Friday, May 16, 2014

Talking Brains turns 7!

Today is the 7-year anniversary of the birth of Talking Brains.  I thought it would be fun to repost our first blog entry:


The Cortical Organization of Speech Processing

Our new article, "The Cortical Organization of Speech Processing" has recently been published in Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 8393-402(May 2007). Although it is an extension of the model we proposed in our 2000 TICS and 2004 Cognition papers, there are several new features in the current proposal. One is the claim that within the ventral stream there are parallel routes from acoustic input to lexical access. Another is that within the dorsal stream, there are also parallel circuits, one supporting auditory-motor integration at the phoneme level, and another supporting auditory-motor integration at the level of sequences of phonemes or syllables. We also suggest that the dorsal auditory-motor integration system may be fundamentally organized around the vocal tract effector system, rather than the auditory-system per se. More on these recent claims in future posts. Let us know what you think of the new paper!
I guess you *have* let us know.  That 2007 paper has done better than I could have imagined--over 1300 citations at last check according to Google Scholar.  As David pointed out to me recently, we seem to have become the establishment now, rather than the kids with the crazy ideas.  We started working together back when we were both post-docs, me at the Salk Institute and David at UCSF (we knew each other from MIT where David got his Ph.D. and I did a post-doc stint with Pinker, but didn't interact much).  We generated two empirical papers together, our only two:
  • Hickok, G., Poeppel, D., Clark, K., Buxton, R.B., Roberts, T.P.L., & Rowley, H.A. (1997). Sensory mapping in a congenitally deaf subject:  MEG and fMRI studies of cross-modal non-plasticity.  Human Brain Mapping, 5, 437-444.
  • Gage, N., Poeppel, D., Roberts, T.P.L., & Hickok, G.  (1998).  Auditory evoked M100 reflects onset acoustics of speech sounds.  Brain Research, 814, 236-239.
Then, once we felt reasonably secure in our careers having landed faculty positions (me at UCI in 1996 and David at UCSF in 1997) we quickly turned to working on theory development.  What started as a simple position piece pointing out that speech perception is more bilateral that most people appreciated (Hickok & Poeppel, rejected 1999, Neuron), morphed into the dual stream model presented in 3 installments: 2000 TICS (nearly rejected), which focused on speech perception being bilateral and task-dependent; 2004 Cognition (nearly rejected) which explicitly tied the model to dorsal and ventral streams and showed how it explained aspects of aphasia; and finally 2007, by which that time we had done enough empirical work on the dorsal stream (my Spt-related stuff) and the ventral stream (David's AST stuff) to back up the claims with hard data.  I still believe most of what we said in that 2007 paper. 
Thanks for reading and contributing to Talking Brains! 


William Matchin said...


So when does the next H&P review come out? What kinds of things would you guys add now?

David Poeppel said...

Happy Birthday, Greg :-)

Yes, I remember the early days, when we were mostly called naive, foolish, and "virtually untutored in all the relevant disciplines."

William: the next piece is in preparation - just wait, it's cool stuff :-)

Jonas said...

Congratulations indeed!
And thanks for giving us those encouraging back stories to those near-rejects!