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Relative contributions of experience-dependent plasticity and of ‘innate’ influences on the brain and cognition

English title Relative contributions of experience-dependent plasticity and of ‘innate’ influences on the brain and cognition
Applicant Golestani Narly
Number 133701
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Clinique de Neurologie Hôpitaux Universitaires de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Start/End 01.04.2012 - 31.03.2016
Approved amount 1'565'325.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Neurophysiology and Brain Research
Other languages and literature

Keywords (10)

brain plasticity; expertise; magnetic resonance imaging; phonetics; sound engineering; longitudinal; development; genetics; audition; language

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary

     Why do individuals vary so widely in the ease with which they learn new languages? Do the individual differences that have been observed in behaviour and also in the brain arise from individual differences in previous experience and learning, or are we differently predisposed for greater ease in some perceptual / cognitive domains than in others? Several complimentary brain imaging studies will serve to elucidate the relative contributions of experience-dependent plasticity and of possibly more innate influences on the brain and on related domain-specific aptitudes.

1. In the first series of studies we will examine the effects on brain structure, brain structural connectivity, and brain function of intensive learning in individuals training in three different domains of expertise. We will examine brain functional and structural plasticity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), structural magnetic resonance imaging (aMRI), and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) longitudinally in individuals training to become a) sound engineers, b) phoneticians, and c) simultaneous interpreters (part c is ongoing, FNS grant 320000-122085). We will use these complimentary imaging methods before, during, and after training in order to determine how intensive training in a) lower-level, auditory domains (in sound engineers), b) at the speech sound level (in phoneticians), and c) at more executive levels of speech (in interpreters) affect the brain. We will also evaluate the effects of ‘true expertise’ by scanning experts with 2 to 35 years of professional experience in cross-sectional components in these three expert groups.

2. In the second, developmental study we will test for very early influences on the human brain which predict domain-specific auditory and phonetic capacities later in life, again longitudinally. We will test children who were scanned at birth using aMRI on measures of phonetic and acoustic processing later in life, at preschool age. We will evaluate whether brain structural differences at birth partly predict individual differences in later domain-specific phonetic or auditory abilities, thereby indirectly testing the ‘innateness’ hypothesis.

3. In the third, genetic study, we will more directly explore innate influences on brain structure (using aMRI data) and on language/audition (using performance on phonetic learning and auditory tasks) by identifying genetic markers of individual differences in speech and auditory skills, and in related aspects of auditory cortex morphology.

