My paper on brain entrainment to music is finally being published this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Our research shows that neural rhythms in the part of the brain that processes sound synchronize with rhythms in music. We find that this synchronization has processing power: it helps nonmusicians process pitch in music and it increases with years of musical training. The paper is actually garnering (a small bit of) press attention as well! Here is the press release from NYU:
an article in The New Scientist:
an article in ABC Science:
an article at HNGN:
an article at the Medical Daily:
an article at EDM.com:
And (randomly) an article in Yahoo! Finance:
Man... some of these titles are WAY better than the actual one: Cortical entrainment to music and its modulation by expertise. I need to get more punny.
Neuroscience Scholars Program Fellowship! The program is run by the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) and was designed to cultivate long-term success of underrepresented graduate and post-doc researchers through mentoring and networking. There are many benefits to the fellowship but the most exciting is that I will receive a team of mentors, one senior, one peer and one from the Diversity in Neuroscience subcommittee to discuss my research as well as my long-term goals. I am very excited to go to SfN this year and meet the other fellows and become a part of the NSP community!
Entrainment of Brain Oscillations conference in Delmenhorst, Germany at the Hanse-Wissenschaftskolleg! The two-day conference lasts from September 17-18 and was started to allow young researchers who work on neural oscillations to discuss their work and foster collaboration across the globe. The conference will also host a workshop on MEG/EEG analytical tools led by Dr. Joachim Gross the day before. At the conference, I will discuss my work on entrainment in the auditory cortex to both speech and music and its role in affecting behavior. I'm very much looking forward to meeting other young researchers and discussing both methodological and theoretical ideas for studying these processes while learning more about how oscillations are discussed in other cognitive fields. I'm excited to have been selected to be a part of this conference and am so grateful to the PhD candidates at the University of Oldenburg who have organized this great event!
CNS 2015. While I wasn't presenting this time I around, I was happy to discuss my new paper (under review at JoN) and see all of the exciting new work that presented in talks, mini-symposia and posters throughout the conference. It was great to talk to my lab mates outside of the lab and hear about their new ideas.
Of particular highlight was the Neural Bases of Speech Production Satellite Symposium to where a number of interesting talks were given on the role of sensory feedback in error monitoring in speech control as well as automatic responses to altered pitch feedback. One particularly interesting talk was presented by Carrie Niziolek. She showed findings that suggest that efferent copies (the signal sent from motor to sensory areas predicting sensory consequences of motor movement) do not represent acoustic variability associated with slightly different motor movements but rather reflect the most ideal goal or template sound. Further, she showed that the content that is represented is dependent on the speaker intent: if I'm more focused on the pitch of my utterance then the copy will contain pitch related predictions rather than the vowel space. Her findings were particularly interesting to me as it makes predictions as to what type of information can be communicated from motor to auditory areas. The idea that you send an ideal template of the sensory prediction rather than specific acoustic differences would lend itself to the idea that motor system could be useful to generate predictions of sounds generated of other speakers. I'm working now on some ideas that could get at this relationship.
David Poeppel, my advisor, gave a great talk at a mini-symposium in the conference called "What can be, or should be, the relationship between language and neuroscience?" David pushed the audience to move beyond the typical correlations between behavior and brain area X, which, though useful, is merely descriptive. The focus should be on mapping the primitives of linguistics (syllables, morphemes, etc.) to the primitives of neuroscience (neuron, dendrites, populations, etc.) by fractionating them into more basic functions that can apply to both. One example relates to my work on neural oscillations, which could provide a function of segmenting words into syllables using the individual cycles.
Beyond the conference, San Francisco was beautiful and the weather phenomenal. I'm sad to leave but happy to be back with a bag of new ideas and a new burst of energy to try out some new experiments.
Check it out! I made a website! I'll be adding new information here, regarding new awards, publications and grants. Stay tuned!
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