Geschäftsführender Direktor

Prof. Dr. Michael Winklhofer

+49 (0)441 798-3305


Dr. Nina Gaßmann

+49 (0)441 798-5475

+49 (0)441 798-195475

Hanse Lectures in Neurosciences: "From ears to brain (and back): Imaging the brain computations for sound analysis"

Prof. Dr. Elia Formisano ( Maastricht Brain Imaging Center, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Maastricht University, The Netherlands) is going to be the first speaker of the Hanse Lectures in Neuroscience at the Hanse Institute for Advanced Study in Delmenhorst. Prof. Formisano graduated in Electronic Engineering and Bioengineering and was a research fellow at the MPI for Brain Research at Frankfurt. In 2000 he was appointed Assistant Professor at Maastricht University where he now holds a Professorship in Neuroimaging Methods and is the Director of the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center. His research focuses on the neural basis of human auditory perception, cognition and plasticity as well as on models of supervised and unsupervised learning.  Abstract:
A friend speaking, a bird chirping, a piano playing. Any living being or non-living object that vibrates generates acoustic waveforms, which we call sounds. How does our brain transform these acoustic vibrations into meaningful percepts? This lecture illustrates current research based on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) aimed at discovering the computations the brain performs to achieve this amazing feat. In a first part, I will present research combining high resolution fMRI with computational modelling aiming at revealing how natural sounds are encoded in auditory cortex, the part of the brain most relevant for the processing of sounds. Results show that in humans (as well as in macaque monkeys) the cortical encoding of natural sounds entails the simultaneous formation of multiple representations with different degrees of spectral and temporal detail. This multi-resolution analysis of sounds may be crucially relevant for enabling flexible and context-dependent processing of the sounds, in the highly dynamic everyday environment. Analyses of cross-species differences between human and macaque monkeys suggest that - in the human cortex alone - even "general purpose" cortical mechanisms of sound analysis are shaped by the characteristic acoustic properties of speech. In a second part, I will show how the high spatial resolution (< 1 mm) and specificity achievable with new fMRI techniques at ultra-high magnetic fields (7 and 9.4 Tesla) opens up the possibility to examine "unknown" territories in humans, such as the columnar and laminar architecture in primary auditory cortical areas. Finally, I will elaborate on the potential and challenges of combining computational modeling and laminar fMRI to study relevant neuro-computational mechanisms in human auditory cortex.

Lecture and discussion from 7:00 pm until approximately 8:00 pm followed by dinner and informal discussion in the HWK Bistro. The lecture is open to everybody, but registration is required for this event (by replying to ).

26.10.2017 19:00 – 20:00

(Stand: 13.06.2023)  |