, you can contact the Host (Albert Costa).

Please, see below for the abstract.

Please note that you can find more information about forthcoming talks, locations, etc. on the WebPage of the CogNeuro Consolider Seminars

 

 

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Abstract:

Evidence suggests that language depends on two memory systems in the brain: declarative memory and procedural memory. Because the anatomical, physiological, molecular and genetic substrates of these two systems are well-studied in both animals and humans, one can make specific predictions about many aspects of language that one would not think to make based on the study of language alone.

I will first give some background on the two memory systems, then discuss the manner in which language is predicted to depend on them. One of the key concepts is that to some extent the two systems can underlie the same cognitive tasks (e.g., for navigation, grammar), and thus the systems play redundant roles for these functions. For example, rats and humans can navigate on the basis of landmarks (declarative memory) or dead-reckoning (procedural memory). Similarly, we can use procedural memory to combine words into sentences, following implicitly-learned rules of grammar (e.g., “John + talk + -ed + to + the + dog), or we can memorize chunks in declarative memory (e.g., “talked”, or “the dog“).

Which system is relied on more depends in part on which one is more available.  For example, sex differences are found, with females relying more on declarative memory for navigation or grammar, and males on procedural memory – probably because females tend to have an advantage over males at declarative memory. This in turn is likely because estrogen improves declarative memory, and may even suppress procedural memory. Along the same lines, children with developmental disorders such as autism that seem to involve a dysfunction of procedural memory may rely less on procedural memory and more on declarative memory, by way of compensation.

In second language a somewhat similar situation exists. During childhood learning new material in declarative memory gradually improves, while learning in procedural memory may decline (gymnasts or musicians have to start early), possibly due to increasing levels of estrogen (in both sexes, but more in females) during this period. (Learning abilities in both memory systems seem to peak in early to mid adulthood, with subsequent declines.) Therefore we predict that young adult second language learners should rely more on declarative memory and less on procedural memory than children learning first language, since declarative memory is better and procedural memory may be worse in young adults than in children. Crucially however, procedural memory still works in young adults, even if it may be somewhat attenuated as compared to children (even a 20 year old can learn to ride a bike).

Together, all of this leads to several predictions. For grammar, young adult second language learners will tend to rely more on declarative memory and less on procedural memory than native speakers of a language. However, with enough exposure to the language (perhaps of the right kind, e.g., immersion), second language learners will eventually proceduralize the grammar and thus become increasingly native-like in their underlying brain processes – contrary to strict versions of the critical period hypothesis. We will examine various types of behavioural and brain imaging evidence, which overall supports these and related predictions.

 
September 16th: Talk by Bharath Chandrasekarani

 

 

CogNeuro Consolider Seminar Series- Friday, September 16 has changed to room 52.321, where we will be able to connect with UPV by videoconference.

Friday September 16th at noon in room 52.S27 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Prof. Bharath Chandrasekarani from the University of Texas. (web page)

The title of his talk is: "Auditory midbrain plasticity to linguistic pitch patterns".

If you would like to have a chat with the speaker, you can contact the Host (Carles Escera).

Please, see below for the abstract.

  1. Files of interest for the upcoming talk (16th of September, 2011)

Please note that you can find more information about forthcoming talks, locations, etc. on the WebPage of the CogNeuro Consolider Seminars

 

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Abstract:

Auditory learning is an emergent property of a distributed network consisting of subcortical and cortical structures working in cohesion. The operational specifics of auditory learning cannot be understood by exclusively studying cortical structures. Despite tremendous progress in functional neuroimaging over the last decade, our understanding of human auditory learning is limited due to a corticulocentric bias in the field. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies on auditory learning have almost exclusively focused on the cortical structures. Yet animal models have highlighted the critical role of subcortical structures, especially the inferior colliculus (IC), a midbrain structure, in auditory learning. In humans, a significant challenge to learning a foreign language is to perceive non-native phonemes. Individual differences in phonetic learning ability have been thus far attributed to cortical circuitry. In this seminar, I will discuss a series of studies using multimodal neuroimaging methods (brainstem electrophysiology, fMRI) that demonstrate that sensory encoding in the inferior colliculus (IC) contributes significantly to individual differences in language learning success.

 
EVENT IDE WORKSHOP July 4-5 in Barcelona

 

EVENT IDE WORKSHOP July 4-5

The “EVENT IDE WORKSHOP”  will take place in Barcelona on 4th and 5th of July  2011

 

Click here for further information 

 
July 8th: Talk by Max Garagnani

 

Friday July 8th at noon in room 52.S25 at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra.

Prof. Max Garagnani from the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

The title of his talk is: "Sensorimotor circuits for language, memory and action in the human brain: a neuroanatomically grounded computational model".

If you would like to have a chat with the speaker,  you can contact the Host (Albert Costa).

Please, see below for the abstract.

 

Please note that you can find more information about forthcoming talks, locations, etc. on the WebPage of the CogNeuro Consolider Seminars 

 

 

Abstract:
 

I will present a neurocomputational model that we developed to simulate and explain, at cortical level, word learning and language processes as they are believed to occur in motor and sensory primary, secondary and higher association areas of the (inferior) frontal and (superior) temporal lobes of the human brain. Mechanisms and connectivity of the model aim to reflect, as much as possible, functional and structural features of the corresponding cortices, including well-documented (Hebbian) associative learning mechanisms of synaptic plasticity. The model was able to explain and reconcile seemingly incongruous results on neurophysiological patterns of brain responses to well-learned, familiar sensory input (words) and new, unfamiliar linguistic material (pseudowords), and made novel predictions about the complex interactions between language and attention processes in the human brain. To test the validity of these predictions we carried out a new MEG study in which we presented subjects with familiar words and matched unfamiliar pseudowords during attention demanding tasks and under distraction. The experimental results indicated strong modulatory effects of attention on the brain responses to pseudowords, but not on those to words, fully confirming the model's prediction.

In the second part I will illustrate how the same six-area network architecture, implementing the same functional features, can be used to model and explain also cortical mechanisms underlying working memory processes, in the language as well as in the visual domain. In particular, I will present new simulation results that provide a mechanistic answer to the question of why "memory cells" (neurons exhibiting persistent activity in working memory tasks that require stimulus information to be kept in mind in view of future action) are found more frequently in prefrontal cortex and higher sensory areas than in primary cortices, i.e. far away from the  sensorimotor activations that bring about their formation (a phenomenon that we refer to as "disembodiment" of memory). The results point to the intrinsic connectivity of the sensorimotor cortical structures within which the correlation learning mechanisms operate as to the main factor determining the observed topography of memory cells.

 
July 1st: Pre-Consolider Discussion: Max Garagnani

   

    Friday, June 8th, Max Garagnani will give a talk at our Consolider Seminar Series and  its fixed a pre-Consolider discussion on next Friday July 1st at noon in Rm. 55.230.

The title of his talk is: “Sensorimotor circuits for language, memory and action in the human brain: a neuroanatomically grounded computational model". 

  1.  Files of interest for the upcoming talk (8th of July, 2011) 
    

 
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