Neural Oscillations in Speech and Language Processing

International Symposium

  • Start: May 28, 2017
  • End: May 31, 2017
  • Location: Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society, Berlin, Germany
  • Host: MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Dept of Neuropsychology and MPI for Empirical Aesthetics, Dept of Neuroscience
  • Contact: alessandro.tavano@ae.mpg.de
Neural Oscillations in Speech and Language Processing
Auditory neuroscience has provided strong evidence that neural oscillations synchronize to the rhythms of speech. Higher up in the hierarchy, cycles of cortical excitation and inhibition would also reflect syntactic parsing and the processing of sentence-level semantics. This international symposium will join leading researchers from the speech and language fields with eminent systems neuroscientists from the field of neural oscillations. Through intense discussions and presentations of exciting new work, we will lay out the basis for a unified perspective on the role of neural oscillations in speech processing and language comprehension—from phonemes to grammar.

 

Audio-visual recording of presentations on the occasion of the workshop of the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics (Frankfurt) and the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences (Leipzig) in their event space in the Harnack-Haus in Berlin.

Due to space constraints, symposium attendance is largely limited to the speakers and associated laboratory members. Yet, there are some attendance spots left; to inquire on this, please send an email to .

Description

In recent years, auditory neuroscience has provided strong evidence that neural oscillations synchronize to the rhythm of speech stimuli. The idea is that temporal patterns of speech reset the phase of on-going neuronal fluctuations, facilitating speech perception. Higher up in the hierarchy, cycles of cortical excitation and inhibition would also reflect the internal processing of language features, either in a top-down or bottom-up fashion, even extending into assisting syntactic parsing and the processing of sentence-level semantics.

This international symposium will bring together world-leading researchers from the speech and language fields with most eminent systems neuroscientists from the field of neural oscillations—united in the discovery of how neural oscillations subserve cortical information processing. Through intense discussions and presentations of exciting new work, we will lay out the basis for a unified perspective on the role of neural oscillations in speech processing and language comprehension—from phonemes to grammar.

Objectives

Our symposium will bring into focus the oscillatory nature of brain processes as they assist speech and language analysis. The symposium comes at a significant instance where revolutionary insights into the neural oscillations underlying cognitive processes spread quickly across neuroscientific fields, just entering the neuroscience of speech processing and language comprehension. We will benefit the field by providing an early summary of a dynamically emerging literature, working the switches for coherent future research.

Scope

The first topic of the workshop, Experimental Work and Emerging Frameworks, will summarize the current state of the art and unearth fundamental controversial issues:

  • Beyond traditional methodology, what specific insights can neural oscillations provide to highlight fully new, potentially revolutionary aspects of the neurobiology of speech and language processing?

  • Are neural oscillations yet-another dependent measure of speech and language processing, or do they have unique explanatory value?

The second topic of the workshop, A Systems-Neuroscience Perspective, will reinforce the coherence of the emerging frameworks and probe their adequacy:

  • Are there neural oscillators specifically processing speech and language? Is such a hypothesis even plausible in the light of the highly stereotypical functionalities fulfilled by neural oscillations throughout cortical regions and network constellations?

  • Do neural time scales provide the adequate granularities to capture the extraction and hierarchical interaction of phonological, syntactic, and semantic information conveyed by natural speech? At which timescale is each hierarchical level best reflected, and which neural mechanisms are there to rapidly integrate each time scale on the fly?

Gimmicks

Selected workshop presentations will be recorded, edited and broadcast via the websites of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, and the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main.

While fostering extensive discussion also outside each speaker’s core research domain, the workshop will include a poster session to keep participants in sync with the broader data picture emerging across research laboratories and, just as important, with junior researchers.

Venue

The Neural Oscillations of Speech and Language Processing will take place from May 28–31, 2017, at the Harnack-Haus of the Max Planck Society in Berlin. Founded in 1929 and refurbished in 2000 with the goal to enable outstanding achievement through international collaboration, the Harnack-Haus provides a stimulating and relaxing working atmosphere, including on-site catering and accommodation.

Scientific Chairs

The first part, Experimental Work and Emerging Frameworks, will be chaired by Lars Meyer and Angela D. Friederici from the Department of Neuropsychology at the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, Germany. The Department of Neuropsychology has an outstanding track record in language neuroscience, including the discovery of language-related event-related brain potentials, the localization of the core language network via functional magnetic resonance imaging, and recent advances into the structural and functional connections within the language network.

The second part, A Systems-Neuroscience Perspective, will be chaired by Alessandro Tavano and David Poeppel from the Department of Neuroscience at the newly established Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Based within one of the leading families of neuroscientific research institutions (e.g., the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research; the Ernst Strüngmann Institute; the Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies), the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics pushes research boundaries by investigating the interaction of our perceptual systems with speech, literature, music, and emotions.

Speakers

Marcel Bastiaansen, PhD

NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Breda, NL and Tilburg University, NL

Dr. Nai Ding

College of Biomedical Engineering and Instrument Sciences, Zhejiang University, CN

Prof. Dr. Pascal Fries

Ernst Strüngmann Institute (ESI) for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Frankfurt, DE

Prof. Oded Ghitza, PhD

Biomedical Engineering & Hearing Research Center, Boston University, US

Prof. Anne-Lise Giraud, PhD

Department of Neuroscience, University of Geneva, CH

Prof. Dr. Joachim Gross

Institute for Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, GB

Dr. Simon Hanslmayr, PhD

School of Psychology, University of Birmingham, GB

Prof. Dr. Christoph S. Herrmann

Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, DE

Prof. Ole Jensen, PhD

Centre for Human Brain Health, University of Birmingham, GB

Prof. Christoph Kayser, PhD

Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology, University of Glasgow, GB

Prof. Nancy Kopell, PhD

Department of Mathematics & Statistics, Boston University, US

Prof. Peter Lakatos, MD, PhD

Dynamical Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, Nathan Kline Institute, Orangeburg, US

Andrea E. Martin, PhD

School of Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences, University of Edinburgh, GB & Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen, NL

Prof. Lucia Melloni, PhD

Department of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, US and Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, DE

Dr. Lars Meyer

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig, DE

Prof. Dr. Jonas Obleser

Department of Psychology, University of Lübeck, DE

Vitória Magalhães Piai, PhD

Radboud University, Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour and Radboud University Medical Center, Department of Medical Psychology, Nijmegen, NL

Dr. Alessandro Tavano

Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt, DE

Prof. Rufin VanRullen, PhD

CerCo-CNRS, Toulouse, FR

Prof. Virginie van Wassenhove, PhD

Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, CEA DRF/I2BM, INSERM, Paris-Sud University, Paris-Saclay University, NeuroSpin center, Gif/Yvette, FR

Dr. Anna Wilsch

Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, DE

Dr. Elana Zion-Golumbic

The Gonda Brain Research Center, Bar Ilan University, Ramat Gan, IL

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