Internationale Kooperation 'Kognitive Linguistik' / ' Neurolinguistik'



anglobe.gif (119173 Byte)             European network "CONSEL":
             
             
             
             

   

              Erasmus - Sokrates - Lebenslanges Lernen

(Alte Sokrates-Seite des Deutschen Seminars
und der Neurolinguistik am Deutschen Seminar 1)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

European network "CONSEL"

CONSEL A: Overview
CONSEL B:
B.1 Scientific and technological objectives of the network and state of the art
B.2 Relevance
B.3 Potential impact
B.4 Contribution to Standards
B.5 Network Resources / Participants
 

 

CONSEL A

Network-acronym: CONSEL

Network-title: Control and Selection: Executive Abilities in Central Auditory Processing

Abstract / Zusammenfassung

Kognitive Steuerungen (auch 'exekutive' Verarbeitung genannt) werden zum Kernbereich typisch menschlicher Fähigkeiten gerechnet; dabei unterscheiden wir im wesentlichen zwischen Auswahl- und Kontrollprozessen  (auf den strukturellen Kern reduziert meint 'Kontrolle' die Überprüfung an 'Soll-Werten'). - 'Kontroll-' und 'Auswahlprozesse' impliziert 'Bewußtsein'. Doch müssen wir auch nicht-bewußte kognitive Steuerungen unterstellen.

'Kindliche Entwicklung' - auch so grundsätzlicher Fähigkeiten wie der sensorischen Verarbeitung und der Planung und Ausführung von Bewegungen - bedeutet ganz wesentlich die Entwicklung von (nicht bewußten, automatisierten) Kontroll- und Auswahlprozessen. Und das gilt nicht zuletzt für die zentralauditive Verarbeitung von Sprachlauten und die motorische Kontrolle der Artikulation.

Im letzten Jahrzehnt haben sich zunehmend viele Forscher gerade der zentralauditiven Verarbeitung und den hier begegnenden kognitiven Steuerungen zugewendet. Dabei können nur interdisziplinär (neurobiology [neurophysiology], several medical subdisciplines, neuropsychology, neurolingistics) Fortschritte erzielt werden. - Wir wollen die bereits bestehenden losen Beziehungen zu einem Netzwerk ausbauen. In der Netzwerkarbeit stehen der regelmäßige Austausch und die wechselseitige Unterstützung der laufenden und geplanten Forschungsvorhaben im Vordergrund. Dabei setzen wir u.a. - auf Trainingsprogramme, die sowohl Praktika wie Intensivkurse in den verwendeten Methoden (behaviorale Testdesigns, EEG/ERP, fMRI) umfassen / - auf den Aufbau einer für alle zugänglichen Datenbank / - auf gemeinsam erarbeitete Standardisierungen in den Methoden (z.B. in den ERP-Designs) und in der Durchführung von Projekten. Ziel ist letztlich eine weithin einheitliche europäische Forschungslandschaft, die auch sehr große (gemeinsame) Forschungsvorhaben möglich macht.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

'Cognitive monitoring' (as part of executive functions) belongs to the core faculties that are considered to be typically human. We differentiate chiefly between control and selection processes. Control is the testing, maintaining, and regulating of norms or parameters. Selection is the choice between two or more alternatives – which would be to initiate, continue, or inhibit processing steps and routines. Control and selection imply “consciousness” but we must also assume that unconscious cognitive processes are involved.

The maturation of unconscious, automated control and selection processes plays a large role in child development. This includes basic sensory processing and planning and execution of motor functions; in the area of language this means: central-auditory processing of speech sounds and motor control of the articulation.

For the past decade, many researchers have focused on central auditory processing and the cognitive control processes involved therein. Only interdisciplinary work (neurobiology (neurophysiology), several medical subdisciplines, neuropsychology, neurolinguistics) can advance our knowledge in this area. From the contacts that have been established in the past, we intend to build a strong network with the main purpose to exchange research ideas regularly and support each other in current and future research projects. This will be achieved through regular meetings and workshops, internships, traineeships in the research methods (behavioral test designs, EEG/ERP, fMRI), video conference calls, the establishment of a data base that will be available to all members, the development of common standards (e.g. in the ERP-designs and analysis).

The major goal of our network is a unified European research community. Within this large community, it would be possible to carry out comprehensive research projects of wide public or even European interest.

 

List of participants / Teilnehmer

1

Albert-Ludwigs-Universität

UniFreiburg

Freiburg i.B.

Germany

2

Research Institute for Psychology (HAS)

HAS-Budapest

Budapest

Hungary

3

Institute for Cognition and Information

NICINijmegen

Nijmegen

Netherlands

4

University of  Maastricht

UniMaastricht

Maastricht

Netherlands

5

University of London

UniLondon

London

United Kingdom

6

School of Psychology

PsycholBangor

Bangor

United Kingdom

7

University of Jaume I

UniJaume

Jaume

Spain

8

University of  Barcelona

UniBarcelona

Barcelona

Spain

9

University of Jyväskylä

UniJyväskylä

Jyväskylä

Finland

10

University of Turku

UniTurku

Turku

Finland

11

Collegium for Advanced Studies

HelsinkiColl

Helsinki

Finland

12

INSERM, Université Tours

InsermTours

Tours

France

13

UMR 6196 - CNRS Marseille

CNRS Marseille

Marseille

France

14

INSERM U562 Orsay

InsermOrsay

Orsay (Paris)

France

15

Max Planck Institute

PlanckLeipzig

Leipzig

Germany

16

Universität Leipzig

UniLeipzig

Leipzig

Germany

17

Universität Mainz

UniMainz

Mainz

Germany

18

Universitätsklinik Duisburg-Essen

KlinikDEssen

Essen

Germany

19

Universitätsklinik Marburg

KlinikMarburg

Marburg

Germany

 

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

CONSEL B

 B.1 Scientific and technological objectives of the network and state of the art

Der Gegenstandsbereich des Netzwerks sind „exekutive Fähigkeiten“. Hier geht es um „unbewußte kognitive Steuerungen und deren Entwicklung im Kindes- und Jugendalter“ (Schwerpunkt ist dabei die Rolle unbewußter kognitiver Steuerungen im Spracherwerb).

