Cognitive Neuroscience of Speech and Language Perception

The long-term goal of our research program is to examine the neurobiological computations that underlie speech perception and develop a richer understanding of the neurocognitive sources of individual differences in speech processing. From a clinical perspective, these goals will lead to the development of optimized, neurobiologically-informed auditory training approaches for second language learners, individuals with learning impairments, and those with auditory processing deficits. The SoundBrain Lab is associated with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, the Department of Psychology, and the Department of Linguistics at the University of Texas at Austin. We are affiliated with the Institute for Neuroscience, the Imaging Research Center, and the Institute for Mental Health Research programs.  We use an interdisciplinary, computational, and lifespan approach to understand the dynamics of speech perception and learning. Our research examines speech perception using multiple cognitive neuroscience methodologies, including event-related potentials, functional magnetic resonance imaging, diffusion tensor imaging, brainstem and cortical electroencephalography, and computational modeling.

There are two areas of current focus—1) Understanding brain dynamics during speech perception in challenging listening environments, and 2) Understanding the functional dynamics of neural circuitry underlying speech categorization. The program of research within these two areas is elucidated in the current research section.