Brain & Mind Computational Breakfast

A monthly breakfast and venue for informal conversation about topics such as artificial intelligence, neuroscience, human behaviour, and digital humanities. Welcome!
BMC breakfast, March edition. Speakers: Anu-Katriina Pesonen & Kimmo Alho

Next seminar: Tuesday, 10 March

Topics and speakers:

Essential Questions in Sleep Research

Anu-Katriina Pesonen, Leader of the Sleep & Mind Research Group, Chair of the BA and MA programs of Psychology, Faculty of Medicine, Research Program Unit, University of Helsinki, Finland

Many studies have shown that sleep is a powerful enhancer of human information processing, and closely involved in emotion regulation as well.

I will present some essential questions in the current sleep investigation field related to these two areas of research. I will also provide examples of the most used, and also emerging sleep research methods. I will also give a snapshot to studies from the Sleep & Mind Research Group at the University of Helsinki, focusing on both cohort studies and experimental sleep research.

Brain activity during selective attention to audio-visual speech

Kimmo Alho, Department of Psychology and Logopedics, University of Helsinki, Advanced Magnetic Imaging Centre, Aalto University

Few brain imaging studies have used real-life-like audiovisual situations to elucidate the remarkable ability of humans to listen selectively to a particular speaker in noisy situations. In our recent experiments, participants attended to video clips of dialogues between two persons at the presence of an irrelevant speech stream in the background. Auditory quality of the dialogues was manipulated by noise-vocoding and their visual quality was manipulated by masking speech-related facial movements. In control conditions, the participants were instructed to attend to a fixation cross and to ignore the speech streams. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) indicated higher activity in auditory cortical areas for higher auditory or visual quality. As expected, also attention to the dialogues enhanced activity in these areas. Unexpectedly, however, attention to the emotionally neutral dialogues resulted also in activity enhancements in brain areas which according to previous studies are involved in social judgement. Moreover, one of our studies compared brain activity during contextually coherent and incoherent dialogues. This semantic manipulation resulted in modulations of attention-related activity in auditory cortical areas, including the primary and adjacent auditory cortex. This finding appears to contradict the traditional attention models proposing semantic processing of attended speech to occur only after its low-level auditory processing.


NB! The talks begin at 9:30. Breakfast is served on a first-come-first-serve basis at 9:15.

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Brain & Mind Computational Breakfast

A monthly breakfast and venue for informal conversation about artificial intelligence, neuroscience, human behavior, digital humanities. Read more!

Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering
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