68 research outputs found

    Comprehension of Morse Code Predicted by Item Recall From Short-Term Memory

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    Published online: Sep 7, 2021Purpose: Morse code as a form of communication became widely used for telegraphy, radio and maritime communication, and military operations, and remains popular with ham radio operators. Some skilled users of Morse code are able to comprehend a full sentence as they listen to it, while others must first transcribe the sentence into its written letter sequence. Morse thus provides an interesting opportunity to examine comprehension differences in the context of skilled acoustic perception. Measures of comprehension and short-term memory show a strong correlation across multiple forms of communication. This study tests whether this relationship holds for Morse and investigates its underlying basis. Our analyses examine Morse and speech immediate serial recall, focusing on established markers of echoic storage, phonological-articulatory coding, and lexicalsemantic support. We show a relationship between Morse short-term memory and Morse comprehension that is not explained by Morse perceptual fluency. In addition, we find that poorer serial recall for Morse compared to speech is primarily due to poorer item memory for Morse, indicating differences in lexical-semantic support. Interestingly, individual differences in speech item memory are also predictive of individual differences in Morse comprehension. Conclusions: We point to a psycholinguistic framework to account for these results, concluding that Morse functions like “reading for the ears” (Maier et al., 2004) and that underlying differences in the integration of phonological and lexical-semantic knowledge impact both short-term memory and comprehension. The results provide insight into individual differences in the comprehension of degraded speech and strategies that build comprehension through listening experience.This work was supported by NIMH Grant RO1-MH59256 JAF). Sara Guediche, now at BCBL, is supported by funding from European Union’s Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant agreement No-79954, the Basque Government through the Basque Excellence Research Centers 2018-2021 program, and the Spanish State Agency Severo Ochoa excellence accreditation SEV-2015-0490 (awarded to the BCBL). Thanks to Marina Kalashnikova and members of the Spoken Language Interest Group for helpful discussions. The authors thank Maryam Khatami, Jody Manners, Corrine Durisko, and Tanisha Hill-Jarrett for assisting with project. We also thank ham radio community, especially Paul Jacob

    How may the basal ganglia contribute to auditory categorization and speech perception?

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    Listeners must accomplish two complementary perceptual feats in extracting a message from speech. They must discriminate linguistically-relevant acoustic variability and generalize across irrelevant variability. Said another way, they must categorize speech. Since the mapping of acoustic variability is language-specific, these categories must be learned from experience. Thus, understanding how, in general, the auditory system acquires and represents categories can inform us about the toolbox of mechanisms available to speech perception. This perspective invites consideration of findings from cognitive neuroscience literatures outside of the speech domain as a means of constraining models of speech perception. Although neurobiological models of speech perception have mainly focused on cerebral cortex, research outside the speech domain is consistent with the possibility of significant subcortical contributions in category learning. Here, we review the functional role of one such structure, the basal ganglia. We examine research from animal electrophysiology, human neuroimaging, and behavior to consider characteristics of basal ganglia processing that may be advantageous for speech category learning. We also present emerging evidence for a direct role for basal ganglia in learning auditory categories in a complex, naturalistic task intended to model the incidental manner in which speech categories are acquired. To conclude, we highlight new research questions that arise in incorporating the broader neuroscience research literature in modeling speech perception, and suggest how understanding contributions of the basal ganglia can inform attempts to optimize training protocols for learning non-native speech categories in adulthood

