Over the course of the lab rotation, you will be introduced to brain stimulation, brain imaging and behavioural experiments in humans on the basis of ongoing experiments:
Difficulty in understanding speech in noisy environment is a common problem in older adults. This difficulty results from age-related peripheral hearing loss and decline of neural mechanisms that support speech perception. The proposed project will focus on the effects of aging and hearing loss on auditory and motor systems and their interaction during speech processing.
Evidence shows that auditory-motor interactions contribute to phonemic categorization of speech sounds in young adults. The motor system is also likely to contribute to the generation of temporal predictions that support auditory processing of continuous rhythmic signals like speech. It has been proposed that upregulation of the motor processes can compensate for the decline of auditory processes in older adults. Our recent study shows, however, that older adults with hearing loss within the speech frequency range (up to 4 kilohertz) show a reduction in recruitment of the motor system during listening to continuous speech signals, which may contribute to their speech perception difficulties.
The specific research questions will be determined depending on your interests. The project has two main objectives:
The population of the U.K. is aging rapidly and it has been estimated that 60% of over 65 year olds have a hearing impairment. Investigation of age-related decline of speech perception and development of new rehabilitation programs are important, because communication difficulties can lead to social isolation, depression and cognitive decline. The ability of communicate effectively and effortlessly is essential for heathy and happy late adulthood.
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