Monday, June 27, 2011

Research Assistant/ Laboratory Manager Position, Turkeltaub Lab, Department of Neurology, Georgetown University

Peter Turkeltaub, a cognitive neurologist at Georgetown University, is building a new lab to study language and other cognitive faculties in normal subjects and individuals with developmental and acquired language disorders. While much of the work addresses basic cognitive neuroscience questions, a key aim of the laboratory is to develop new treatments for language disorders and translate these treatments to the bedside. A variety of techniques are employed in the research, including behavioral studies, lesion analysis, TMS, tDCS, EEG/ERP, fMRI, and neuroimaging meta-analysis.

We are seeking a full-time Research Assistant/Lab Manager to help build and run the lab. The successful candidate will be involved in a variety of projects using a range of techniques. S/he will have the opportunity to design experiments, run experiments on different subject groups, perform statistical analyses, write papers, and help prepare and manage grants and IRB protocols. If interested, the successful candidate will also have the opportunity to shadow Dr. Turkeltaub in the clinic. This is a unique opportunity to work closely with the PI to design, build, and operate a productive multi-modality lab.

Minimum requirements for the position include a Bachelor's degree, and 1 year of research experience in cognitive psychology, neuroscience or related field. Prior experience with TMS, EEG/ERP, or fMRI is highly desirable. Individuals with programming experience, working knowledge of Linux, Matlab, EPrime, or R will be given preference. The candidate must be personable, responsible, reliable, self-motivated, organized, and efficient.

To allow for sufficient time to learn new skills and to be productive, candidates must be available to work until Summer 2013, ideally 2014. Interested candidates should email a CV, writing sample, and contact information for 3 references to Dr. Turkeltaub at

Georgetown University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Research Associate position - University College London (UCL)

University College London (UCL)

Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) Research Centre

Applications are invited for a research associate position at UCL to work with Dr. Mairéad MacSweeney and Prof. Bencie Woll. The aim of the research project is to explore language lateralisation in people who are born profoundly deaf using functional Transcranial Doppler sonography (fTCD). Training in fTCD (see: ) and British Sign Language will be provided.

This position is funded by an ESRC grant to the Deafness, Cognition and Language (DCAL) research centre. The post-holder will be based at both DCAL and the UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience .

This post is offered initially for 24 months from 1st October 2011, or as soon as possible thereafter.

Salary range: £31,905 - £38,594 per annum, inclusive of London Allowance.

For further details about the vacancy and how to apply on line please follow this link:

For informal queries, please contact Dr. Mairéad MacSweeney: or telephone: +44 (0) 20 7679 1157.

Closing Date: 15/07/2011 by 5.00pm

Interview Date: 04/08/2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

NLC 2011 - Abstract submission deadline extended and other news

Due to some problems people have had with the abstract submission system, we have decided to extend the NLC abstract submission deadline to *June 25th*. Spread the word!

The debate throwdown and keynote speakers have been set! (titles tentative)

Debate #1: Bilateral or left dominant? Anterior or Posterior? What is the cortical organization of speech perception?
David Poeppel (NYU) vs. Sophie Scott (UCL)

Debate #2: Are conceptual systems "embodied" in motor and sensory system?
Alfonso Caramazza (Harvard) vs. Friedemann Pulvermuller (MRC Cambridge)

Keynote #1: The primary auditory system
Troy Hackett, Vanderbilt University

Keynote #2: The structure and function of Broca's area
Katrin Amunts, RWTH Aachen University and Institute of Medicine, Research Center Juelich

Monday, June 13, 2011

Three days left to submit for NLC 2011!

We would hereby like to remind you that abstract submission for the Neurobiology of Language Conference closes on *June 15th 2011*. You can still submit your abstract here:

Also, if you haven't yet done so, please register as a reviewer in order to help the conference maintain its high quality standard. Please register here:

Finally, be sure to book your room at the Westin! You can now book your room here: (if clicking doesn't work, please copy and paste the link). We secured a special group rate of $139, which is also valid three days pre- and postconference. Room sharing is also possible.

See you in Annapolis!

On behalf of the board of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language,

Laura Menenti

Friday, June 10, 2011

Movement goals and feedback control in speech production

I just finished reading an excellent review article by Joseph Perkell, titled Movement goals and feedback and feedforward control mechanisms in speech production. If you want a nice survey of behavioral speech production research from the motor control perspective (as opposed to the psycholinguistic perspective), this should definitely be on your reading list.

In the review, Perkell argues a few different points. One is that the goals, or targets, of speech production are sensory. I agree completely. Another is that there are two kinds of sensory targets, auditory and somatosensory. Again, I agree completely. He makes some interesting observations regarding differences between vowels and consonants, suggesting that the targets for vowels are predominantly auditory whereas the targets for most consonants are largely somatosensory. I kind of agree with this one. An alternative way of stating this generalization might be that the auditory system is more interested in syllables, vowels being syllabic units all on their own, and the somato system is more interested in sub-syllabic units, i.e., consonants, particularly stops. I'm working on a version of this general idea in a forthcoming pub. Stay tuned...

Related to the auditory goal point, Perkell reviews an interesting body of data suggesting that one's auditory acuity for a particular phonemic contrast is correlated with the sharpness of one's own articulation for that contrast. Cool stuff.

Here's the one thing I disagree with in the whole paper. Perkell writes, "it is widely believed that once speech is acquired and has matured, it operates almost entirely under feedforward control". This is an assumption of the DIVA model promoted by the Guenther/Perkell group. I like the DIVA model, but I think it is wrong in this (and a couple other) respects. The idea of feedforward control is that the system learns, via overt feedback and correction mechanisms, the motor routines necessary for hitting sensory targets. Once learned, speech production involves activating these motor programs. If something goes wrong, the only way to catch it is via overt feedback. In other words, there is no internal forward prediction/correction mechanism.

