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An auditory thread: music, sleep, brain stimulation, and neuroplasticity

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Tristan Bekinschtein.

Our lab focuses on neuroplasticity associated with complex tasks, using musicianship (and its interaction with language) as a model. We use a variety of neuroimaging tools (i.e. MEG , EEG, fMRI, DWI , VBM) to study the neural bases of auditory processing, hearing-in-noise, and musician advantages, and their relation to training. We are also combining these areas with new techniques that can causally influence sleep-dependent memory consolidation, such as closed-loop auditory stimulation. Ultimately, our goals are to understand how training and sleep interventions can maintain auditory and language function, and improve learning and quality of life throughout the lifespan.

In this talk, I will trace a thread through our recent work, starting with how neurophysiological measures of sound musical pitch and vowels vary amongst individuals and according to musical and linguistic expertise. I will discuss results linking the quality of basic sound encoding to important functions like understanding speech in noisy conditions, and then will show some of our new preliminary work on how the brain both processes sounds differently in sleep, and how the sleeping brain’s processes are in turn susceptible to influences of precisely-timed sounds.

Mini Bio: Dr. Coffey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Concordia University, in Montreal, Canada. She received a Ph.D. in Neuroscience in 2016 from McGill University (with Prof. Robert Zatorre), an M.Sc. (Research) in Brain and Cognitive Science in 2009 from the University of Amsterdam, and a B.Sc. (Honours) in Psychology from the University of Ottawa in 2006. Between 2006 and 2009 she worked as a Human Behaviour and Performance specialist and trainer at the European Space Agency (European Astronaut Centre, Cologne, Germany), and between 2002 and 2005 as a flight and theory instructor on light aircraft at several airports in Ottawa, Canada. Most recently, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, under the supervision of Prof. Jan Born.

This talk is part of the Zangwill Club series.

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