 Das ist ein Gegenstandsbereich, der nur interdisziplinär und 'grenzüberschreitend' (across diverse fields) bearbeitet werden kann. - An wissenschaftlichen Disziplinen sind beteiligt die Neurobiologie (Neurophysiologie), die Sprachwissenschaft (Neurolinguistik), die Psychologie (Neuropsychologie) und verschiedene medizinische Teildisziplinen (insbesondere die 'Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie').

 Was soll thematisch erreicht werden? Global geht es um

·        progress towards an integrated understanding of human cognition - and

·        generation of ideas for further development of “what it means to be human”.

Im Detail geht es um

·        Einsichten in die Struktur und Entwicklung unbewußter kognitiver Steuerungsprozesse,

·        die auch unser Wissen um bewußte und in der Regel außerordentlich komplexe kognitive Verarbeitungsschritte wie "reasoning" oder "decision making" fördern.

·        Der Unterschied von unbewußter und bewußter Verarbeitung seinerseits erlaubt Rückschlüsse auf die besonderen Eigenschaften und Leistungen von 'Bewußtsein'.

Wieweit die hier skizzierten thematischen Perspektiven umgesetzt werden können, wird sich zeigen. - Globales Ziel der interdisziplinären und 'grenzüberschreitenden' (cross-area) Netzwerkarbeit ist die Vernetzung laufender Forschungsvorhaben miteinander.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

The intended network of researchers is concerned with "executive abilities". Of interest is pre-attentive cognitive control and its development in children and adolescents (with particular emphasis on the role played by cognitive control in language acquisition).

The object of this research can only be achieved across the diverse specialist fields in an interdisciplinary approach; Neurobiology (Neurophysiology), Neurolinguistics, Psychology (Neuropsychology) and various medical sub-disciplines (Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in particular).

What are the aims of this enterprise? Generally, it concerns:

·        Progressing toward an integrated understanding of human cognition - and

·        The generation of ideas for further development of “what it means to be human”.

More specifically this involves:

·        Developing our knowledge of the structure and development of pre-attentive cognitive control processes;

·        Using this as a basis to a more in-depth appreciation of the conscious, mostly very complex aspects of cognitive processing such as "reasoning" or "decision making"; and

·        Drawing on the differences between pre-attentive and attentive processing to elucidate the special features and functions of consciousness. 

The extent to which these goals will be achieved will become apparent in a number of intended conferences. - The global aims of the research network are to unite existing research projects in the network.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

 B.2 Relevance

Thematisch betreten Projekte, die sich der Erforschung unbewußter kognitiver Steuerungsprozesse und deren Funktion und Entwicklung gerade im Rahmen des Spracherwerbs widmen, Neuland. Das Thema verbindet Gegenstandsbereiche (kognitive Steuerungsprozesse - Entwicklung kognitiver Fähigkeiten, Spracherwerb), die in der Regel getrennt bearbeitet werden (vgl. aber das Beispiel Piagets). Die Netzwerkteilnehmer gehen davon aus, dass eine solche explorative 'cross-area-research' wegweisend ist - wegweisend für unser Wissen um kognitive Steuerungsprozesse (auch dasjenige um bewußte kognitive Steuerungsprozesse), wegweisend für unser Wissen um zentrale Stadien der Entwicklung von Kindern und Jugendlichen, wegweisend für unsere Vorstellungen von Sprachwerwerb.

Auch dem Zuschnitt der geplanten Netzwerkarbeit nach betritt das Netzwerk Neuland. Erklärtes Ziel ist es, im Rahmen Grenzen-überschreitender (interdisziplinärer) Forschungsverbünde (cross-area-research) zu neuartigen und wegweisenden Formen europäischer Zusammenarbeit zu kommen

Die Netzwerkteilnehmer verstehen die interdisziplinäre Zusammenarbeit und deren insgesamt neuartige Qualität als Modell und Orientierungsangebot auch für andere Forschungszusammenhänge in Europa. Ergebnis könnte inhaltlich eine neue Form der 'universitas' sein, die jedoch nur auf der Basis entsprechender Formen der wissenschaftlichen Zusammenarbeit zu verwirklichen ist.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

The projects that deal with improving our understanding of pre-attentive cognitive control processes, their function and development will work in what could be regarded as virgin territory, especially in the domain of language acquisition. The research field lies outside the thematic priority areas of Fp6; it merges the areas of research (cognitive control processes - development of cognitive abilities, language acquisition) that are normally investigated in isolation from one another (cf. however the example of Piaget) The network participants are working on the basis that this approach to explorative 'cross-area-research' is indeed path-finding and progressive - in that it will promote our knowledge of cognitive control processes (as well as those that are consciously controlled), in that it will further our understanding of the central phases in the development of children and adolescents, and progressive for our appreciation of language acquisition.

 The network participants see the described structure of interdisciplinary work and its essential new quality as a model and orientation for other research networks in Europe, the result of which could be the founding of a new form of University, that can however only be accomplished on the background of scientific cooperation.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

 B.3 Potential impact

Nicht-bewußte (automatische) kognitive Steuerungsprozesse sind im Rahmen der Erforschung exekutiver Fähigkeiten bisher nur am Rande aufgegriffen worden. Dabei erlauben gerade sie es, elementare Schritte zu isolieren und deren Zusammenwirken zu analysieren. Gerade der Gegensatz von unbewußter und bewußter Verarbeitung (wie er beispielsweise im Rahmen elektrophysiologischer Untersuchungsdesigns als Unterschied von passivem und aktivem mismatch-design in Erscheinung tritt) erlaubt relevante Rückschlüsse auf die besonderen Eigenschaften von Bewußtsein.- Wir gehen so weit, zu behaupten, dass zu einem Verständnis bewußter, intendierter Verarbeitungsschritte wie "reasoning" oder "decision making" die Analyse nicht-bewußter kognitiver Steuerungsprozesse und die Konfrontation solcher Verarbeitungsschritte mit bewußter Verarbeitung unverzichtbar ist.

In den Forschungsbemühungen der Netzwerkteilnehmer werden unbewußte kogntive Steuerungen auch in ihrer Entwicklung thematisiert; ein Schwerpunkt ist hier die Funktion unbewußter kognitiver Steuerungen  im Spracherwerb. Die Netzwerkteilnehmer sind der Überzeugung, dass eine solche explorative 'cross-area-research' auch unser Wissen um zentrale Stadien der Entwicklung von Kindern und Jugendlichen und unsere Vorstellungen vom Spracherwerb langfristig entscheidend vertiefen und verändern wird.