     Elucidation of the relative contributions of nature versus nurture in the brain is vital for the advancement of pure research. It can also not only lead to important clinical applications including early assessment and intervention tools in domains including stroke, brain surgery, cochlear implants, and dyslexia, but it can also lead to forms of ‘talent-screening’. Elucidation of these contributions in the domain of language is also expected to be high impact since language is a complex cognitive capacity which is fundamental and unique to humans, and which is at the very core of our culture and of our ability to communicate.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Brain Structural Imaging of Receptive Speech and Beyond: a Review of Current Methods
Marie D., Golestani N. (2016), Brain Structural Imaging of Receptive Speech and Beyond: a Review of Current Methods, in Language, Cognition and Neuroscience, 1.
How and when does the second language influence the production of native speech sounds: A literature review.
Kartushina Natalia, Frauenfelder Ulrich, Golestani Narly (2016), How and when does the second language influence the production of native speech sounds: A literature review., in Language Learning, 66(S2), 155-186.
Mutual influences betweennativeandnon-nativevowelsinproduction: Evidence fromshort-termvisualarticulatoryfeedbacktraining
Kartushina Natalia, Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Frauenfelder Ulrich, Golestani Narly (2016), Mutual influences betweennativeandnon-nativevowelsinproduction: Evidence fromshort-termvisualarticulatoryfeedbacktraining, in Journal ofPhonetics, 57, 21-39.
Neuroimaging of phonetic perception in bilinguals
Golestani Narly (2016), Neuroimaging of phonetic perception in bilinguals, in Bilingualism: Language and Cognition, 19(4), 674-682.
Plasticity of white matter connectivity in phonetics experts
Vandermosten M., Price C.J., Golestani N. (2016), Plasticity of white matter connectivity in phonetics experts, in Brain Structure and Function, 221(7), 3825-3833.
The effect of production training with visual feedback on the perception and production of foreign speech sounds
Kartushina Natalia, Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Frauenfelder Ulrich Hans, Golestani Narly. (2015), The effect of production training with visual feedback on the perception and production of foreign speech sounds, in Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 138(2), 817-832.
Bilingual speech-in-noise: Neural bases of semantic context use in the native language.
Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Pefkou Maria, Golestani Narly (2014), Bilingual speech-in-noise: Neural bases of semantic context use in the native language., in Brain and language, 132C, 1-6.
Brain structural correlates of individual differences at low-to high-levels of the language processing hierarchy: A review of new approaches to imaging research
Golestani Narly (2014), Brain structural correlates of individual differences at low-to high-levels of the language processing hierarchy: A review of new approaches to imaging research, in INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF BILINGUALISM, 18(1), 6-34.
Connectivity Changes Underlying Neurofeedback Training of Visual Cortex Activity
Scharnowski Frank, Rosa Maria Joao, Golestani Narly, Hutton Chloe, Josephs Oliver, Weiskopf Nikolaus, Rees Geraint (2014), Connectivity Changes Underlying Neurofeedback Training of Visual Cortex Activity, in PLOS ONE, 9(3), 9(3).
The Pathways for Intelligible Speech: Multivariate and Univariate Perspectives.
Evans S, Kyong J S, Rosen S, Golestani N, Warren J E, McGettigan C, Mourão-Miranda J, Wise R J S, Scott S K (2014), The Pathways for Intelligible Speech: Multivariate and Univariate Perspectives., in Cerebral cortex , 24(9), 2350-2361.
Semantic versus perceptual interactions in neural processing of speech-in-noise
Golestani Narly, Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Obleser Jonas, Scott Sophie K. (2013), Semantic versus perceptual interactions in neural processing of speech-in-noise, in NEUROIMAGE, 79, 52-61.
Brain functional plasticity associated with the emergence of expertise in extreme language control
Hervais-Adelman Alexis, Moser-Mercer Barbara, Golestani Narly, Brain functional plasticity associated with the emergence of expertise in extreme language control, in Neuroimage.
fMRI of simultaneous interpretation reveals the neural basis of extreme language control
Hervais-Adelman A., Moser-Mercer B., Michel C. M., Golestani. N., fMRI of simultaneous interpretation reveals the neural basis of extreme language control, in Cerebral Cortex, first published online: July 17, 2014.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
McGill University / Montreal Neurological Institute Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
The Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Rotman Research Institute/ Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute/University of Toronto Canada (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Department of Educational Sciences/Katholieke Universteit Leuven Belgium (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
University Hospital Basel Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Faculty of Psychology and of Education Sciences/University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
EPFL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Bordeaux France (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Department of Neuroradiology, Heidelberg Medical School, Germany Germany (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Ecole de Traduction et d’Interpretation (ETI)/University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Medical Image Processing Lab/University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Functional Brain Mapping Lab, University of Geneva Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Wellcome Trust Center for Neuroimaging Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
Maastricht University, The Netherlands Netherlands (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Workshop on Auditory Neuroscience, Cognition and Modelling Talk given at a conference Contextual eects on the neural encoding of speech sounds 17.02.2016 London, UK, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Rutten Sanne; Golestani Narly; Santoro Roberta;
Swiss Society for Neuroscience 2016 Poster Contextual effects on the neural encoding of speech sounds 23.01.2016 Lausanne, Switzerland, Switzerland Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Rutten Sanne; Santoro Roberta;
Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting 2016 Poster Contextual effects on the neural encoding of speech sounds 10.01.2016 Champery, Switzerland, Switzerland Golestani Narly; Rutten Sanne; Santoro Roberta; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Organization for Human Brain Mapping Alpine Chapter 2015 Talk given at a conference Neural basis of language learning and expertise 27.11.2015 Vienna, Austria, Austria Golestani Narly;
Society for the Neurobiology of Language 2015 Poster Simultaneous Interpreting Training Induces Brain Structural Connectivity Changes 15.10.2015 Chicago, USA, United States of America Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
Architectures & Mechanisms for Language Processing 2015 Poster Learning to produce non-native sounds results in native phonetic drift in sloppy speakers 03.09.2015 Valletta, Malta, Malta Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Kartushina Natalia;
Lemanic Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2015 Poster Contextual effects on the neural encoding of speech sounds 28.08.2015 Les Diablerets, Switzerland, Switzerland Santoro Roberta; Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly; Rutten Sanne;