There is a simple argument against this position: conduction aphasia. Conduction aphasics have nothing wrong with their auditory targets. They have normal speech perception and can readily detect errors in their own speech. They do not have a motor articulatory problem either. Much of their speech is fluent and accurate. However, they make phonemic errors more often than control subjects do. A natural explanation of this is that conduction aphasics have a damaged internal correction mechanism (Hickok et al. 2011). They can activate the learned motor programs, they can activate the auditory targets, but if something goes wrong in the motor programming, they can't generate an internal forward prediction and correct the error before it is spoken, thus their speech error rate goes up relative to individuals with an intact system. This is one aspect of the DIVA model that needs to be updated.

Perkell, J. (2010). Movement goals and feedback and feedforward control mechanisms in speech production Journal of Neurolinguistics DOI: 10.1016/j.jneuroling.2010.02.011

Hickok G, Houde J, & Rong F (2011). Sensorimotor integration in speech processing: computational basis and neural organization. Neuron, 69 (3), 407-22 PMID: 21315253

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Postdoctoral Position at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Harvard Medical School.

START DATE: Summer 2011.

The NeuroCognition Lab at the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging is offering a two-year NIMH-funded postdoctoral position in Multimodal Neuroimaging.The position involves working on an exciting multimodal imaging project that examines the neural dynamics of semantic processing in healthy individuals and in patients with schizophrenia, using fMRI MEG and ERPs. Close collaborators include Drs. Gina Kuperberg, Ellen Lau and Matti Hamalainen.

A Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience, psychology, or related fields is required. The successful candidate should have very strong technical and programming skills (familiarity with UNIX/LINUX operating systems, and statistical and analytic software MATLAB, SPSS, etc), and hands-on experience with collecting, analyzing and interpreting fMRI data. He/she should also be interested in learning how fMRI methods can be integrated with EEG and MEG methods. Experience in the research areas of language processing, semantic and episodic memory, executive function and/or the cognitive neuroscience of schizophrenia are desirable but not required.

Candidates will have access to the state-of-the-art multimodal brain imaging facilities at the Martinos Center (see and will have an exciting opportunity for training in multiple neuroimaging techniques, as well as how to apply basic cognitive neuroscience methods to asking important questions in patient populations. For more information about our lab see,

Massachusetts General Hospital is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer. Full-time employees receive full benefits.

Please send

(1) a curriculum vitae

(2) a cover letter and statement of research experience, achievements and interests

(3) pdfs of papers published or submitted

to: Gina Kuperberg, M.D., Ph.D. by e-mail: or FAX: 617 812 4799

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Action Research

Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Cognition and Action Research

An NIH-funded post-doctoral position is available starting fall or winter 2011-2012 in the Cognition and Action Laboratory directed by Dr. Laurel Buxbaum at Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI). The postdoctoral fellow will conduct experimental work in the domain of embodied cognition, focusing on the relationships between action representations and object representations using behavioral, TMS, and tDCS experiments with stroke, corticobasal degeneration, and healthy populations, and will incorporate state of the art voxel-based lesion mapping methods.

MRRI is a vibrant collaborative research community focusing on cognitive neuroscience and cognitive rehabilitation. In addition to primary research with Dr. Buxbaum, the post provides opportunities to collaborate with other investigators at MRRI and the University of Pennsylvania including Drs. Myrna Schwartz, Branch Coslett, and others.

The successful candidate will have a doctorate in cognitive psychology, cognitive neuroscience, or related field, a strong interest in cognitive neuropsychology, and be interested in developing an independent research career. Send CV, letter describing research interests and goals, and at least 2 letters of recommendation to Dr. Laurel Buxbaum at The position will remain available until filled. Albert Einstein Healthcare Network is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Post-doc CNRS- Marseille, France

Applications are invited for a post-doc position funded by an ERC Starting Grant
(European Research Council; PI: F.-Xavier Alario).

The 5-year project LIPS examines the cognitive and neural mechanisms
involved in lexical information processing, combining theoretical cognitive
psychology with chronometric measures of performance and neurophysiological
recordings (EEG, MEG and intra-cranial EEG in epileptic populations).

The ideal candidates are highly motivated and creative individuals, capable
of working independently and in groups. Previous experience with language
processing research is welcome, but not a requirement. The working language
is English. Individuals of all nationalities are encouraged to apply.

Postdoctoral position (2 to 4 years) in neurophysiological research.
The person will be responsible for conceiving and designing neurophysiological
studies (EEG, MEG and/or sEEG), conducting data analysis and leading the
write-up of scientific work. The person will have access to the imaging facilities
on site or at the nearby Timone Hospital, and to the clinical expertise of the col-
laborating research group lead by Catherine Liégeois-Chauvel (details below).
REQUIREMENTS: well established expertise with one or more of these tech-
niques and analysis methods, a solid background in cognitive neurophysiology,
published articles in international scientific journals, excellent oral and written
English skills. HELPFUL: knowledge of processing models for language or other
higher cognitive functions, R/Matlab programming.

The positions is expected to start on Sept. 1st 2011 (negotiable). Salaries are
commensurate with experience and include benefits and health insurance.
The host institution (CNRS) is the largest fundamental research organization
in Europe, covering research in all fields of knowledge. The research will take
place at the "Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive" (Marseille, France) which is
embedded in a rich neuroscientific environment, with active collaborations, both
national and international. The LPC owns several high resolution EEG systems, has ac-
cess to an MEG machine, and to a 3T fMRI scanner devoted to research only.
The partner department is the INSERM research unit Epilepsy & Cognition at
Timone Hospital, a leading laboratory in clinical and research approaches.

Inquiries can be addressed to
To apply, please send a full CV, in electronic format.