Departmental Seminar: How superior temporal cortex processes “the sound image of words”
Professor Eddie Chang, University of California
Departmental Seminar Series
Thursday, 29 April 2021, 12.15pm to 1pm
Hosted by Professor Kate Watkins
The human superior temporal gyrus is critical for extracting meaningful linguistic features from acoustic speech inputs. Local neural populations are tuned to acoustic-phonetic features of all consonants and vowels, as well as dynamic cues for intonational pitch. These populations are embedded throughout broader functional zones that are sensitive to amplitude-based temporal cues for prosody. Together, the distributed feature selectivity for phonetic and prosodic cues have generated a new and granular map of temporal cortex function. Beyond speech features, cortical representations are strongly modulated by learned knowledge and perceptual goals. I will review emerging insights on the remarkable emergent phonological computations that take place in this cortical region at the core of Wernicke’s area.