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Presentation by Dr. Didier Grandjean

Psychological and brain mechanisms of the production and the decoding of voice melodies

Abstract: The decoding of emotion in vocal productions is an essential ability of non-human animals and humans for survival and for social interactions. The brain processes underlying this competency include several steps of information processing including the basic auditory decoding, the organization of auditory stream to perceive an auditory object, and the attributions of emotional characteristics of the vocal production perceived. The building up of an emotional auditory object necessitates the interactions of different brain regions involved in the decoding process including primary and secondary auditory regions, i.e. the voice area in humans, amygdala, frontal regions such as the inferior and orbito-frontal regions and basal ganglia. How these brain regions interact together is a crucial question to resolve to have a better understanding of emotional information processing in the human brain. The involvement of secondary auditory regions, amygdala, basal ganglia and frontal regions as well as their interactions has been investigated using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and local field potentials (LFPs) recorded using macroelectrodes in human candidates to neurosurgery for intractable epilepsy or for Parkinson’s disease. FMRI analysis, psychophysiological interactions and dynamic causal modeling revealed the connectivity between the different brain regions subserving emotional auditory information processing. The LFP results revealed complex patterns of the neuronal dynamics through neuronal synchronization measures in low and high frequencies between amygdala and the medial part of OFC during the decoding of emotional prosody. Recent studies investigating the brain mechanisms involved in the production of emotional prosody will be also discussed, especially the involvement of the basal ganglia. I will also discuss the links between emotional prosody and music. The convergence of the results obtained in the decoding and production of emotional prosody using different brain imaging and brain damaged patient studies increases our knowledge about emotions and theirs status in the human mind.

Didier Grandjean, Ph.D., from the Swiss Center for Affective Sciences (Geneva, Switzerland), will give a talk on Tuesday November 19 2013, at 3 pm. This talk will be given in the de Grandpré Communications Centre of the Montreal Neurological Institute (3801 University Street).

This talk is part of the CRBLM Distinguished Lecture Series.


Nov 19 2013


3:00 pm - 5:00 pm




De Grandpré Auditorium, Montreal Neurological Institute
3801 University Street


514-343-6111 poste 3167

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


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