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November 4th, 2021

Professor Robert J. Zatorre’s Lecture at at the Institut de l’Audition, in Paris

The 2021 Scientific Grand Prize of Fondation Pour l’Audition, Professor Robert J. Zatorre, of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University, Montreal, Canada, will hold his keynote lecture on Wednesday, November 17, 2021, from 11 am to 12:30 pm (Paris time), at the Institut de l’Audition, in Paris, on the following topic:

Hemispheric specialization for speech and music: acoustical cues and connectivity profiles.

Please note that this lecture will not be available via live streaming and will not be recorded.  It is only available to those registering and attending at the Institut de l’Audition in Paris.

He will present the research work related to his Fondation Pour l’Audition award. Discover his summary:

We have known that the brain’s two hemispheres function differently since Paul Broca’s work on speech disorders in 1860s Paris. But exactly how and why they are specialized has remained an open scientific question. In this lecture I will focus on the lateralization of the brain for the sounds of speech and music. I will first show evidence that speech sounds are preferentially processed by the left auditory cortex, whereas musical sounds are analyzed more accurately by the right auditory cortex. I will then propose that this segregation of function can be explained by differential sensitivity to the most important acoustical features of speech and music. The left auditory cortex is specialized for rapidly changing acoustical modulations, which are necessary for speech comprehension, whereas the right auditory cortex is specialized for fine frequency content, which is particularly relevant for musical comprehension. Finally, I will present evidence implicating different connectivity patterns as a physiological basis for the specialization of the left and right auditory cortices. The specialization of the brain’s hemispheres can be thought of as a biological adaptation that allows humans to have two parallel auditory communication signals, speech and music, allowing us to transmit knowledge and emotions via these two channels.

Register for the keynote lecture

To attend the lecture of Professor Robert J. Zatorre, please fill out the registration form below. Due to current health regulations, the number of participants is limited. In addition, access will be granted upon presentation of an identity document and a valid health pass.

Location: Institut de l’Audition, Centre de l’Institut Pasteur, 63 rue de Charenton, 75012, Paris, France.

Timetable: from 11 am to 12:30 pm (Paris time).


Click to register: Conférence magistrale du Grand Prix scientifique 2021 


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BRAMS (International Laboratory for Brain, Music and Sound Research) is a unique centre dedicated to research excellence in the study of music and auditory cognition with a focus on neuroscience. The research centre is located in Montreal and jointly affiliated with the University of Montreal and McGill University.


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