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Yu, L., & Zhang, Y. (In press). Testing native language neural commitment at the brainstem level: A cross-linguistic investigation of the association between frequency-following response and speech perception. Neuropsychologia.

Abstract: A current topic in auditory neurophysiology is how brainstem sensory coding contributes to higher-level perceptual, linguistic and cognitive skills. This cross-language study was designed to compare frequency following responses (FFRs) for lexical tones in tonal (Mandarin Chinese) and non-tonal (English) language users and test the correlational strength between FFRs and behavior as a function of language experience. The behavioral measures were obtained in the Garner paradigm to assess how lexical tones might interfere with vowel category and duration judgement. The FFR results replicated previous findings about between-group differences, showing enhanced pitch tracking responses in the Chinese subjects. The behavioral data from the two subject groups showed that lexical tone variation in the vowel stimuli significantly interfered with vowel identification with a greater effect in the Chinese group. Moreover, the FFRs for lexical tone contours were significantly correlated with the behavioral interference only in the Chinese group. This pattern of language-specific association between speech perception and brainstem-level neural phase-locking of linguistic pitch information provides evidence for a possible native language neural commitment at the subcortical level, highlighting the role of experience-dependent brainstem tuning in influencing subsequent linguistic processing in the adult brain.

Keywords: Native Language Neural Commitment Theory; Frequency Following Response; speech perception; lexical tones; Garner paradigm

Dr. Keita Tanaka (Associate Professor at Tokyo Denki University) will visit Zhang Lab during October 26-28. Dr. Tanaka is interested in MEG research and has several collaborative MEG projects with Dr. Zhang.

The Natural Science Foundation of China has awarded Dr. Yang Zhang a two-year international collaboration autism grant (NSFC 31728009) for the period of 1/2018 ~ 12/2019. The host institution is South China Normal University, and co-PI is Dr. Suiping Wang at the School of Psychology at SCNU.

Dr. Min Guo is a medical doctor from the Hospital of University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. She is the Director of the Psychological Education and Training Department at her university hospital. Her primary interests are neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and ADHD.

Huang, D., Yu, L., Wang, X., Fan, Y., Wang, S., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Distinct patterns of discrimination and orienting for temporal processing of speech and nonspeech in Chinese children with autism: An event-related potential study. European Journal of Neuroscience.

Abstract: Although many studies have reported domain-general impaired duration perception for speech and nonspeech sounds in children with autism, it remained unclear whether this phenomenon is universally applicable regardless of language background. In some languages such as Finnish and Japanese, vowel duration serves a phonemic role that can signify semantic distinction, and in others (e.g., Mandarin Chinese), vowel duration does not carry this phonemic function. The present event-related potential study investigated neural sensitivity to duration contrasts in speech and nonspeech contexts in Mandarin-speaking children with autism and a control group of age-matched typically developing (TD) children. A passive oddball paradigm was adopted to elicit the mismatch negativity (MMN) and involuntary orienting response (P3a) for change detection. A pure tone condition and a vowel condition were used. The MMN results showed that the autism group had diminished response amplitudes and delayed latency in the pure tone condition compared to the TD group, whereas no group difference was found in the vowel condition. The P3a results showed no significant between-group MMN difference in the pure tone condition. In the vowel condition, the autism group had smaller P3a than the TD group. Together, the distinct patterns of discrimination and orienting responses for duration contrasts in pure tones and vowels are consistent with the “allophonic perception” theory for autism, which may reflect a compromised perceptual weighting system for speech learning.

Keywords: Autism, temporal processing, speech perception, mismatch negativity (MMN), perceptual weighting

Zhang LabZhang Lab 11 Jul 2017 10:26
in discussion Hidden / Per page discussions » Language and Brain

Thanks. I'll fix it.

by Zhang LabZhang Lab, 11 Jul 2017 10:26
Zhongyuan Liu (guest) 08 Jul 2017 10:53
in discussion Hidden / Per page discussions » Language and Brain

The third video material of Week 2, "Syntax: Movement and Trace", is linked to an incorrect video.

by Zhongyuan Liu (guest), 08 Jul 2017 10:53
Zhang LabZhang Lab 27 Jun 2017 01:59
in discussion Hidden / Per page discussions » Language and Brain

Testing Question.

by Zhang LabZhang Lab, 27 Jun 2017 01:59

The College of Liberal Arts has awarded Dr. Zhang the 2017 Brain Imaging Research Project Award.