Die Arbeit konzentriert sich auf Forschungen, die solche nicht-bewußten kognitiven Steuerungen aufarbeiten. Das geplante Netzwerk widmet sich also einem bisher eher vernachlässigten Forschungsbereich des 'human mind' und wird hier angesiedelte Forschungsprojekte koordinieren und systematisieren, aber auch entsprechende neue Forschungsvorhaben initiieren. Dabei wird es immer auch um die Entwicklung nicht-bewußter (automatischer) kognitiver Steuerungen im Kindes- und Jugendalter gehen; Schwerpunkt wird hier der Spracherwerb und die Funktion und Leistung nicht-bewußter kognitiver Steuerungen im Rahmen der sich entwickelnden Sprachverarbeitung sein.

Die geplante Netzwerkarbeit wird das gemeinsame Thema ('nicht-bewußte Formen kognitiver Steuerung und deren Entwicklung im Kindes- und Jugendalter') in den Vordergrund der Aufmerksamkeit der wissenschaftlichen wie nicht-wissenschaftlichen Öffentlichkeit rücken. Damit soll dem Thema der ihm gebührenden Platz im Rahmen der Erforschung exekutiver Fähigkeiten eingeräumt werden.

Was die intendierte Netzwerkarbeit selber angeht, so sollen die in einzelnen Arbeitsgruppen erarbeiteten Ergebnisse wie die im Netzwerk erreichten Formen an Koordination und Zusammenarbeit zu einer neuen Qualität wissenschaftlichen Austauschs beitragen; solche zukunftsorientierten Formen des Miteinander sind für eine nachhaltige Forschungsförderung und -entwicklung notwendig. Das betriftt vor allem

·        die gemeinsame, systematische Sichtung der Forschungsliteratur und die Dokumentation von Studiendesigns und Durchführungsmodalitäten,

·        die Entwicklung verbindlicher methodischer Standards (einschließlich der Durchführung von Studien)

·        die Entwicklung zukünftiger Forschungsfragen und Antragsskizzen (und damit die Gewichtung spezifischer Teilthemen).

·        Schließlich sollen die im Netzwerk repräsentierten grundlagenorientierten Forschungsprojekte und -vorhaben auf zwei höchst relevante Anwendungskontexte bezogen werden (das sind kindliche Entwicklungsstörungen und Mehrsprachigkeit im Kindes- und Jugendalter). Das soll zugleich ein zusätzliches Stück an Legitimation der im Netzwerk betriebenen grundlagenorientierten Forschung erbringen.

Die im Netzwerk installierte Zusammenarbeit und die hier entwickelten Forschungsstandards und Forschungsperspektiven sollen und werden weit über den Zeitraum hinausreichen, in dem das Netzwerk arbeitet.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

Pre-attentive (automatic) cognitive processes of control, have up till now been left at the margin of research on executive abilities and performance, although these processes allow to segregate basic steps and to analyse their cooperation in cognitive monitoring. It is the very presence of controlled and automatic processing (as demonstrated, for instance, in the distinction between passive and active mismatch-design in electrophysiological investigative designs) that allows conclusions to be drawn about the features of consciousness. We would go as far as to claim that the analysis of pre-attentive cognitive control processes and the confrontation of such processes with conscious processing is a prerequisite for the elucidation of attentive and intentional operations of processing as in "reasoning" or "decision making"

 The research of the network members will be directed particularly toward pre-attentive cognitive control processes and their development; the focus is placed here on the function of pre-attentive cognitive control in language acquisition. The network of members are certain that this explorative 'cross-area-research' will lead to important findings about the basic stages of development of children and adolescents and forward and enhance our current understanding of language acquisition decisively, shaping the course of future research.

 The application outlines the incorporation of research groups that are involved in these cognitive control processes. The network is dedicated to fostering the somewhat neglected research domain of the 'human mind' and will coordinate and systemise the research in this area and promote corresponding new research initiatives. The development of pre-attentive (automatic) cognitive processes of control takes centre stage also in this research area, the focus of which is language acquisition and function and performance of pre-attentive cognitive control during the development of language processing.

 The network will shift the topic (pre-attentive forms of cognitive control and its development in children and adolescents) into the scientific and non-scientific view. This will place the research of executive performance where it ought to be.

 The work of the network is to contribute to a new quality of scientific exchange on the basis of the results of individual work groups and on the accomplished forms of cooperation and coordination of the network members; these progressive and innovative forms of cooperation are imperative for the continued promotion and development of research. This is particularly true of the following:

·        The joint and systematic inspection of the research literature and documentation of study designs and forms of investigative procedure;

·        The development of progressive research questions and draft applications (including the emphasise on specific aspects of more generic issues)

·        Finally, the fundamental research as presented by the network members will be brought into the context of two highly relevant areas of application (that is, Child Developmental Disorders and multilingual ability in children and adolescents). This is important because it reflects the aspirations of the network members to see fundamental research carried through to its application.

 The cooperation of the network members and the standard of research and research prospects developed within the network will continue after the period for which the project application is intended.    

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

B.4 Contribution to Standards

 Gerade im Bereich der funktionellen Bildgebung (fMRI) wie bei der Ableitung bioelektrischer Signale (event related potentials) mangelt es an Standardisierungen. Das betrifft gleichermaßen

·        technische Aspekte

·        die Präsentation des Stimulus-Materials (auf welche Weise wird beispielsweise verhindert, dass ein Proband bewußt Aufmerksamkeit zuschaltet - dann, wenn das ausgeschlossen werden soll)

·        inhaltliche Fragen (so macht es einen drastischen Unterschied, ob man bei der Präsentation von Tonhöhenunterschieden gleicher Größenordnung im Bereich 500 bis 700 Hz oder im Bereich 900 bis 1200 Hz testet - das ist der Bereich, in dem junge Erwachsene am besten hören).

 Zu solchen Fragen der Standardisierung gehören aber auch Aspekte, die eher den wissenschaftlichen Kontakt und Austausch betreffen, so zum Beispiel,

·        dass wir es im Rahmen der Erforschung exekutiver Fähigkeiten ganz generell mit einer stark fragmentierten Forschungslandschaft zu tun haben, die sich über Koordination und Kooperation erst zu einer einheitlichen Forschungsgemeinschaft entwickeln muß.