EUROSLA 25 - The European Second Language Association's annual conference Talk given at a conference Interactions between native and non-native vowels in production: an articulatory feedback training study 26.08.2015 Aix-en-Province, France, France Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Kartushina Natalia; Golestani Narly;
Interdisciplinary advances in statistical learning Poster Statistical learning of speech sounds in normal reading 9-year olds 25.06.2015 San Sebastian, Spain, Spain Golestani Narly;
Workshop on Second Language Processing Talk given at a conference Neural bases of language learning and expertise 11.06.2015 Barcelona, Spain , Spain Golestani Narly;
Montreal Bilingual Brain Initiative Symposium Talk given at a conference Neural bases of language learning and expertise 28.05.2015 Montreal, Canada, Canada Golestani Narly;
Invited talk at University of Maastricht Individual talk Contextual effects on the encoding of speech sounds in the auditory cortex 05.03.2015 Maastricht, Netherlands Rutten Sanne;
Invited talk at University of Maastricht Individual talk Neural bases of language learning and expertise 05.03.2015 Maastricht, Netherlands, Netherlands Golestani Narly;
Swiss Society for Neuroscience 2015 Poster Modulation of auditory cortex functional connectivity when simultaneously speaking and listening 24.01.2015 Fribourg, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
10th Alpine Brain Meeting (2015) Poster Modulation of auditory cortex functional connectivity while simultaneously speaking and listening 10.01.2015 Champéry, Switzerland Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Invited talk at the University of Vienna Individual talk Neural bases of language learning and expertise 28.11.2014 Vienna, Austria, Austria Golestani Narly;
Invited talk at University of Vienna Individual talk Neural bases of language learning and expertise 27.11.2014 Vienna, Austria, Austria Golestani Narly;
55th Annual Meeting of The Psychonomic Society Poster Interactions between native and non-native vowel categories: an L2 production training study 20.11.2014 Long Beach, CA, United States of America Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Kartushina Natalia; Golestani Narly;
The Global Interpretation Forum, 3rd Rectors Conference Talk given at a conference Progress in the neurobiology of simultaneous interpreting 14.11.2014 Brussels, Belgium Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Invited talk DRCMR Copenhagen 2014 Individual talk fMRI of Simultaneous Interpretation 10.11.2014 Copenhagen, Denmark, Denmark Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
Global Excellence Lecture Individual talk fMRI of Simultaneous Interpretation Reveals Brain Networks of Extreme Language Control 01.11.2014 Copenhagen, Denmark Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
University of Groningen Auditory Seminar Individual talk fMRI of simultaneous interpretation reveals brain networks of extreme language control 01.09.2014 Groningen, Netherlands Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Society for the Neurobiology of Language Meeting Talk given at a conference A longitudinal fMRI investigation of simultaneous interpretation training 27.08.2014 Amsterdam, Netherlands Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
International Workshop on Language Production Poster Visual articulatory feedback improves production and perception of foreign speech sounds 16.07.2014 Geneva, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Kartushina Natalia; Golestani Narly;
20th Organization for Human Brain Mapping meeting Talk given at a conference A longitudinal fMRI investigation of simultaneous interpretation training 08.06.2014 Hamburg, Germany Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
20th Organization for Human Brain Mapping meeting Poster A longitudinal fMRI investigation of simultaneous interpretation training 08.06.2014 Hamburg, Germany Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
Invited talk at Waseda University Individual talk The neural correlates of simultaneous interpretation: Extreme language control overlaps with cognitive control 01.04.2014 Tokyo, Japan Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition Colloquium Individual talk The neural correlates of simultaneous interpretation: Extreme language control overlaps with cognitive control 01.09.2013 Leiden, Netherlands Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
FENS-IBRO Imaging Training Center Individual talk Brain structure: individual differences and plasticity 26.08.2013 Lausanne, Switzerland Golestani Narly;
19th International Congress of Linguists Talk given at a conference Language and brain: production-perception links 21.07.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
19th International Congress of Linguists Talk given at a conference The neural basis of simultaneous interpretation: extreme language control is executive control 21.07.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
International Symposium on Bilingualism 9 Talk given at a conference The brain basis of extreme language control: Structural and functional plasticity in trainee simultaneous interpreters revealed by magnetic resonance imaging 10.06.2013 Singapore, Singapore Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
International Workshop on Bilingualism and Cognitive Control Talk given at a conference The neural basis of simultaneous interpretation: extreme language control networks overlap with executive control networks 15.05.2013 Krakow, Poland Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Fred Jelinek Series Individual talk Expertise in simultaneous interpretation 29.04.2013 Prague, Czech Republic Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Swiss Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2013 Poster Training-induced cerebral plasticity in simultaneous interpreters 02.02.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
Swiss Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting 2013 Poster Training in simultaneous interpretation changes brain electrical activity related to language switching and task switching 02.02.2013 Geneva, Switzerland Golestani Narly; Pefkou Maria; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting 2013 Poster Training in simultaneous interpretation changes brain electrical activity related to language switching and task switching 06.01.2013 Champery, Switzerland, Switzerland Pefkou Maria; Golestani Narly; Hervais-Adelman Alexis;
Alpine Brain Imaging Meeting 2013 Poster Training-induced cerebral plasticity in simultaneous interpreters 06.01.2013 Champery, Switzerland, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
Interphonologie du Français Contemporain 2012 Talk given at a conference Les bases cérébrales du langage, du bilinguisme et de l’expertise 10.12.2012 Paris, France Golestani Narly;
Second Rectors’ Conference Talk given at a conference Neuroimaging investigations of simultaneous interpretation. How the brain handles the challenge, and the neural adaptations that come with practice 18.10.2012 Brussels, Belgium Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
4th International Conference on Auditory Cortex Poster Modulation of auditory cortex functional connectivity while simultaneously speaking and listening 31.08.2012 Lausanne, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Golestani Narly;
4th International conference on Auditory Cortex Poster Listening to degraded words: dissociating the effects of spectral reduction and spectral rotation on brain electrical activity 31.08.2012 Lausanne, Switzerland Hervais-Adelman Alexis; Pefkou Maria; Golestani Narly;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
FENS-IBRO Imaging Training Center 26.08.2013 Geneva, Switzerland

