BRAMS – CRBLM Lecture Series: Postdoc Presentations by Dr. Razieh Alemi and Dr. Anastasia Sares
Dr. Razieh Alemi: How cochlear implant users control their voice pitch?
Abstract: Oral communication development relies on auditory feedback, enabling speakers to regulate voice parameters and preserve speech fluency. This sensorimotor integration is hindered by hearing loss. Cochlear implants (CIs) restore the sense of hearing, but whether CI users can re-establish a functional perception-production loop is unknown. Notably, some devices aim to reproduce finer details in fundamental frequency (F0). Here we asked whether F0 details provided by these devices can enhance hearing feedback and, hence, quality of oral production.
Short Bio: Razieh got her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran. Currently, she is a post-doc research fellow in Dr. Alexandre Lehmann’s lab.
Dr. Anastasia Sares: The pitch compensation response in individuals who stutter
Abstract: It has been proposed that stuttering, a disorder characterized by repetitions and prolongations of speech sounds, may be related to differences in sensorimotor integration. One way to probe sensorimotor integration is to measure responses to altered auditory feedback. This experiment was a vocal pitch compensation paradigm where participants sustained a vowel while hearing their own voice through headphones in real time. Intermittently during the vocalization, the feedback they heard was pitch-shifted up or down. In agreement with previous studies, participants reflexively changed the pitch of their voice in order to counteract the shifted pitch. Adults with a stutter had a smaller average response than fluent speakers, and further analyses showed that the timing of their responses was also more variable. These results suggest that sensorimotor integration in adults who stutter, even for tasks focused on pitch, may be influenced by differences in temporal processing.
Short Bio: Anastasia Sares earned her Ph.D. from McGill University, studying the neural underpinnings of stuttering through behavior and fMRI. She is broadly interested in auditory cognitive neuroscience, especially for complex phenomena like language and music.