·        So auch, dass an die Stelle eines nur Konkurrenz-orientierten Gegeneinander ein (durchaus auch kompetitives) kollegiales Miteinander treten muß.

·        Anhand eines Beispiels: Wenn in Publikationen über das Studiendesign hinaus nicht auch die Durchführung sorgfältig genug dokumentiert wird, dann sind Replikationsstudien (die unverzichtbar sind) unmöglich.

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

There is a lack of standardisation, particularly in the field of functional imaging (fMRI) and of bioelectric signals registration (event related potentials). This applies in both cases to all of the following:

·        Technical aspects;

·        The presentation of stimulus material (for, instance, the way in which the conscious attention of the test person should be avoided); and.

·        Matters of content (the distinction between the test presentation of different sound frequencies in the range of 500 to 700 Hz or 900 to 1200 Hz is imperative, because young adults hear better in one particular range than the other).

The issue of standardisation concerns scientific contact and exchange. For instance, the fact that a cohesive research community will be achieved only by coordination and cooperation in what is at present a relatively fragmented landscape of research groups.

·        The aim of such a cohesive community would be to replace a more competitively oriented thinking with a greater sense of common purpose. Example: replication studies are impossible when then information provided in reports about the study  procedure is insufficiently detailed  

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

B.5 Network Resources / Participants

The network comprises one coordinator and seventeen partners. The majority of the network members belong to the leading European research groups in the field of neurodevelopmental aspects of central auditory processing and associated language acquisition. The work of the network builds on the extensive proven experience of its members in the organization of highly recognized research in recent few years. A loosely connected network between different partners has been active since 2000.

PARTICIPANTS :

Partner 1 University of Freiburg, Germany
Partner 2 Research Institute for Psychology (HAS) Budapest, Hungary
Partner 3 Institute for Cognition and Information Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Partner 4 University of London, United Kingdom
Partner 5 School of Psychology Bangor, United Kingdom
Partner 6 University of Jaume I, Spain
Partner 7 University of Barcelona, Spain
Partner 8 University of Jyväskylä, Finland
Partner 9 University of Turku, Finland
Partner 10 Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland
Partner 11 INSERM U316, University of Tours, France
Partner 12 UMR 6196 - CNRS Marseille, France
Partner 13 INSERM U562 Orsay (Paris), France
Partner 14 Max Planck Institute CBS Leipzig, Germany
Partner 15 University of Leipzig, Germany
Partner 16 University of Mainz, Germany
Partner 17 University Clinic Duisburg-Essen, Germany
Partner 18 University Clinic Marburg, Germany

 

Partner 1: University of Freiburg, Germany

 Related research activities: Central auditory language processing is influenced by higher cognitive control mechanisms. In different behavioural and electrophysiological studies this research group investigated this topic in adults, healthy, language impaired and hyperkinetic children. It could be assumed that one of the underlying factors on both Hyperactivity and Specific Language Impairment (SLI) lies in reduced higher cognitive control processes (executive abilities). Using passive and active oddball paradigms this group concentrates on the processing of language in- and outside the focus of controlled attention in children and adults. Using the Mismatch design it is studied how abstract linguistic categories like phonemes and morphemes are processed in the low level auditory system. In the future the research group plans to examine the process of acquiring semantics and how semantics influences early stages of central auditory processing.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Michael Schecker is the head of the Neurolinguistic Laboratory of the University of Freiburg. He and his research group collaborate with the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (Dr. Klaus Hennighausen) in investigating neurophysiological correlates of central auditory processing of verbal and nonverbal information in healthy, language impaired and hyperkinetic subjects and adults. In cooperation with Prof. Oomen-Welke this group will look at central auditory processing of language (and language learning) in monolingual and bilingual children.

Some relevant publications:

Kohls, G., Körner, B., Maas, V., Rinker, T., Zachau, S., Jaremkiewicz, A. & Christmann, G. (in press). Aufmerksamkeit und die Spezifische Sprachentwicklungsstörung. In G. Kochendörfer (Ed.), Sprache interdisziplinär – Arbeiten zur kognitiven Linguistik, Neurolinguistik und Neuropsychologie. Michael Schecker zum 60. Geburtstag (S.101-133). Frankfurt: Lang.

Schecker, M, Hennighausen, K., Christmann, G., Kohls, G., Maas, V., Rinker, T., Zachau, S. (2006). Spezifische Sprachentwicklungsstörungen. In H. Schöler & A. Welling (Eds.), Handbuch der Pädagogik und Psychologie bei Behinderungen. Band 3, Förderschwerpunkt Sprache. Hogrefe-Verlag.

Zachau S, Rinker T, Korner B, Kohls G, Maas V, Hennighausen K, Schecker M (2005). Extracting rules: early and late mismatch negativity to tone patterns Neuroreport, 16 (18), 2015- 2019.

Contact address:

Michael Schecker, Werthmannplatz 3, Postfach 225, D-79085 Freiburg, Germany, Phone/Fax: +49-761-2033233, Email: michael.schecker@zfn-brain.uni-freiburg.de

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

Partner 2: Research Institute for Psychology (HAS) Budapest, Hungary

Related research activities: One of the major focus of the group is on the behavioural and electrophysiological correlates of dyslexia and related developmental impairments such as SLI and language impairment due to childhood epilepsy. The research group has its expertise in using ERP techniques in order to follow the human brain’s automatic response, called mismatch negativity (MMN, to acoustic deviations in segmental and suprasegmental speech cues.

Representative of the research group: The Research Institute belongs to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. One of the institute’s biggest departments is the Department of Psychophysiology that consists of the research group. Prof. Valéria Csépe is the head of the research group investigating ERP correlates of the developmental course in basic acoustic processes as well as in speech perception. Most of the experimental work is performed by PhD students (6 persons) getting their training and performing their research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience.

