February 1, 2019 at 5:45 pm

Quantitative Biology Seminar | Subcortical Pitch Representation in Neonates and Adults, Feb. 26

The Quantitative Biology Seminar series presents Dr. Fuh-Cherng Jeng discussing “Subcortical Pitch Representation in Neonates and Adults” on Feb. 26, at 4 p.m. in Morton 127.

The seminar is sponsored by the Quantitative Biology Institute.

Fuh-Cherng Jeng, portrait in his office

Dr. Fuh-Cherng Jeng

Jeng is Associate Professor of Communication Sciences & Disorders in the College of Health Sciences & Professions at Ohio University.

Abstract: Voice pitch is an important cue for speech understanding in both non-tonal and tonal languages around the globe. For example, in non-tonal languages such as American English, a change in voice pitch or intonation can turn a statement (i.e., “We’re working today.”) into a question (i.e., “We’re working today?”). In tonal languages, such as Mandarin Chinese, differences in voice pitch can change the meaning of words entirely. Across languages, deficits in pitch perception are found in individuals with hearing impairments, language-based learning problems, autism, and specific language impairment. The importance of voice pitch for communication is obvious. One accepted method of tracking changes in voice pitch is called Frequency-Following Response (FFR). This test is an objective, noninvasive, auditory electrophysiological technique that measures the ensemble response of neurons at the subcortical level. Recent success in developing new techniques needed to record the FFR to voice pitch in neonates and adults not only demonstrates the feasibility of FFR as an objective and non-invasive way to assess the processing of voice pitch, but also opens a window to help elucidate the pitch-processing mechanisms and language-acquisition theories that are associated with the acquisition of voice-pitch processing during the early stages of life.

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