Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tenure-track Assistant Professor with Neuroscience/Neuroimaging Emphasis Department of Psychological Sciences, Purdue University

Tenure-track Assistant Professor with Neuroscience/Neuroimaging Emphasis Department of Psychological Sciences
College of Health and Human Sciences
Purdue University 

The Department of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University invites applications for a tenure-track position beginning in the Fall of 2018. The position is at the Assistant Professor rank, although the search committee will consider both newly graduating PhDs as well as current Assistant Professors.

We are interested principally in candidates who can contribute neuroscience expertise to more than one of the 6 graduate training areas that make up Psychological Sciences at Purdue: Behavioral Neuroscience, Clinical Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Industrial/ Organizational Psychology, Mathematical and Computational Cognitive Science, and Social Psychology. Particularly welcome is research that bridges these graduate training areas using neuroimaging, and complements the growing neuroscience strengths among our faculty, with broad innovative and integrative themes (e.g., social, cognitive, affective, or clinical neuroscience). The successful candidate should have a PhD degree in Psychology or related Neuroscience field, a strong publication record, a research program with likelihood of external funding, and a record of teaching and mentoring excellence. Responsibilities will include maintaining a productive research program, directing graduate student research, and teaching undergraduate and graduate courses. 

The Purdue MRI facility is home to 3 on-campus MRI scanners, including a new 3T Siemens MAGNETOM Prisma scanner dedicated to meeting the needs of neuroscience and psychological science research on campus. This scanner is used amongst others for longitudinal studies, studies benefitting from the existing high gradient system or the 64- channel head coil for ultra-fast and high-resolution imaging, or for studies benefitting from the synchronized physiological monitoring and triggering for fMRI. An MRI Physicist is available to help with protocol development and optimization, and a part-time MR Technologist is available to help with professional data acquisition.

Purdue also recently inaugurated the Purdue Institute for Integrative Neuroscience (PIIN;, which includes faculty spanning 25 departments across six colleges. PIIN serves as an umbrella for research centers such as the Center for Research on Brain, Behavior, and NeuroRehabilitation (CEREBBRAL;, a center started within the College of Health and Human Sciences as an Area of Research Excellence, to answer questions about how to improve quality of life, not just extend it, and how to predict disease- and aging-related declines in highly variable populations.

Application review will begin October 1, 2017, but applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please send a cover letter, curriculum vitae, up to 4 papers, and research and teaching statements in PDF format via email to In addition, please arrange to have at least 3 letters of reference forwarded to the same email address. Purdue’s Department of Psychological Sciences is committed to advancing diversity in all areas of faculty effort, including scholarship, instruction, and engagement. Please address at least one of these areas in your cover letter, indicating your past experiences, current interests or activities, and/or future goals to promote a climate that values diversity and inclusion. A background check will be required for employment in this position. Questions regarding the position may be sent to Dr. Sebastien Helie, Chair of the Search Committee ( Purdue University is an EOE/AA employer. All individuals, including minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"la Caixa" Foundation postdoctoral fellowships programme

”la Caixa” Foundation is launching a postdoctoral fellowships programme.

There are people who, thanks to their hard work and dedication, are destined to achieve great things in life. People like you that place all your talent at the service of others every day and are a great inspiration to society.
Now, so that you can reach your full potential and acquire the training that will position you as a leader, the ”la Caixa” Foundation Junior Leader fellowships programme has been created.

30 postdoctoral fellowships at Universities and Research Centres of Spain:
  •  Junior Leader Incoming: 20 postdoctoral fellowships for researchers of all nationalities that must not have resided or carried out their main activity in Spain for more than 12 months in the last 3 years to conduct a research project at accredited centres with the Severo Ochoa or María de Maeztu distinction of excellence.
  •  Junior Leader Retaining: 10 postdoctoral fellowships for researchers of all nationalities that must have resided or carried out their main activity in Spain for more than 12 months in the last 3 years to carry out research at any university or research centre in Spain.
A new programme to promote research and knowledge in Spain, so that you can continue to advance and improve the outlook of future generations.

BCBL – Basque Center on Cognition, Brain and Language is a "Severo Ochoa" Centre dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in research, training and knowledge transfer within the area of the Cognitive Neuroscience of Language and is a potential Host Institution for this call. 

For further information:

Friday, August 25, 2017

Senior Research Associate job, Univ of East Anglia

Senior Research Associate

University of East Anglia - School of Psychology - Faculty of Social Sciences

Senior Research Associate (Fixed Term) (RA1434)
The University of East Anglia has some of the most innovative and highly regarded centres for research in the UK. Applications are invited for the post of Senior Research Associate in the School of Psychology. The aim of the project is to understand the influence of early sensory experience on the organisation of cognitive processes in the human brain. To this aim, the project will investigate cortical plasticity as a consequence of early or congenital deafness using functional neuroimaging techniques
The successful applicant will be involved in the design and implementation of fMRI studies, data acquisition and analysis, preparation of results for publication, and preparation of data for preservation and sharing. They will be supported at all times to further develop their career and skills, encouraging them to take the initiative in development of research projects, present results to specialist and non-specialist audiences, and acquire new research-related and transferable skills, such as the knowledge of British Sign Language.
Applicants should hold or expect shortly to hold a PhD in Neuroscience, Psychology, Biomedicine, Computer Science or a related discipline or equivalent qualification and be able to satisfy all the essential criteria outlined in the person specification.
The post is available from 1 November 2017 or as soon as possible thereafter on a full-time, fixed term contract to 31 July 2020.
The post is subject to a criminal records check at enhanced level from the Disclosure and Barring Service.
The University is a Bronze Athena Swan Award holder, currently working towards Silver.