Steven Manson
Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs
Office of the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs
College of Liberal Arts
113 Johnston Hall, 101 Pleasant Street
Minneapolis, MN 55414

Zhou, H., Liang, M., Guan, Q., Zhang, L., Shu, H., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Mandarin-speaking Children's Speech Recognition: Developmental Changes in the Influences of Semantic Context and F0 Contours. Frontiers in Psychology, 8, 1090.

The goal of this developmental speech perception study was to assess whether and how age group modulated the influences of high-level semantic context and low-level fundamental frequency (F0) contours on the recognition of Mandarin speech by elementary and middle-school-aged children in quiet and interference backgrounds. The results revealed different patterns for semantic and F0 information. One the one hand, age group modulated significantly the use of F0 contours, indicating that elementary school children relied more on natural F0 contours than middle school children during Mandarin speech recognition. On the other hand, there was no significant modulation effect of age group on semantic context, indicating that children of both age groups used semantic context to assist speech recognition to a similar extent. Furthermore, the significant modulation effect of age group on the interaction between F0 contours and semantic context revealed that younger children could not make better use of semantic context in recognizing speech with flat F0 contours compared with natural F0 contours, while older children could benefit from semantic context even when natural F0 contours were altered, thus confirming the important role of F0 contours in Mandarin speech recognition by elementary school children. The developmental changes in the effects of high-level semantic and low-level F0 information on speech recognition might reflect the differences in auditory and cognitive resources associated with processing of the two types of information in speech perception.

Tess Koerner did a great job in her dissertation defense (Committee members: Peggy Nelson, Andrew Oxenham, Robert Schlauch, Yang Zhang). Congratulations!

Koerner, T. K., Zhang, Y., Nelson, P., Wang, B., & Zou, H. (2017). Neural indices of phonemic discrimination and sentence-level speech intelligibility in quiet and noise: A P3 study. Hearing Research, 350, 58-67.

This study examined how speech babble noise differentially affected the auditory P3 responses and the associated neural oscillatory activities for consonant and vowel discrimination in relation to segmental- and sentence- level speech perception in noise. The data were collected from 16 normal-hearing participants in a double-oddball paradigm that contained a consonant (/ba/ to /da/) and vowel (/ba/ to /bu/) change in quiet and noise (speech-babble background at a -3 dB signal-to-noise ratio) conditions. Time-frequency analysis was applied to obtain inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC) and event-related spectral perturbation (ERSP) measures in delta, theta, and alpha frequency bands for the P3 response. Behavioral measures included percent correct phoneme detection and reaction time as well as percent correct IEEE sentence recognition in quiet and in noise. Linear mixed-effects models were applied to determine possible brain-behavior correlates. A significant noise-induced reduction in P3 amplitude was found, accompanied by significantly longer P3 latency and decreases in ITPC across all frequency bands of interest. There was a differential effect of noise on consonant discrimination and vowel discrimination in both ERP and behavioral measures, such that noise impacted the detection of the consonant change more than the vowel change. The P3 amplitude and some of the ITPC and ERSP measures were significant predictors of speech perception at segmental- and sentence-levels across listening conditions and stimuli. These data demonstrate that the P3 response with its associated cortical oscillations represents a potential neurophysiological marker for speech perception in noise.

Keywords: speech perception; event-related potential; P3; inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC); event-related spectral perturbation (ERSP) 

Jiang, W., Li, Y., Shu, H., Zhang, L., & Zhang, Y. (2017). Use of semantic context and F0 contours by older listeners during Mandarin speech recognition in quiet and single-talker interference conditions. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 141, EL338-EL344.

Abstract: This study followed up Wang et al. (2013) to investigate factors influencing older listeners’ Mandarin speech recognition in quiet vs. single-talker interference. Listening condition was found to interact with F0 contour, revealing that natural F0 contours provided benefit in the interference condition whereas semantic context contributed similarly to both conditions. There was also a significant interaction between semantic context and F0 contour, demonstrating the importance of semantic context when F0 was flattened. Together, findings from the two studies indicate that aging differentially affects tonal language speakers’ dependence on F0 contours and semantic context for speech perception in suboptimal conditions.

