We are open!

We are still happily zooming and enjoying the virtual lab meetings!

Since the beginning of the pandemic we are working from home. After the initial lock down, testing sites are slowly starting to open up, while following strict safety protocols.

Now, meetings are held online and going to the office is only possible when necessary. Most likely, a lot of labs around the world experience something similar right now. What are your approaches to stay focused and to keep contact with your team? Some of us started to do virtual working sessions (coffee breaks included).

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

New paper: Distinct cortical rhythms in speech and language processing and some more

New paper from our lab by Katerina Kandylaki and Sonja Kotz!
Screenshot_2020-06-19 Distinct cortical rhythms in speech and language processing and some more a commentary on Meyer, Sun,[...]
In our commentary to Meyer et al. (2019) we draw attention to three main points to consider in any proposal/theory of neural oscillations for language:
1. Language in context
2. Neurobiological processing of continuous signals
3. Argument structure processing
Opening up the dialogue, we’d be happy to connect and discuss, so please feel free to contact us!

New paper: ERP mismatch response to phonological and temporal regularities in speech

Emmendorfer2020
New_Paper_BAND-LAB(3)

We are excited to share our new publication “ERP mismatch response to phonological and temporal regularities in speech”, fresh off the press at Scientific Reports! In collaboration with the M-BIC Brain and Language Lab, our PhD candidate Alex Emmendorfer uses a passive oddball paradigm to investigate how our brain makes use of regularities in the phonological and temporal structure of speech.

School workshop: Vragen stellen aan het brein

Asking questions to the brain (Vragen stellen aan het brein): a 60min interactive workshop about the brain and rhythm. In February and May 2019 Katerina Kandylaki of BAND-Lab brought this workshop to 5th year class pupils at two local schools (Porta Mosana, Maastricht and Sophianum, Gulpen). She explained the basic concepts of imaging and stimulation methods (EEG, s/fMRI, TMS), the function of rhythm in language, and the basic idea of her current project NERHYMUS. This project investigates speech rhythm perception in musicians and non-musicians and is funded by the European Commission.

We had an EEG demonstration and a rhythm activity which were very well received by the teenagers. Even the “too-cool-for-school” ones were asking questions and joined the activities by the end of the workshop. A very rewarding and enjoyable experience for the researchers!

Many thanks to Kobus Lampe, master student in Neuropsychology for his support on the workshop. We also want to thank Isabelle Grosch (Marketing and Communications of the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience), and Ellen Krijnen and Tanja Peters (Marketing and Communications of Maastricht University) for connecting researchers and schools and promoting interactions.

The BAND-lab at Pint of Science

BAND-lab’s Xan Duggirala organised an event at the inaugural Pint of Science festival in May 2019 in Maastricht. The post-doc Katerina Kandylaki and the collaborator Andrea Ravignani presented their research in a fun and accessible way. We do the science and its communication.

In the above picture the participants are clapping to the beats of language, discovering an isochronous rhythm in poetry and a free rhythm in prose.

Breaking Research: How the vocal tract changes when speaking and singing

Benjamin Schultz, Joao Correia, and Michel Belyk have been examining changes in the vocal tract while speaking, whistling, and singing. Here, one of our singers aims to sing with as clear a tone as possible. Notice how the throat is nice and open:

 

Here, the same singer aims to mimic Louis Armstrong’s raspy vocal style. The throat pathway is considerably smaller and tense:

 

 

More videos will arrive soon – watch this space!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Searching high and low: Prosodic breaks disambiguate relative clauses

New published article:

In this paper, we investigated how some modulations in the speaker’s voice may impact the interpretation of ambiguous sentences on the listener’s side. We showed that the simple placement of prosodic breaks (i.e. short silences) at different key anchors in auditory sentences was enough to flip listeners’ preference toward an interpretation or the other. So be careful, silences speak your mind!

Fromont L.A., Soto-Faraco S., and Biau E. (2017) Searching High and Low: Prosodic Breaks Disambiguate Relative Clauses. Front. Psychol. 8:96. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00096

Check this out: http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00096/full