Professor Csépe and her colleagues have published more than 80 papers in cognitive psychophysiology. She is the Principal Investigator and Co-ordinator of the project on “Neurocognitive Integration Processes” funded by the Hungarian Research Fund. European

Links:

Prof. Csépe has been a Partner in a bilateral (Dutch-Hungarian) research project funded by the Dutch (NWO) and Hungarian (OTKA) Research Funds. She has been the Hungarian representative and ExCo member of the EU COST A8 action on “Learning disabilities as a barrier to human development. EU project: Neurodys (2005-2008) under the coordination of Prof Gerd Schulte-Körne (Marburg).

Some relevant publications:

Honbolygó, F., Csépe, V. and Ragó, A. (2004) Suprasegmental speech cues are automatically processed by the human brain: a mismatch negativity. Neuroscience Letters, 363, 84-88.

Csépe, V. (2003) Auditory event-related potentials in studying developmental dyslexia, In: Valéria Csépe (ed.) Dyslexia: Different Brain, Different Behavior. Kluwer Academic Publishers, New York, Dordrecht, Moscow, 81-112.

Csépe, V., and Molnár, M (1997). Towards the clinical application of the mismatch negativity evoked potential component. Audiology and Neuro-Otology, 2, 354-369.

Contact address:

Valéria Csépe (PhD, DsC), Research Institute for Psychology, HAS, Department of Psychophysiology, Research Group of Developmental Psychophysiology, H-1394 Budapest, P.O.Box 398, Phone +361 354-2290, Email: csepe@cogpsyphy.hu

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

Partner 3: Institute for Cognition and Information Nijmegen, The Netherlands

Related research activities: The general focus of the current research is to investigate how the brain processes rhythmic information and how a mental representation of a rhythm leads to expectancies about events in the near future. We investigate this by means of EEG recordings from which evoked potentials (EPs), resulting from sensory and cognitive neural activity, are extracted. Evoked potential (EP) measurements have been proved to be well suited for studying aspects of music cognition. It has long been known that expectancy modulates EPs. When expectancy is violated, auditory EPs (AEPs) typically show a large positive wave, the P3. A similar wave can be measured if a stimulus is expected yet omitted from a regular temporal pattern, the omission evoked potentials (OEPs). There are several theories concerned with rhythm perception. These theories lead to different predictions about when a following event is maximally expected given a rhythmic sequence, thus predicting different AEP and OEP results.

Representative of the research group: Dr. Marijtje Jongsma is currently at the Nijmegen Institute for Cognition and Information. She is leading the research project “Measuring rhythm perception by means of ERPs”.

Some relevant publications:

Jongsma, M.L.A., Eichele, T., Quian Quiroga, R., Jenks, K.M., Desain, P., Honing, H. & van Rijn, C.M. (2005). The effect of expectancy on omission evoked potentials (OEPs) in musicians and non-musicians. Psychophysiology, 42, 191-201.

Jongsma, M.L.A., Desain, P. & Honing, H. (2004) Rhythmic context influences the auditory evoked potentials of musicians and non-musicians. Biological Psychology, 66, 129-152.

Jongsma, M.L.A., Coenen, A.M.L. and Van Rijn (2002). Omission Evoked Potentials (OEPs) in rats and the effects of diazepam. Psychophysiology, 39, 1-7.

Contact address:

Marijtje L.A. Jongsma, Ph.D., NICI / Department of Biological Psychology, Radboud University Nijmegen, P.O. Box 9104, 6500 HE Nijmegen, The Netherlands, Phone: +31-24-3616278, Email: jongsma@nici.ru.nl

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Partner 4: University of London, United Kingdom

Related research activities: This groups`s research focuses on the relationship between perceptual and attentional processes and language comprehension in children and adults. They are interested the role of hearing sensitivity and attentional control in the acquisition and processing of lexical semantic and grammatical information, and the ways in which disruptions of these processes may contribute to developmental and acquired language disorders. They are currently investigating the relationship between the development of auditory perceptual skills, attentional control, and language comprehension in school-aged children; the effects of perceptual degradation and increased attentional demand on language processing in children and adults; and the co-occurrence of linguistic and non-linguistic processing deficits in populations with language disorders. Further, they are continuing to develop a series of experimental paradigms to explore these issues using behavioural and neuroimaging techniques.

Representative of the research group: Dr Jennifer Aydelott is Senior Leturer at the School of Psychology, Birkbeck, University of London. Her research focuses on psycholinguistic aspects of speech perception and aphasia.

Some relevant publications:

Aydelott, J. & Bates, E. (2004) Effects of acoustic distortion and semantic context on lexical access. Language and Cognitive Processes, 19(1), 29-56.

Cardillo, E., Aydelott, J., Matthews, P., & Devlin, J. (2004) Left inferior prefrontal cortex activity reflects inhibitory rather than facilitatory priming. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16(9), 1-10.

Dick, F., Bates, E., Wulfeck, B., Aydelott Utman, J., Dronkers, N. & Gernsbacher, M.A. (2001). Language deficits, localization and grammar: evidence for a distributive model of language breakdown in aphasics and normals. Psychological Review, 108(4), 759–788.

Contact address:

Jennifer Aydelott, School of Psychology, Auditory Language Processing, Hearing, and Attention Laboratory, Birkbeck College, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7 HX, United Kingdom, Phone/Fax: +44 (0) 207 631 6368/6312, Email: j.aydelott@bbk.ac.uk

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Partner 5: School of Psychology Bangor, United Kingdom

Related research activities: The School of Psychology is equipped with research facilities for functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI; using an 1.5T Philips scanner and soon also a 3.0T scanner), EEG and event-related potentials (ERP), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). There are, in addition, various labs for ocular motor and behavioural research. Dr. Klein’s scientific expertise is mainly in the areas of clinical and developmental cognitive neuroscience of executive functions, including research on ERP in psychiatric patients such as schizophrenic patients and patients with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), as well as ocular motor research on developmental and ageing processes, schizophrenia and ADHD. Dr. Klein is currently investigating in the areas of combined fMRI/EEG recordings and the electro-cortical correlates of short-term memory for music.

Representative of the research group: The School of Psychology, University of Wales, Bangor, is among the top five Psychology departments in Britain, having received a top ranking of 5*A at the last Research Assessment Exercise (RAE) for research, and a ranking of “excellent” for teaching. This department is internationally recognised for its outstanding research in the areas cognitive neuroscience; language and development; and experimental consumer psychology. Much of the research in these areas takes place in the School’s Center for Cognitive Neuroscience.

