New NSF-funded study of musical training and auditory processing

By Tyler Perrachione
September 15th, 2018 in Uncategorized.

The Perrachione Lab has been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study whether formal musical training is associated with enhanced neural processing and perception of sounds, including speech in noisy backgrounds. Music forms an important part of our lives and is one of the few universals shared by all human cultures. This project will test the hypothesis that early musical exposure has benefits that extend beyond music to critical aspects of human communication, such as speech perception in noise.

The Perrachione Lab at BU is one center in an nationwide collaboration pursuing this project, led by Andrew Oxenham at the University of Minnesota, and including other centers at Purdue University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the University of Rochester.

Title: “NeuroDataRR. Collaborative Research: Testing the relationship between musical training and enhanced neural coding and perception in noise.”
Project Number: 1840818
Read more information about this grant at the NSF.

New NIH-funded study of brain structure in dyslexia

By Tyler Perrachione
September 1st, 2018 in Awards and Recognition, Reading and Language Development and Disorders.

The Perrachione Lab has been awarded a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study differences in brain anatomy in individuals with dyslexia. This project will study a collection of brain scans from over 1,200 children and adults with dyslexia or typical reading. Using these brain scans, we will determine whether any features of brain anatomy (such as morphology, morphometry, and cortical geometry) are related to reading ability or reading impairment.

Brian scans showing single or reduplicated Heschl's gyrus.

Brain scans showing differences in gross cortical morphology of the temporal lobe. The top row shows a brain with a single convolution of Heschl’s gyrus (H1); the bottom row shows a different brain with a dual convolution (reduplication) of this gyrus (H2). (PT, planum temporale). This study will examine wither this, or any other anatomical feature, is associated with development of reading skills.

Led by the Perrachione Lab at BU, a nation-wide team of collaborators are contributing to this project, including scientists at MIT, Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, the University of Delaware, Northwestern University, and the University of Washington. This project is supported by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).

Title: “Cortical development and neuroanatomical anomalies in developmental dyslexia.”
Project Number: R03HD096098
Read more information about this grant on NIH RePORTER

Mapping clinical tests of language and working memory at SNL 2018

By Tyler Perrachione
August 15th, 2018 in Lab Members, Reading and Language Development and Disorders, Talks and Presentations.

Terri Scott, CNRLab member and PhD candidate in Neuroscience, presented her new research on the brain bases of nonword repetition – an important clinical assessment of language skills – at the recent meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language in Quebec City. Terri discovered that the parts of the brain responsible for nonword repetition are also recruited for both language processing and working memory.

Scott, T.L., Dougherty, S.C., Choi, J.Y. & Perrachione, T.K. (2018). “Nonword repetition recruits distinct and overlapping nodes of language and working memory networks.10th Annual Meeting of the Society for the Neurobiology of Language (Quebec City, August 2018).

Talker Variability at ASA 2018 in Minneapolis

By Tyler Perrachione
May 14th, 2018 in Talks and Presentations.

Scientists from the CNRLab presented two new research studies on perception and cognition of talker variability at the May 2018 of the Acoustical Society of America in Minneapolis, including the results from a Sargent Senior Thesis for Distinction completed by lab alumna Kristina Furbeck. Download copies of our presentations below:

Sung-Joo Lim2018-CNS-VCWMLim, S.-J., Tin, J.A.A. Shinn-Cunningham, B.G., & Perrachione, T.K. (2018). “Impact of talker adaptation on speech processing and working memory.175th Meeting of  the Acoustical Society of America (Minneapolis, May 2018).

2018-ASA-TRTSFurbeck, K.T., Thurston, E.J., Tin, J.A.A., & Perrachione, T.K. (2018). “Perceptual similarity judgments of voices: Effects of talker and listener language, vocal source acoustics, and time-reversal.175th Meeting of  the Acoustical Society of America (Minneapolis, May 2018).

Decoding the brain in unprecedented detail

By Tyler Perrachione
February 12th, 2018 in Uncategorized.

Brain slices showing speech activation

Areas of the brain active when listening to spoken words.

CNRLab scientists are using the new Siemens 3T Prisma scanner at the BU Cognitive Neuroimaging Center to study how the brain consistently recognizes speech in different contexts. Read more about our experiences with the new imaging center in this article from BU Today.


Dr. Perrachione at the new Siemens Prisma 3T MRI scanner at the BU Cognitive Neuroimaging Center.
(Photo by Mira Whiting Photogramphy.)


Three CNRLab presentations at CNS 2018

By Tyler Perrachione
January 23rd, 2018 in Talks and Presentations.

Scientists from the CNRLab will present three new studies at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society in Boston in March. See you there!

2018-CNS-VCWMImpact of talker adaptation on speech processing and working memory.
Abstract | Poster
(Lim et al.)

2018-CNS-PWMDLDCommon recruitment of neural resources for phonological working memory regardless of behavioral demands.
Abstract | Poster
(Scott et al.)

2018-CNS-LAPCASLNeural responses during procedural memory tasks are related to foreign language learning outcomes.
Abstract | Poster
(Perrachione et al.)

Dyslexia Paradox

By Tyler Perrachione
October 25th, 2017 in Reading and Language Development and Disorders.

Differences in how the brain adapts to sights and sounds could be at the root of reading disorders. Read the full story from Inside Sargent.


Congratulations to our 2017 CNRLab graduates!

By Tyler Perrachione
May 21st, 2017 in Lab Members.

Congratulations to the newest CNRLab graduates! They’ve accomplished amazing things in the lab and here at BU, and they’re all off to great things next!

  • Cheng (Cissy) Cheng, MS-SLP
    Thesis: “Can visual feedback improve English speakers’ Mandarin tone production?”
  • Sara Dougherty, MEd; Developmental Studies: Literacy & Language Education
  • Jennifer Golditch, MS-SLP
  • Dana Gordon, BS; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
  • Laura Haenchen, MS-SLP
    Thesis: “Noninvasive neurostimulation of sensorimotor adaptation in speech production.”
  • Deirdre McLaughlin, MS-SLP
    Thesis: “Talker identification is not improved by lexical access in the absence of familiar phonology.”
  • Alina Razak, BS; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences
    Thesis: “Who’s at the cocktail party? Effects of noise on talker identification.”


Dyslexia and the brain: A problem with rapid neural adaptation

By Tyler Perrachione
December 21st, 2016 in Popular Media, Reading and Language Development and Disorders.


Our new findings, published today in Neuron, reveal that the brains of children and adults with dyslexia show less rapid neural adaptation than the brains of typical readers. Rapid neural adaptation is a kind of learning that the brain does in just a few seconds to make perception more efficient. A dysfunction of rapid neural adaptation may make it difficult for individuals with dyslexia to coordinate the demanding neural plasticity involved in learning to read.

Exploring how the brain understands sentences

By Tyler Perrachione
October 11th, 2016 in Uncategorized.

tlscottA new paper in PNAS, coauthored by Terri Scott, CNRLab doctoral student, and researchers at Harvard (Ev Fedorenko) and MIT (Nancy Kanwisher), explores how the brain extracts meaning as sentences unfold. This work “opens up new avenues for investigating the sequence of neural events that underlie construction of linguistic meaning.”

Fedorenko et al. (2016) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Citation: Fedorenko E, Scott TL, Brunner P, Coon WG, Pritchett B, Schalk G, & Kanwisher N. (2016). “Neural correlate of the construction of sentence meaning.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 113(41), E6256E6262.