Public lecture

Visiting lecture: Auditory-Vestibulomotor Temporal Processing and Crossmodal Plasticity for Musical Rhythm in the Early Blind


2.11.2018 10:00 — 11:00

Location: Seminaarinmaki, Boombox, Musica
The auditory dorsal stream (ADS) is a cortical brain network responsible for sensorimotor spatiotemporal processing.

The auditory dorsal stream (ADS) is a cortical brain network responsible for sensorimotor spatiotemporal processing. However, despite the important role of vestibular input when the head or body is moving through space, as well as the strong coupling between the vestibular and visual systems, very little is known about how vestibular information is integrated with auditory-motor inputs in the ADS, nor is it known to what extent this integration is affected by early visual deprivation. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging and motion capture technology we show that the ADS includes an extension to parietoinsular vestibular cortex (PIVC) and to subcortical regions including basal ganglia and vestibular cerebellum. This circuit is engaged after sensorimotor synchronization training, during beat recognition, and is preserved in the early blind. The strength of activation of PIVC in the early blind correlates with a measure of lifetime physical spatial activity, suggesting that experience with vestibular stimulation via physical spatial activities might compensate for any negative effects of early blindness, and thus reinforcing the beneficial effects of mobility training. Finally, rhythmic entrainment provides an effective tool for studying auditory-vestibulomotor integration and music appreciation, and for developing music-based interventions for early blind individuals.

Jessica Phillips-Silver, PhD, is a researcher in the Department of Neuroscience at Georgetown University Medical Center, where she developed Georgetown's first course on Music, Brain and Body. Jessica earned a Bachelor of Humanities & Arts in psychology and music from Carnegie Mellon University, a Ph.D. in auditory development and music perception at the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind in Ontario, and conducted postdoctoral research in the International Laboratory of Brain, Music and Sound in Montreal. Jessica's research examines how 'feeling the beat' in music is a multisensory experience in infants and adults, and she documented the first case of ‘beat deafness’. She currently studies music processing and cortical plasticity in early blindness, and the development of musical rhythm and executive functions in Deaf children. Jessica’s work is published in journals including Science, Neuropsychologia, Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, and Research in Developmental Disabilities, and has been featured in USA Today, Time Magazine, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Men’s Health, the Atlantic, NPR and the Discovery Channel.

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Markku Pöyhönen


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