The Department of Neuroscience
The Department of Neuroscience

The Department of Neuroscience

 

 

 

The Department of Neuroscience

The neuroscience department works primarily on the neurobiological foundations of speech perception, language processing, auditory cognition, and music, including the dimensions of aesthetic experience. The main methods employed include electrophysiological recordings using magnetoencephalography (MEG), electroencephalography (EEG), and electrocorticography (ECoG), as well as imaging studies using structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Our neuroscience-focused studies typically include a wide range of behavioral and psychophysical approaches, as well. In general, the approach is one of “methodological pluralism” – that is to say, we use the methodology is most suited to address a given question. The research questions are motivated by issues arising from neurobiology, psychology, and theoretical, computational, and psycholinguistics.  more...

NEWS + EVENTS

Soccer in the brain

What happens in the brain of a soccer player as he listens to a whistle or touches a football?  The Max-Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, the Senckenberg museum and the Hertie Foundation analyse questions like these in a joint project. Soccer legend Charly Körbel took part in magnetoencephalography (MEG) tests on May 28. As a highlight of the cooperation, a 50x magnification of Körbel‘s „walk-in brain“ will be shown at the Senckenberg Museum later.

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YOUTUBE

Neural Oscillations in Speech and Language Processing | Berlin, 28-31 May 2017

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 joined leading researchers from the speech and language fields with eminent systems neuroscientists from the field of neural oscillations.

For more Information please visit ae.mpg.de/NO17

Our Research Areas

Foundations of speech perception and language comprehension

What neuronal and cognitive representations and computations form the basis for the transformation from “vibrations in the ear” (sounds) to “abstractions in the head” (words)? Successful communication using spoken language requires a speech processing system that can negotiate between the demands of auditory perception and motor outputs, on the one hand, and the representational and computational requirements of the language system, on the other.

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The temporal structure of perceptual experience

The perception of dynamically changing signals, the very basis of listening to language or music, or seeing naturalistic visual scenes, requires an analysis of the temporal information that forms (part of) the basis of such signals. What are the temporal primitives that underlie their perceptual analysis? How is incoming information temporally “sampled”? What type of temporal information is necessary to experience, say, rhythm, or syllable duration, or temporal intervals, or change in a sequence?

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Behavioral and neural foundations of aesthetic experience

This research area takes a neurobiological view of "the aesthetic granularity problem.” What are the "atoms of aesthetic experience," as viewed from human neuroscience? Experiencing a single musical note or one word is arguably too small a unit of analysis; experiencing an entire symphony or whole novel is arguably too big. What constitutes an "aesthetic primitive," from a brain’s-eye-view?

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Neural oscillations in auditory cognition, music, speech, and language

Neuronal oscillations are believed to play a role in various perceptual and cognitive tasks, including attention, navigation, memory, motor planning, and - most relevant in the context of the present work - spoken-language comprehension. The specific computational functions of neuronal oscillations are uncertain. We aim to elucidate how these ubiquitous neurophysiological attributes may underpin speech, language, and music processing.

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Predictive coding in perception and cognition

Many recent theories of perception and cognition suggest that the brain uses internal models of the world to predict forthcoming events. There exists compelling evidence from a wide range of studies that prediction occurs during language comprehension and listening to music, as well. A successful system of this type needs to predict the content of future events (‘what’) but also event timing (‘when’).

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Director

Prof. David Poeppel PhD

Neurosciences

Director

+49 69 8300479-301

E-Mail

Assistants

Anja Tydecks

Neurosciences

Assistant

+49 69 8300479-302

E-Mail

Cordula Ullah

Neurosciences

Assistant

+49 69 8300479-301

E-Mail

New Publications

Tian, X., Ding, N., Teng, X., Bai, F.  and Poeppel, D. Imagined speech influences perceived loudness of sound, Nature Human Behaviour Volume 2, pages225–234 (2018)

Assaneo, M.F. and Poeppel, D., The coupling between auditory and motor cortices is rate-restricted: Evidence for an intrinsic speech-motor rhythm, Sci Adv 4 (2), eaao3842. 

Teng, Tian, Doelling & Poeppel, Theta band oscillations reflect more than entrainment: behavioral and neural evidence demonstrate an active chunking process, European Journal of Neuroscience

Belfi, A.M., Vessel, E.A., Starr, G.G. Individual Ratings of Vividness Predict Aesthetic Appeal in Poetry. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts. Advance online publication