    The VWFA Is the Home of Orthographic Learning When Houses Are Used as Letters

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    Learning to read specializes a portion of the left mid-fusiform cortex for printed word recognition, the putative visual word form area (VWFA). This study examined whether a VWFA specialized for English is sufficiently malleable to support learning a perceptually atypical second writing system. The study utilized an artificial orthography, HouseFont, in which house images represent English phonemes. House images elicit category-biased activation in a spatially distinct brain region, the so-called parahippocampal place area (PPA). Using house images as letters made it possible to test whether the capacity for learning a second writing system involves neural territory that supports reading in the first writing system, or neural territory tuned for the visual features of the new orthography. Twelve human adults completed two weeks of training to establish basic HouseFont reading proficiency and underwent functional neuroimaging pre and post-training. Analysis of three functionally defined regions of interest (ROIs), the VWFA, and left and right PPA, found significant pre-training versus post-training increases in response to HouseFont words only in the VWFA. Analysis of the relationship between the behavioral and neural data found that activation changes from pre-training to post-training within the VWFA predicted HouseFont reading speed. These results demonstrate that learning a new orthography utilizes neural territory previously specialized by the acquisition of a native writing system. Further, they suggest VWFA engagement is driven by orthographic functionality and not the visual characteristics of graphemes, which informs the broader debate about the nature of category-specialized areas in visual association cortex

    Subthalamic Nucleus and Sensorimotor Cortex Activity During Speech Production

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    The sensorimotor cortex is somatotopically organized to represent the vocal tract articulators such as lips, tongue, larynx, and jaw. How speech and articulatory features are encoded at the subcortical level, however, remains largely unknown. We analyzed LFP recordings from the subthalamic nucleus (STN) and simultaneous electrocorticography recordings from the sensorimotor cortex of 11 human subjects (1 female) with Parkinson´s disease during implantation of deep-brain stimulation (DBS) electrodes while they read aloud three-phoneme words. The initial phonemes involved either articulation primarily with the tongue (coronal consonants) or the lips (labial consonants). We observed significant increases in high-gamma (60?150 Hz) power in both the STN and the sensorimotor cortex that began before speech onset and persisted for the duration of speech articulation. As expected from previous reports, in the sensorimotor cortex, the primary articulators involved in the production of the initial consonants were topographically represented by high-gamma activity. We found that STN high-gamma activity also demonstrated specificity for the primary articulator, although no clear topography was observed. In general, subthalamic high-gamma activity varied along the ventral?dorsal trajectory of the electrodes, with greater high-gamma power recorded in the dorsal locations of the STN. Interestingly, the majority of significant articulator-discriminative activity in the STN occurred before that in sensorimotor cortex. These results demonstrate that articulator-specific speech information is contained within high-gamma activity of the STN, but with different spatial and temporal organization compared with similar information encoded in the sensorimotor cortex.Fil: Chrabaszcz, Anna. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Neumann, Wolf Julian. Universität zu Berlin; AlemaniaFil: Stretcu, Otilia. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Lipski, Witold J.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Dastolfo Hromack, Christina A.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Bush, Alan. University of Pittsburgh; Estados Unidos. Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas. Oficina de Coordinación Administrativa Ciudad Universitaria. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires. Universidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales. Instituto de Física de Buenos Aires; ArgentinaFil: Wang, Dengyu. Tsinghua University; China. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Crammond, Donald J.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Shaiman, Susan. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Dickey, Michael W.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Holt, Lori L.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Turner, Robert S.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Fiez, Julie A.. University of Pittsburgh; Estados UnidosFil: Richardson, R. Mark. University of Pittsburgh; Estados Unido

    Information content and reward processing in the human striatum during performance of a declarative memory task

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    Negative feedback can signal poor performance, but it also provides information that can help learners reach the goal of task mastery. The primary aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the amount of information provided by negative feedback during a paired-associate learning task influences feedback-related processing in the caudate nucleus. To do this, we manipulated the number of response options: With two options, positive and negative feedback provide equal amounts of information, whereas with four options, positive feedback provides more information than does negative feedback. We found that positive and negative feedback activated the caudate similarly when there were two response options. With four options, the caudate’s response to negative feedback was reduced. A secondary goal was to investigate the link between brain-based measures of feedback-related processing and behavioral indices of learning. Analysis of the posttest measures showed that trials with positive feedback were associated with higher posttest confidence ratings. Additionally, when positive feedback was delivered, caudate activity was greater for trials with high than with low posttest confidence. This experiment demonstrated the context sensitivity of feedback processing and provided evidence that feedback processing in the striatum can contribute to the strengthening of the representations available within declarative memory
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