PD Dr. Christoph Klein is working as a Senior Lecturer in this institution. Dr. Klein is an internationally recognised leading expert in developmental and clinical ERP and ocular motor research. His ERP lab is equipped with a 96-channel BrainAmps EEG system (Brain Products, Munich); his ocular motor lab houses different ocular motor systems (EyeLink (SMI, Teltow, Germany); IRIS (Skalar, Delft, The Netherlands); and ExpressEye (Optom, Freiburg, Germany)).

Some relevant publications:

Klein, C. & Feige, B. (2005). An Independent Components Analysis (ICA) Approach to the Study of Developmental Differences in the Saccadic Contingent Negative Variation Biological Psychology, 70, 105-114

Klein, C. (2003). Assessing the prefrontal cortex' functional development. International Society for the study of Behavioural Development Newsletter, 1, 8-11.

Klein, C., Berg, P., Rockstroh, B. & Andresen, B. (2000). Topography of the auditory p300 in schizotypal personality. Biological Psychiatry, 45, 1612-1621.

Contact address:

Christoph Klein School of Psychology, Adeilad Brigantia, Penrallt Road, Gwynedd LL57 2AS, United Kingdom, Phone: +44 (0) 1248 388351, Email: c.klein@bangor.ac.uk

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Partner 6: University of Jaume I, Spain

Related research activities: The main research topics are the genetic bases and psychophysiology of language processing in healthy and language impaired children. The goal of a current research grant is to know more about children with Specific Language Impairment (SLI), particularly about their language processing abilities and the neurobiological bases of their processing deficits. We use behavioral psycholinguistic methods, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), ERPs, and genetic testing. We analyze semantic and phonological processes using a task with priming, and other cognitive processes. In addition, this group is also involved in research about bilingualism (Catalan - English) and the relationship between communication and cognition.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Dolors Gibeau is Full Professor (Profesora Titular de Universidad) at the Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Jaume I. She is director of the Neurogenetics of Human Communication Lab and is leading the current research project about “Neurobiological Bases of Semantic and Phonological Processing in Specific Language Impairment: Genetic and Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies” funded by Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo.

Some relevant publications:

Girbau, D., & Boada, H. (2004). Accurate referential communication and its relation with private and social speech in a naturalistic context. The Spanish Journal of Psychology, 7(2), 81-92.

Girbau, D., & Boada, H. (1996). Private meaning and comparison process in children's referential communication. Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 25(3), 379-392.

Girbau, D. (1996) Private and social speech in communication: Terminology and distinctive traits.Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, 25 (4), 507-513.

Contact address:

Dolors Girbau, Department of Basic, Clinical & Biological Psychology, Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, University Jaume I, Campus Riu Sec, 12071 Castelló, Phone: +34 964 729693, Email: girbau@psb.uji.es

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Partner 7: University of Barcelona, Spain

Related research activities: This research group is interested in the neural mechanisms of involuntary attention, that is to say, in the cerebral regions involved, in their temporal dynamics of activation, in pathological distraction -that resulting from brain injury or mental, neurological or developmental disease-, and in the individual differences on distraction, specifically those resulting from particular genetic profiles. This group has developed a laboratory task to induce distraction under controlled conditions, in which subjects are instructed to press a response button according to visual stimulus category, while ignoring concomitant sounds. The occurrence of a sound that deviates from the repeating auditory background increases response time to subsequent visual stimuli, that is, induces behavioural distraction. The event-related brain potential (ERP) recording during distraction results in a three-phases waveform, including MMN/N1, Novelty-P3 or P3a, and Reorienting Negativity (RON) components, these indexing, respectively, capture, orienting and reorienting of attention. The use of this “Distraction Potential” (DP) has allowed us to resolve issues in cognitive (i.e., orienting of attention towards significant stimuli takes place before semantic analysis of the eliciting stimulus; task switching and involuntary attention activate a common neural network), or clinical (i.e., increased distractibility in chronic alcoholics explained by an abnormal activation of the cerebral network controlling attention to irrelevant stimuli) neuroscience.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Carles Escera is Group leader of the Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group at the Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona. He is currently leading a research project about “Cerebral mechanisms of the exogenous control of attention” funded by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology.

Some relevant publications:

Barceló, F., Escera, C., Corral, M.J. & Periañez, J.A. (2006). Task switching and novelty processing activate a common neural network for cognitive control. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, in press.

Escera, C., Yago, E., Corral, M.J., Corbera, S. & Nuñez, M.I. (2003). Attention capture by auditory significant stimuli: semantic analysis follows attention switching. European Journal of Neuroscience, 18, 2408-2412

Escera, C., Alho, K., Winkler, I. & Näätänen, R. (1998). Neural mechanisms of involuntary attention to acoustic novelty and change. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 10, 590-604.

Contact address:

Carles Escera, Cognitive Neuroscience Research Group, Department of Psychiatry and Clinical Psychobiology, University of Barcelona, P. Vall d'Hebron 171, 08035 Barcelona (Catalonia-Spain), Phone:+34 933 125 048, Email: cescera@ub.edu

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Partner 8: University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Related research activities: Paavo Leppänen’s ERP work has concentrated especially on unconscious cognitive processes, in particular on the pre-attentive auditory cognition. He also collaborates in studies comparing ERP and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data. Leppänen is currently also the co-director (with Prof. Valeria Csepe) of the ERP Work Package and a partner (with Prof. Heikki Lyytinen) in the European Union Sixth framework programme "Dyslexia genes and neurobiological pathways (NEURODYS)". Neurodys includes 13 European partner universities. The ERP research involves a cross-linguistic study of pre-attentive processing of speech sounds and the relationship to speech perception in 8-10-year-old children with and without dyslexia and is carried out between 4 European laboratories (Gerd Schulte-Körne, Germany; Jean-Francois Demonet, France; Valeria Csepe, Hungary; and Finland).