Keywords: Mandarin speech recognition; older listeners; semantic context; F0 contours; quiet; single-talker interference

Koerner, T. K., & Zhang, Y. (Accepted). Application of linear mixed-effects models in human neuroscience research: A comparison with Pearson correlation in two auditory electrophysiology studies. Brain Sciences.

Abstract: Neurophysiological studies are often designed to examine relationships between measures from different testing conditions, time points, or analysis techniques within the same group of participants. Appropriate statistical techniques that can take into account repeated measures and multivariate predictor variables are integral and essential to successful data analysis and interpretation. This work implements and compares conventional Pearson correlations and linear mixed-effects (LME) regression models using data from two recently published auditory electrophysiology studies. For the specific research questions in both studies, the Pearson’s correlation test is inappropriate for determining strengths between the behavioral responses for speech-in-noise recognition and the multiple neurophysiological measures as the neural responses across listening conditions were simply treated as independent measures. In contrast, the LME models allow a systematic approach to incorporate both fixed-effect and random-effect terms to deal with the categorical grouping factor of listening conditions, between-subject baseline differences in the multiple measures, and the correlational structure among the predictor variables. Together, the comparative data demonstrate the advantages as well as the necessity to apply mixed-effects models to properly account for the built-in relationships among the multiple predictor variables, which has important implications for proper statistical modelling and interpretation of human behavior in terms of neural correlates and biomarkers.

Keywords: Pearson correlation; linear mixed-effects regression models; repeated measures; neurophysiology; event-related potential

Acknowledgments: This work was supported in part by the Charles E. Speaks Graduate Fellowship (TKK), the Bryng Bryngelson Research Fund (TKK and YZ), the Capita Foundation (YZ), the Brain Imaging Research Project award and single semester leave award (YZ) from the College of Liberal Arts, and the University of Minnesota Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Project Grant (YZ). We would like to thank Boxiang Wang, Hui Zou, Peggy Nelson, and Edward Carney for their assistance.

Luodi Yu has been selected for the Diversity Award to attend the IMFAR 2017 meeting, May 10-13 in San Francisco, California, USA.

Geraldine Dawson, INSAR President
Matthew Lerner, INSAR Awards Committee Chair

Yu, L., Rao, A., Zhang, Y., Burton, P.C., Rishiq, D., & Abrams, H. (2017). Neuromodulatory effects of auditory training and hearing aid use on audiovisual speech perception in elderly individuals. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 9, 30.

Abstract. Although audiovisual (AV) training has been shown to improve overall speech perception in hearing-impaired listeners, there has been a lack of direct brain imaging data to help elucidate the neural networks and neural plasticity associated with hearing aid use and auditory training targeting speechreading. For this purpose, the current clinical case study reports functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data from two hearing-impaired patients who were first-time HA users. During the study period, both patients used hearing aids for 8 weeks; only one received a training program named ReadMyQuips™ (RMQ) targeting speechreading during the second half of the study period for 4 weeks. Identical fMRI tests were administered at pre-fitting and at the end of the 8 weeks. Regions of interest (ROI) including auditory cortex and visual cortex for uni-sensory processing, and superior temporal sulcus (STS) for audiovisual integration, were identified for each person through independent functional localizer task. The results showed experience-dependent changes involving ROIs of auditory cortex, STS, and functional connectivity between uni-sensory ROIs and STS from pretest to posttest in both cases. These data provide initial evidence for the malleable experience driven cortical functionality for audiovisual speech perception in elderly hearing-impaired people and call for further studies with a much larger subject sample and systematic control to fill in the knowledge gap to understand brain plasticity associated with auditory rehabilitation in the aging population.

