Saturday, June 29, 2013

Visual speech input drives auditory cortex

We kind of already knew this.  For example, early imaging work by Calvert and Co. showed that portions of auditory cortex activate during lip reading and electromagnetic recordings by van Wassenhove et al. showed that adding visual speech information to an auditory speech signal speeds up the N1 component of the cortical response to speech sounds.  But there was still a little wiggle room in explaining these effects.  Yes, lip reading activates auditory cortex but maybe this is just auditory imagery and with group averaged activations how do you know where you are exactly?  And yes, the N1 is an early component but it likely reflects activity in a range of auditory regions, perhaps even including STS, so how early is it in terms of the cortical processing hierarchy?

So we (Okada et al.) decided to try to nail this issue down with the following fMRI experiment: we localized auditory cortex in two different ways in individual subjects, using an AM noise localizer scan and using an anatomically defined mask covering Heschl's gyrus.  We then measured the activity in the ROIs (left and right hemis) while listening to auditory speech only and while listening to auditory+visual speech. We found that the addition of the visual speech signal significantly up-regulated the activity of auditory cortex compared to auditory speech alone.

It's confirmed then: visual speech information drives auditory processing at the first stages of the cortical processing hierarchy.

Calvert, G. A., Bullmore, E. T., Brammer, M. J., Campbell, R., Williams, S. C. R., McGuire, P. K., Woodruff, P. W. R., Iversen, S. D., & David, A. S. (1997). Activation of auditory cortex during silent lipreading. Science, 276, 593-596.

van Wassenhove, V., Grant, K. W., & Poeppel, D. (2005). Visual speech speeds up the neural processing of auditory speech. Procedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 102, 1181-1186.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Postdoctoral positions in cognitive neuroscience and neurorehabilitation

Three year NIH-funded fellowships are available at the Moss Rehabilitation Research Institute (MRRI), in collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania (Penn), for research training in cognitive and motor neuroscience and neurorehabilitation. This program is designed to prepare young investigators to adapt emerging theoretical advances to the development of rehabilitation treatments. Available mentors conduct patient-oriented research using approaches that utilize behavioral, computational, imaging, electrophysiologic, and electrical and pharmacologic neuromodulation methods. We welcome applications from individuals with a doctorate in psychology, cognitive science, communication science, kinesiology, movement science, or human neuroscience, who wish to learn to apply basic science principles to the study and treatment of behavioral and brain deficits in adult neurological patients. Applicants must have a track record in research and an interest in developing an independent research career. More details, including a list of available mentors, are available at:

Applications should be submitted to Kevin Whelihan, Research Administrator, ( ) and must include:
- a current CV
- a cover letter describing research interests and career goals. Given the translational focus of the training program, applicants should indicate a preferred primary mentor and, if possible, one or more secondary mentors who appear to offer the best fit in balancing basic and applied aspects of the candidate’s interests.

- 2-3 letters of reference

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Lab Manager/RA position at Arizona State University - Rogalsky lab

A research assistant/lab manager position will soon be available in the
newly formed Communication Neuroimaging and Neuroscience Laboratory (CoNi
Lab) at Arizona State University, directed by Dr. Corianne Rogalsky. This
position is an exciting opportunity to be an integral part of a new
research lab. Our research will be devoted to the cognitive neuroscience
of language and music in the healthy and damaged brain, using techniques
including fMRI, DTI, neuropsychological testing, and high-resolution
lesion mapping.

Responsibilities will include administrative management of the lab,
behavioral and fMRI data collection, contacting and scheduling research
participants, managing institutional review board (IRB) protocols, and
data scoring and analysis. There will be ample opportunities to be heavily
involved in fMRI and behavioral experiment design/programming, fMRI and
DTI analyses, and lesion-symptom mapping analyses. Responsibilities will
also initially include setting up computers, equipment, and procedures in
the new lab. This requires an applicant with strong initiative to problem
solve, be self-sufficient, and efficiently multitask.

Requirements include spoken and written proficiency in English, a minimum
of a bachelor-level degree (e.g., BA or BS), preferably in psychology,
neuroscience, computer science, or a related field, and willingness to
make a 2-year commitment. Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to
effectively recruit and work with participants (including special
populations), and other members of the lab are essential. Preference will
be given to applicants who also are proficient with the linux computing
environment, are familiar with Matlab, and/or have experience with
neuroimaging analysis software such as AFNI or FSL.

The CoNi Lab is situated in the Department of Speech and Hearing Science
at ASU.  ASU is located in Tempe, Arizona, in the metropolitan Phoenix
area, which has a thriving neuroscience and neuroimaging community
including the Mayo Clinic, Barrow Neurological Institute, and the brand
new Imaging Center at Banner Alzheimer's Institute. Tempe features 330
days of sunshine a year.

Applications will be reviewed as they are received. The preferred start
date is September 1st, but later start dates will also be considered.  If
interested, please email a cover letter (including a description of
research interests, qualifications, future goals, and available start
date), a CV, and contact information for two references to Arizona State University is an equal

opportunity employer.