Representative of the research group: Docent Paavo H.T. Leppänen, Ph.D., is currently an Academy Research Fellow (equivalent level to that of Associate Research Professor) at the Finnish Center of Excellence in Learning and Motivation Research, Department of Psychology, University of Jyväskylä, Finland. He directs research on developmental cognitive neuroscience of learning disabilities, especially dyslexia and its remediation, applying both brain event-related potentials (ERPs) and behavioral research methods. Paavo Leppänen continues to collaborate with colleagues from Infancy Studies Laboratory, (CMBN). Other collaborators include Neurodysresearch partners (see above); Prof. Cheour (Miami, USA), and Prof. Molfese (Louisville, USA) in infant brain and training studies; Caroline Witton, Ph.D. (Birmingham, UK) in auditory processing studies, Prof. Kere (Stockholm, Sweden) in genetics of dyslexia, Prof. Pirjo Korpilahti (Oulu, Finland) in ERP and training studies, and Prof. Karma (Helsinki) in training studies.

Some relevant publications:

Leppänen, P.H.T., Richardson, U., Pihko, E., Eklund, K.M., Guttorm, T.K., Aro, M., & Lyytinen, H. (accepted). Brain responses reveal temporal processing differences in infants at risk for dyslexia. Developmental Neuropsychology.

Guttorm TK, Leppanen PH, Poikkeus AM, Eklund KM, Lyytinen P, Lyytinen H. (2005). Brain event-related potentials (ERPs) measured at birth predict later language development in children with and without familial risk for dyslexia. Cortex, 41(3), 291-303.

Leppänen PH, Guttorm TK, Pihko E, Takkinen S, Eklund KM, Lyytinen H. (2004). Maturational effects on newborn ERPs measured in the mismatch negativity paradigm. Experimental Neurology, 190 Suppl 1:S91-101.

Contact address:

University of Jyväskylä, Department of Psychology, P.O. Box 35, FI-40014 Jyväskylä, Phone 358-14-2602882, Email: pleppane@psyka.jyu.fi

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Partner 9: University of Turku, Finland

Related research activities: This research group focuses on different communication and developmental disorders using, in particular, electrophysiological methods: 1. Perception of affective speech prosody in children with Asperger syndrome; 2. The efficacy of senso-motor and auditory training in young adults with dyslexia (Follow up research 2004-2006, two intensive training periods of 6 months each); 3. Auditory N400 in perception of words and pseudo-words; 4. Auditory skills of preterm-born children at the age of 9 years; 5. Language acquisition during the first year of life; 6. Motivation and meaning (in co-operation with educational sciences).

Representative of the research group: Prof. of logopedics, PhD Pirjo Korpilahti, University of Turku: The University of Turku has a well organized and equipped Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience. The research facilities combined with those of the University Hospital of Turku are as follows: EEG laboratories, fMRI, PET, and head turn laboratory. Prof. Korpilahti herself has addressed her own thesis at this laboratory to the faculty of medical sciences, clinical neurophysiology (Electrophysiological correlates of auditory perception in normal and language impaired children, 1996). Most of the researchers come from psychology but also other branches of science are represented. Prof. Korpilahti`s permanent office is at the University of Oulu, but from the beginning of August, she has been working at the University of Turku. Both universities have very active scientific collaborations. Prof. Korpilathi has also been affiliated with the Genetic Study of High Functioning Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome in Finland, University of Oulu and The Executive Committee of the Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience (from 2006) at the University of Turku.

Some relevant publications:

Jansson-Verkasalo E, Korpilahti P, et al. (2004). Neurophysiologic correlates of deficient phonological representations and object naming in prematurely born children. Clinical Neurophysiology, 115, 179–187.

Korpilahti P, Krause CM, Holopainen I & Lang AH (2001). Early and late mismatch negativity (MMN) elicited by words and speech-like stimuli in children. Brain and Language, 76, 332–339.

Korpilahti P & Lang AH (1994). Auditory ERP Components and MMN in Dysphasic Children. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology, 91, 256–264.

Contact address:

Pirjo Korpilahti, Logopedia, Itäinen pitkäkatu 3a, 20014 University of Turku, Phone/Fax: +358 02 3338778, Email: pirjo.korpilahti@utu.fi

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Partner 10: Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, Finland

Related research activities: The current and future work has the main focus in the neural basis of developmental speech perception deficits and their remediation. In order to investigate these issues effectively, this group has carried out a series of studies addressing the neural basis of speech perception and audition, and audiovisual interactions in the brain. The research primarily utilizes neurophysiological Mismatch Negativity (MMN), N2b, P3a, and P3b responses. They can be recorded with high temporal resolution and are time-locked to stimulus events. Therefore, they are highly conducive for determining the timing of cognitive processes underlying, and leading to, perception. Early cortical sound discrimination is assessed with the MMN, which reflects sound change discrimination, and is elicited whether or not the listener attends to the sounds. Thus, it reflects unconscious cognitive processes, and it can be well applied even to investigate inattentive individuals who cannot co-operate, like newborns and foetuses, or patients with communication problems, like autistic children. The work on autism spectrum has shown, for example, that autistic children abnormally orient to speech sounds and that they are hypersensitive to pitch changes. These impairments were seen at the unconscious level of processing, that is, in preattentive cortical discrimination and in involuntary attention switching. The future work aims at finding efficient means for identifying perceptual problems underlying language impairments early in life. Furthermore, the effectiveness of intervention programs will be evaluated and brain’s plastic changes in response to intervention will be determined.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Teija Kujala is Fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. Between 2002-2005 she was vice-director of the research project “Plasticity in neural speech-sound representations underlying language perception and acquisition” funded by the European Science Foundation and the Academy of Finland. Her present research aims at determining how speech is perceived and language represented in the brain, primarily in the auditory system. Both basic mechanisms of the brain in these functions and deficits in speech perception as well as brain plasticity relating to bilingualism, language learning, and amelioration of speech-perception dysfunctions are investigated. To this end, modern brain-research techniques as well as behavioral measures are used.

Some relevant publications:

Kujala, T. et al. (2005). Neurophysiological evidence for cortical discrimination impairment of prosody in Asperger syndrome. Neuroscience Letters, 383, 260-265.

Kujala, T. & Näätänen, R. (2001). The mismatch negativity in evaluating central auditory dysfunction in dyslexia. Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 25, 535-543.

Kujala, T. et al. (2001). Plastic neural changes and reading improvement caused by audio-visual training in reading-impaired children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 98, 10509-10514.

