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Language beyond Words: The Neuroscience of Accent

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889451074 Year: Pages: 174 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88945-107-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2017-07-06 13:27:36
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Language learning also implies the acquisition of a set of phonetic rules and prosodic contours which define the accent in that language. While often considered as merely accessory, accent is an essential component of psychological identity as it embodies information on origin, culture, and social class. Speaking with a non-standard (foreign) accent is not inconsequential because it may negatively impact communication and social adjustment. Nevertheless, the lack of a formal definition of accent may explain that, as compared with other aspects of language, it has received relatively little attention until recently. During the past decade there has been increasing interest in the analysis of accent from a neuroscientific perspective. This e-book integrates data from different scientific frameworks. The reader will find fruitful research on new models of accent processing, how learning a new accent proceeds, and the role of feedback on accent learning in healthy subjects. In addition, information on accent changes in pathological conditions including developmental and psychogenic foreign accent syndromes as well as the description of a new variant of foreign accent syndrome is also included. It is anticipated that the articles in this e-book will enhance the understanding of accent as a linguistic phenomenon, the neural networks supporting it and potential interventions to accelerate acquisition or relearning of native accents.

The chronic challenge - new vistas on long-term multisite contacts to the central nervous system

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Book Series: Frontiers Research Topics ISSN: 16648714 ISBN: 9782889195084 Year: Pages: 161 DOI: 10.3389/978-2-88919-508-4 Language: English
Publisher: Frontiers Media SA
Subject: Neurology --- Science (General)
Added to DOAB on : 2015-12-03 13:02:24
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Have you ever heard of a Hype-Cycle? It is a description that was put forward by an IT consultancy firm to describe certain phenomena that happen within the life cycle of new technology products. As Fenn and Raskino stated in their book (Fenn and Raskino 2008), a novel technology - a - “Technology Trigger” - gives rise to a steep increase in interest, leading to the “Peak of Inflated Expectations”. Following an accumulation of more detailed knowledge on the technology and its short-comings, the stake holders may need to traverse a “Trough of Disillusionment”, which is followed by a shallower “Slope of Enlightenment”, before finally reaching the “Plateau of Productivity”. In spite of the limitations and criticisms levied on this over-simplified description of a technology’s life-cycle, it is nonetheless able to describe well the situation we are all experiencing within the brain-machine-interfacing community. Our technology trigger was the development of batch-processed multisite neuronal interfaces based on silicon during the 1980s and 1990s (Sangler and Wise 1990, Campbell, Jones et al. 1991, Wise and Najafi 1991, Rousche and Normann 1992, Nordhausen, Maynard et al. 1996). This gave rise to a seemingly exponential growth of knowledge within the neurosciences, leading to the expectation of thought-controlled devices and prostheses for handicapped people in the very near future (Chapin, Moxon et al. 1999, Wessberg, Stambaugh et al. 2000, Chapin and Moxon 2001, Serruya, Hatsopoulos et al. 2002). Unfortunately, whereas significant steps towards artificial robotic limbs could have been implemented during the last decade (Johannes, Bigelow et al. 2011, Oung, Pohl et al. 2012, Belter, Segil et al. 2013), direct invasive intracortical interfacing was not quite able to keep up with these expectations. Insofar, we are currently facing the challenging, but tedious walk through the Trough of Disillusionment. Undoubtedly, more than two decades of intense research on brain-machine-interfaces (BMI’s) have produced a tremendous wealth of information towards the ultimate goal: a clinically useful cortical prosthesis. Unfortunately even today - after huge fiscal efforts - the goal seems almost to be as far away as it was when it was originally put forward. At the very least, we have to state that one of the main challenges towards a clinical useful BMI has not been sufficiently answered yet: regarding the long term – or even truly chronic – stability of the neural cortical interface, as well as the signals it has to provide over a significant fraction of a human’s lifespan. Even the recently demonstrated advances in BMI’s in both humans and non-human primates have to deal with a severe decay of spiking activity that occurs over weeks and months (Chestek, Gilja et al. 2011, Hochberg, Bacher et al. 2012, Collinger, Kryger et al. 2014, Nuyujukian, Kao et al. 2014, Stavisky, Kao et al. 2014, Wodlinger, Downey et al. 2014) and resolve to simplified features to keep a brain-derived communication channel open (Christie, Tat et al. 2014).

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