Bilingual Matters conference on multilingualism, UC Riverside

On October 5, 2017,  the University of California, Riverside, will launch a new branch of Bilingualism Matters (   Bilingualism Matters ( was founded in 2008 by Professor Antonella Sorace at the University of Edinburgh to bridge the emerging research on bilingualism with the experience of bilingualism in the community.  In the almost ten years since its founding, there are now 18 branches, including two in the US.  Our new branch at UCR will be the third in the US and the first on the West Coast.  We hope to engage researchers and community members across Southern California to develop a network that connects research on multilingualism to the local communities in which speaking more than one language is a typical feature of life and work. 

To celebrate the launch of Bilingualism Matters at UCR, we are hosting a conference of multilingualism researchers in Southern California:

The conference is free and open to the public but we ask that you register if you anticipate attending on October 6:

We also invite you and your students to submit posters for presentation on October 6.  We will accept the first 30 poster submissions.  Guidelines for poster dimensions will be available by September 1.   We welcome posters that report research findings and also posters that describe community programs.  Poster titles and brief abstracts  (no more than 150 words) can be sent to Judith Kroll:

We thank the Center for Ideas and Society at UCR, the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the Departments of Psychology, Hispanic Studies, and Comparative Literatures and Languages for their generous support to enable Bilingualism Matters at UCR.

Again, each of these events is free and open to the public.  We ask only that you register if you plan to attend the conference on Friday, October 6.  Please feel free to share this information with others who may be interested and close enough to join us.

We look forward to welcoming you to UCR!

Best wishes,

Judith Kroll and Cova Lamar-Prieto, Co-directors, Bilingualism Matters at UCR

Christine Chiarello, Elizabeth Davis, Hyejin Nah, and Vrinda Chidambaram, Bilingualism Matters Advisory Committee

Monday, August 14, 2017

Guest blog post from Dial & Martin on Dual Stream models -- More discussion

[Note: for backstory on this discussion, see here]

To indicate which comment each response corresponds to, we have copied the first line of the comment.

In response to “I agree but we were vague on purpose 17 years ago because we simply didn’t know what the relation was between brain areas and acoustic/linguistic levels of representation” and “These are good points and I both appreciate DM’s frustration with our lack of clarity regarding the level of processing we are talking about and laud their interest in being more precise”:

We appreciate the clarification of your stance regarding speech-specificity (or linguistic-specificity) and agree that specificity of processing within a neuroanatomical region is not necessarily a prerequisite for identifying neuroanatomical levels of processing. This being said, we still feel it is important when discussing the neural basis of speech processing to be as specific as possible in the claims regarding the underlying cognitive model. We would, thus, stand by our claim that in a model of speech processing, there is necessarily an abstract, speech-specific sublexical processing level (see figure below). However, we agree that there is no convincing evidence that “linguistic levels of representation will map neatly onto individual brain regions” and that there may not be a region that is “linguistic or level specific,” at least to the extent that current technology allows for the investigation of such questions (i.e., at the level of large populations of neurons). 

In response to  “’most often’ is a fair statement but one that ignores the fact that not all of the studies showing this dissociation were unmatched”:

We discussed directly in our paper the fact that in the Miceli et al. (1980) study, the phonological differences in their picture-word matching task were greater than those in the  sublexical task, where the items differed in one distinctive feature of one phoneme.  We stated on p. 193,  Although their (Miceli et al.’s) picture-word matching task included phonologically related distractors, the phonological lures differed from the target by one or more phonemes (picture-word matching task described in detail in Gainotti et al. (1975)) and when the difference was only one phoneme, the phoneme might differ by more than one distinctive feature from the target.”
We did not discuss Bishop et al. (1990) in our paper because  it is less often cited in papers on aphasia, as their subjects were children with SLI.  Nonetheless, their findings certainly bear on the general issue of the relation between sublexical and lexical perception. In the Bishop et al. paper, Study 1 compared phoneme discrimination (with one distinctive feature difference) to picture-word matching on a British version of the  PPVT, which does not systematically include phonologically related distractors. Study 2 did provide a close comparison between performance on phoneme discrimination and lexical processing using a word judgment task in which subjects judged whether a spoken stimulus matched the name of a picture.  On the non-matching trials, the stimulus was, according to the examples, a nonword differing by one distinctive feature of one phoneme (e.g., “voy” for a picture of a boy).  This comparison is similar to that in our Experiment 2a, where we contrasted  syllable discrimination and picture word matching where the stimulus on the non-matching trials was a word differing by one distinctive feature of one phoneme (e.g., “beach” for a picture of a peach).  In Experiment 2a, we found that controls as a group performed better on picture-word matching than on syllable discrimination and for the patients, though the group difference was not significant, two patients showed significantly better performance on picture-word matching. As we discuss in the paper, we hypothesized that picture-word matching might have been easier for some individuals because it allows the subjects to internally generate a phonological representation of the name of the picture against which to compare the spoken input.  To address this, we carried out Experiment 2b, where the sublexical task involved matching a spoken syllable to a written syllable, where subjects could generate a target from the written syllable.  With this change, now controls were significantly better at the sublexical than the lexical task and no patient scored significantly better on the lexical than the sublexical task.  Thus, when task demands were better equated there was no evidence of a dissociation between sublexical and lexical performance. 

