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We are a public research laboratory in Paris specializing in the psychophysics, experimental and developmental psychology of perception, action, and language. Please click on the links to the left to learn more about our research and teaching.
Here is our report.

Our director is Andrei Gorea
and our associate director is Thierry Nazzi

Event Information:

  • Mon
    09
    Oct
    2017

    LPP seminar: Christopher I. Petkov, Laboratory of Comparative Neuropsychology, Newcastle University, U.K.

    11h Salle de réunion du LPP, H432, 4ème étage, Centre Biomédical des Saints Pères 45 rue des Sts Pères, 75006 Paris

    What makes us human? Sequence learning, language evolution and the primate brain

    Many animals are not thought to be able to combine their vocalizations into structured sequences, as do humans, songbirds and a few other species. Nonetheless, it remains possible that a number of animals can recognize ordering relationships in sequences generated by different types of ‘artificial grammars’.

    In this talk, I aim to explore how understanding the extent of these hidden sequence learning abilities in nonhuman primates could clarify the evolutionary origins of language and provide answers to the longstanding question: what makes us human? The insights attained will also highlight which aspects of human language and cognition can be realistically modelled in nonhuman animals.

    First, I aim to briefly overview some of our behavioral results with structured sequence learning in three species of primates: marmosets, macaques and humans. I then overview functional MRI results in macaques and humans, which identify evolutionarily conserved frontal regions involved in processing adjacent ordering relationships between sounds in a learned sequence. Finally, I show results from a study involving comparative intracranial recordings in humans and macaques. The neurophysiological results reveal intriguing neural predictive signals to the learned sequencing relationships and the oscillatory dynamics in auditory temporal cortex are found to be strikingly similar across the species.

    Overall, the findings indicate that humans and macaques share an evolutionarily conserved fronto-temporal network involved in processing structured sensory input. Alongside the commonalities, there are also indications of cross-species divergences that provide hints on how the human brain differentiated for language.

    Invited by Speech Team

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