Contact address:

Teija Kujala, PhD, Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, P.O. Box 4, FIN-00014 University of Helsinki, Finland, Phone: +358-(0)9-191 23760, Email: teija.m.kujala@helsinki.fi

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Partner 11: INSERM U316, University of Tours, France

Related research activities: Our participation in this project will be centered on maturation of the auditory cortex in relation to congenital hearing loss, specifically mild-to-moderate neurosensorial hearing loss. We wish to look at the relation between language acquisition, maturation of audition, and hemispheric lateralization for language. The prevalence of language impairment in children and adolescents with prelingual neurosensorial hearing loss is significantly higher than would be expected if such impairment were due simply to “ordinary” language impairment. While the later has been shown to affect up to 7% of young children, large proportions (over 50%) of groups of mild-to-moderately deaf children have been shown to display severe language impairment (in phonology, not surprisingly, but also in morphosyntax). However, many of these children acquire normal language. We plan to investigate the central auditory processing correlates, and, ultimately, the hemispheric lateralization for language. The team of the INSERM U619 investigates the relations between late auditory evoked potentials (AEPs) recorded at temporal sites (the N1c wave or Tb) and verbal and non-verbal abilities in children with autism. Electro-clinical correlations indicated that the greater the amplitude of the right temporal N1c responses, the higher the verbal and non-verbal communication abilities. This research group suggests a developmental reorganization of left-right hemisphere functions in autism, with preferential activation of the right hemisphere for functions usually allocated to the left hemisphere, particularly those involving the secondary auditory areas situated on the lateral surface of the superior temporal gyrus where the N1c/Tb wave is generated.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Catherine Barthélémy and Dr. Nicole Bruneau of the INSERM, U619 “Dynamique et pathologie du développement cerebral”. Prof. Dr. Laurie Tuller, Linguistic Department of the University of Tours and member of the research group "LANGUAGE & HANDICAP".

Some relevant publications:

Monjauze, C., Tuller, L., Hommet, C., Barthez, M.A. & Khomsi, A. (2005). Language in benign childhood epilepsy with centro-temporal spikes. Brain and Language, 92, 300-308.

Tuller, L. & Jakubowicz, C. (2004). Développement de la morphosyntaxe du français chez des enfants sourds moyens. Le langage et l’homme, 39, 191-208.

Bruneau N, Bonnet-Brilhault F, Gomot M, Adrien JL, Barthelemy C. (2003). Cortical auditory processing and communication in children with autism: electrophysiological/ behavioral relations. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 51(1), 17-25.

Contact address:

Catherine Barthélémy/ Nicole Bruneau, Email: catherine.barthelemy@chu-tours.fr, n.bruneau@chu-tours.fr, Phone: +332478412 / +33247478519, Laurie Tuller, Laboratoire Langage et handicap (JE 2321) Service de Pédopsychiatrie, Université de Tours CHU Bretonneau, UFR de Lettres 2 boulevard Tonnellé 3, Rue des Tanneurs 37044 Tours cedex 01, 37041 Tours Cedex 01 France, Phone: +33 2 47 36 65 98, Email: tuller@univ-tours.fr

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Partner 12: UMR 6196 - CNRS Marseille, France

Related research activities: Autism is a neurodevelopmental pathology mainly characterized by social impairments. Signs of abnormal motor development are salient from the very first years of life. Anticipation relies on the use of a representation, which building depends on the multiplicity of interactions with the environment and integrity of brain development. Within the frame of a functional approach of motricity, development of motor anticipation in autism was investigated. Different studies based on kinematics, electromyography, force recordings and brain imaging assessed the use of anticipation through a bimanual load-lifting task and an object lifting task. Children with autism aged 4-12 were compared to normally developed children. Instead of an anticipated mode of control, children with autism made use of a retroactive control in the bimanual load-lifting task. Varying the need to update the object’s weight representation in the lifting task pointed out difficulties in the use of sensori-motor representations. Cortical activity recordings indicated a lack of reactivity in the sensori-motor areas, while whole brain imaging suggested abnormal maturation of cerebellum, superior temporal gyrus and prefrontal areas. Development of action representations plays a major role in autism, where the question remains whether it is a prerequisite to the development of social and cognitive representations or if it evolves in parallel to their impaired development.

Representative of the research group: Dr. Christina Schmitz (CR1, CNRS) has recently joined the scientific team in Marseilles, lead by Dr. Christine Assaiante. Dr. Schmitz has an expertise in the development of motor control in normal children and in children with autism, including experience in neuroimaging (fMRI) that she has acquired during her 3-years post-doctoral stay at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. Recently, she has conducted a study in children with autism which has shown an impairment of the use of a sensori-motor representation in children with autism, assessed by behavioural and fMRI analyses. Furthermore, she will be in charge of the education of a PhD student, Laurie Centelles to the fMRI technique.

Some relevant publications:

Assaiante, C., Mallau, S., Viel, S., Jover, M. Schmitz, C. (2005) Development of postural control during childhood. Neural Plasticity, 12, 33-42.

Schmitz, C., Martineau, J., Barthélémy, C., Assaiante, C. (2003) Motor Control and Autism: Deficit of Anticipatory Function. Neurosciences Letters, 348, 17-20.

Schmitz, C., Martin, N. and Assaiante, C. (2002) Bulding Anticipatory Postural Adjustment during childhood : kinetics and electromyographic data in a bimanual load-lifting task. Experimental Brain Research, 142, 354-364.

Contact address:

Christina Schmitz, PhD, Groupe Développement et Pathologie de l’Action , CNRS – UMR 6196. 31 Chemin J. Aiguier, 13402 Marseille Cedex 20, France, Phone: +33 4 91 16 41 00, Email: christina.schmitz@kbh.ki.se

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Partner 13: INSERM U562 Orsay (Paris), France

Related research activities: The INSERM-Orsay/Paris-group intensively researches among other topics the question of cognitive development in newborns (see respective publications regarding phoneme-identification in newborn infants). The group is methodologically innovative and uses functional neuro-imaging in infants. For future investigations, the combination of fMRI and eventrelated potentials (ERP) holds much promise. The functional architecture of the brain and its development is one of the main research areas. This has culminated in a co-operation with a Belgian partner. Here, infant’s functional brain architecture is compared with primate brain architecture.

Representative of the research group: Dr. Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz; Cognitive Psychologist, MD Inserm's Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit investigates high-level human cognitive functions such as language, mathematics, attention etc., combining experimental psychology, neuropsychology and neuroimagery approaches. