When a sound becomes speech

February 20, 2013

Within this project, it is aimed to explore the neuronal mechanisms behind auditory processing and functional lateralisation, i.e. the effect that specific information are processed only either in the left or right hemisphere.

The project has been lead by Karsten Specht since May 2008.

For example, speech is mainly processed by the left hemisphere, music, but also complex visual task such as mental rotation, are processed mainly by the right hemisphere. However, the differentiation varies between males and females, and, even more, varies in females with respect to their hormonal cycle.

The aim of the entire project is therefore to investigate the mechanisms behind functional lateralisation and sex-differences by applying different neuroimaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) or event related potentials (ERP), which are methods that could measure how the brain responses to specific tasks and stimulations. In particular the lateralised processing of speech is a central aspect in the project. It is planed to develop paradigms that implicitly test the perception of speech signals, which, in the next step, could be applied also to subjects with speech and language disorders, such as stuttering, dyslexia or aphasia, as changes in the lateralised processing of speech are discussed in those cases.

The research group is leaded by Karsten Specht, who has background in physics and neuroscience, and moved to Bergen in 2004. Besides a research technician, the group includes two PhD students, where one has a degree in clinical psychology (Berge Osnes) and the other a master in neuroscience (Helene Hjelmervik). In addition, students from the master program in logopedics as well as bachelor or clinical psychology students are temporarily complimenting the group during their work on their thesis.

Name: Karsten Specht
Age: 38
P.Hd: PhD in Neuroscience, 2003, Universiteteti MagdeBurg, Germany
Citizenship: German
Department: Department of Biological and Medical Psychology
Grant from BFS: NOK 6,063,000
Own Funding UoB: NOK 6,603,000
Start-/ stop project: 2008 – 2012
Web: http://www.uib.no/persons/Karsten.Specht

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