With the help of neuroimaging and data mining techniques the researchers mapped the brain activity associated with the recognition of speech sounds and voices.
In their Science article ”Who” is Saying “What”? Brain-Based Decoding of Human Voice and Speech the four authors demonstrate that speech sounds and voices can be identified by means of a unique 'neural fingerprint' in the listener's brain. In the future this new knowledge could be used to improve computer systems for automatic speech and speaker recognition.
Seven study subjects listened to three different speech sounds (the vowels /a/, /i/ and /u/), spoken by three different people, while their brain activity was mapped using neuroimaging techniques (fMRI). With the help of data mining methods the researchers developed an algorithm to translate this brain activity into unique patterns that determine the identity of a speech sound or a voice. The various acoustic characteristics of vocal cord vibrations (neural patterns) were found to determine the brain activity. Just like real fingerprints, these neural patterns are both unique and specific: the neural fingerprint of a speech sound does not change if uttered by somebody else and a speaker's fingerprint remains the same, even if this person says something different.
Moreover, this study revealed that part of the complex sound-decoding process takes place in areas of the brain previously just associated with the early stages of sound processing. Existing neurocognitive models assume that processing sounds actively involves different regions of the brain according to a certain hierarchy: after a simple processing in the auditory cortex the more complex analysis (speech sounds into words) takes place in specialised regions of the brain. However, the findings from this study imply a less hierarchal processing of speech that is spread out more across the brain.
The research was partly funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO): Two of the four authors, Elia Formisano and Milene Bonte carried out their research with an NWO grant (Vidi and Veni). The data mining methods were developed during the PhD research of Federico De Martino (doctoral thesis defended at Maastricht University on 24 October 2008).
Kim van den Wijngaard | alfa
High-Speed Locomotion Neurons Found in the Brainstem
24.10.2017 | Universität Basel
Antibiotic resistance: a strain of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli is on the rise
24.10.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.10.2017 | Life Sciences