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Brain at Hand Slovenian National Radio International 2016
Media relations: radio, television CQFD: Musique et cerveau: la musique comme langage Radio Television Suisse Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Die «verlorene Sprache» bleibt Tages Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Die 'verlorene Sprache' bleibt Tages-Anzeiger German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Leistungssport fürs Gehirn Das Gehirn International 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Wieso fällt es manchen Menschen leichter, Fremdsprachen zu lernen? Das Gihirn International 2015
Media relations: radio, television Quand Deux Musiciens Discutent RTS, La 1ere Western Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media The amazing brains of the real-time interpreters BBC International 2014
Media relations: print media, online media The neuroscience of simultaneous interpretation In Other Words International 2014
Media relations: radio, television Interview on language learning in school RTS Western Switzerland 2013
Media relations: print media, online media Le Cerveau et les Métiers Science & Vie (magazine) International 2013
Media relations: radio, television Le cerveau, 100 milliards de neurones toujours en mouvement Television Western Switzerland 2012
Media relations: radio, television RTS le journal television Western Switzerland 2012

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
163756 Relative contributions of experience-dependent plasticity and of ‘innate’ influences on the brain and cognition 01.04.2016 SNSF Professorships
122085 Experience-dependant brain structural and functional plasticity in simultaneous language interpreters 01.11.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The proposed projects aim to establish an independent research group dedicated to studying the nature-nurture question with respect to the brain and language. We will longitudinally test for functional and structural brain changes resulting from expertise training in three different domains, ones spanning acoustic - phonetic - executive levels of specialization. Understanding brain malleability has important clinical applications, and is expected to yield high impact results. We will also test for innate predispositions for domain-specific skills (phonetic and acoustic processing) by testing for whether brain structure at birth predicts these skills later in life in the same individuals, and by in a third study directly aiming to identify genes that influence auditory cortex folding patterns and related phonetic and auditory skill. Evidence for innate influences would support the idea that individual differences in domain specific skills are partly predisposed, explaining one of the factors that determine observed individual differences in ease of learning, or aptitude. Findings related to predisposition can also very important applications such as the development of clinical assessment tools.
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