In response to “Here’s the key point that you are missing”:
We showed that patient performance on a difficult visual working memory task (where performance was equated to that for syllable discrimination) was not correlated with performance on either the syllable or word discrimination tasks (page 201), suggesting that neither cognitive control nor working memory is the driver behind the correlation.

In response to “Still highly correlated which would argue against my point above, but a closer look at the data reveals a different picture”:

The figures that you have created in response to our comment do not contain the data we reference (from Experiment 2a) and instead plot data from Experiment 1a (titled: sublexical and lexical perception with unmatched stimuli, p.195, with data shown in Table 2).  Experiment 1a was created for the express purpose of showing that dissociations between sublexical and lexical performance could be shown when the stimuli were not closely matched (i.e., when some of the lexical contrasts differed by more than 1 feature).  As we noted in the text, in this experiment, there are notable dissociations with some patients showing better lexical performance under these conditions, which is particularly evident in your figure with the outlier removed. We refer you instead to Figure 6 (p. 202), which shows the data for picture-word matching and syllable discrimination for the matched stimuli in Experiment 2a.  These are the data we were referring to in saying the correlation was .88 even though 2 patients did show significantly better performance on picture-word matching than syllable discrimination.  For the data in Fig 6, there are no evident outliers (which is confirmed by statistical tests such as Mahalanobis distance or Cook’s D).

In response to “We have to ask why comprehension tasks are easier”:

Simply because we do not perform discrimination tasks “in the wild” does not make the task invalid. We could further argue that individuals don’t typically spend their time naming pictures, or selecting a picture from a set after hearing a single spoken word, but we don’t believe this discredits the tasks. Our main argument, on which it seems we actually don’t disagree, is that you have to match the task in order for the linguistic manipulations to be the driving factor behind the results.
In terms of the generation of a phonological code, it would be difficult to do that in advance for all the pictures in a 6 item set, as in Miceli et al. (1980). However, we again refer to the fact that Miceli et al. (1980) did not closely match the phonological distractors in this task to the CCVC task, making it easier to begin with. And, in our task, generation of a phonological code would be possible as only a single picture is presented. In terms of not having to maintain two items in memory for comparison, we are in agreement as to why the picture-word matching task may be easier.    

In response to “’Almost all of the patients’ is in fact 6 of 8 meaning that 25% of your now rather small sample failed to improve”:

We agree that the small sample size makes our claim regarding AWSM and syllable discrimination tenuous in the patient sample, but we note that the controls also did better on the AWSM (M = 3.77) than the syllable discrimination task (M = 2.68). Even so, our claim that the PWM task was easier than the syllable discrimination task is the more important of the claims, because we were arguing that syllable discrimination was harder than PWM, necessitating a matched sublexical task. In fact, the controls did significantly better on PWM (M = 3.42) than syllable discrimination. The mean performance on the PWM task was much closer to the mean for the AWSM in our normal control population, suggesting these tasks are more closely matched than the PWM and syllable discrimination tasks.

In response to “The way you make syllable discrimination predict auditory comprehension performance is to impose the same kinds of artificial task demands on auditory comprehension”:

As indicated in the paper and all that we have discussed above, syllable discrimination is an excellent predictor of lexical performance when stimuli and task demands are matched.  We would also note that syllable discrimination predicted auditory lexical decision in Experiment 1b at a high level (r = .74). Also, even though the comparison of picture-word matching and syllable discrimination in Experiment 2a revealed two patients who did better on picture-word matching than syllable discrimination, the correlation between the two tasks was quite high (r = .78). The results from Experiment 2b suggest that one can create a syllable discrimination task using spoken to written syllable matching that also correlates highly with picture-word matching, but where no subject does better on the picture-word matching task.  A limitation of this latter task is that many aphasic patients have difficulty reading nonsense syllables, which will limit those who can be tested.  On the other hand, there is a clear limitation to using picture-word matching for assessing speech recognition in that poor performance can result from a disruption of semantic knowledge rather than from difficulty processing the speech input. Thus, all tasks have their advantages and disadvantages in assessing particular cognitive functions. It is only the pattern of performance across a set of converging tasks that can provide strong evidence regarding the source of any deficit.  We maintain that the use of sublexical tasks like syllable discrimination may provide a valid indicator of an individual’s sublexical speech processing abilities and that the use of this task may be useful in predicting word recognition abiltiies.