Funding statement
This project received funding from Starkey Hearing Technologies (AR and YZ), the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Brain Imaging
Research Project Award (YZ) from the College of Liberal Arts and the UMN Grand Challenges Exploratory Research Grant Award

You are Invited to Neurology Grand Rounds
Cognitive Training in Early Phases of Psychotic Illness

Sophia Vinogradov, MD
Professor & Head, Department of Psychiatry
University of Minnesota Medical School

Date | Feb 3, 2017
Time | 12-1 PM
Location | Moos 2-530

Learning Objectives (Upon completion of this conference, participants should be able to):
1. Outline the typical profile of cognitive deficit in early phases of psychotic illness.
2. Discuss the principles of neuroscience-informed cognitive training.
3. Describe the effects of target cognitive training in early phases of psychotic illness.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and Policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the direct providership of the University of Minnesota. The University of Minnesota is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

American Medical Association (AMA) Credit Designation Statement
The University of Minnesota designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Sponsored by the Department of Neurology, University of Minnesota

Please share this notice with others who may be interested in this seminar!

Wang, X., Wang, S. Fan, Y., Huang, D., & Zhang, Y. (Accepted). Speech-specific categorical perception deficit in autism: An Event-Related Potential study of lexical tone processing in Mandarin-speaking children. Scientific Reports.

Abstract: Recent studies reveal that tonal language speakers with autism have enhanced neural sensitivity to pitch changes in nonspeech stimuli but not to lexical tone contrasts in their native language. The present ERP study investigated whether the distinct pitch processing pattern for speech and nonspeech stimuli in autism was due to a speech-specific deficit in categorical perception of lexical tones. A passive oddball paradigm was adopted to examine two groups (16 in the autism group and 15 in the control group) of Chinese children’s Mismatch Responses (MMRs) to equivalent pitch deviations representing within-category and between-category differences in speech and nonspeech contexts. To further examine group-level differences in the MMRs to categorical perception of speech/nonspeech stimuli or lack thereof, neural oscillatory activities at the single trial level were further calculated with the inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC) measure for the theta and beta frequency bands. The MMR and ITPC data from the children with autism showed evidence for lack of categorical perception in the lexical tone condition. In view of the important role of lexical tones in acquiring a tonal language, the results point to the necessity of early intervention for the individuals with autism who show such a speech-specific categorical perception deficit.

Keywords: Autism; pitch perception; lexical tone; categorical perception (CP); Event-related potential (ERP); Mismatch Responses (MMR); neural oscillation; inter-trial phase coherence (ITPC); theta activity

Provost Karen Hanson has announced 29 Grand Challenges Research grants to advance the research goals of Driving Tomorrow, the TC Campus Strategic Plan. The Driving Tomorrow research investments total $3.6 million, including $1.48 million for 21 exploratory research grants and $2.15 million for 8 collaborations shaped by interdisciplinary work groups that were built on an earlier Call for Ideas process. The funds were reallocations earmarked for strategic plan investments during annual compact planning with college deans, augmented by funds from the Global Programs and Strategy Alliance for projects supporting the U’s internationalization goals. More on the Driving Tomorrow Research Initiatives on the UMN web site.

The Center for Neurobehavioral Development is pleased to host a colloquium with visiting international professor Roslyn Boyd, PhD on MONDAY September 19th at 10:00am.

Roslyn Boyd, PhD, Professor of Cerebral Palsy and Rehabilitation Research, University of Queensland, Australia will be presenting on "Advanced brain imaging in infants at risk of Cerebral Palsy and children with Cerebral Palsy".

Professor Boyd has primary training in Physiotherapy (Pediatrics, Neurological, Neonatal, Orthopaedics) with post graduate training in Biomechanics (Pgrad) and Neuroscience (PhD). She has an international track record in conducting randomized clinical trials in the field of cerebral palsy (on the efficacy of upper limb rehabilitation, early intervention and Botulinum toxin A). Dr Boyd’s studies have combined clinical outcomes with an understanding of the mechanisms underpinning response to intervention with novel use of Advanced Brain Imaging (functional MRI, Diffusion Imaging, Functional Connectivity, CP connectome). Her strong collaborations in neuroscience have enabled the development of novel rehabilitation trials in Action Observation training, multi-modal web based training (Qld E Brain program) and environmental enrichment for infants, children and youth with Cerebral Palsy.

Details are also listed on the attached flyer.
All events are located in 717 Delaware, room 330. We hope to see you there!

Center for Neurobehavioral Development
717 Delaware St. SE
Suite 333
Minneapolis, MN 55414

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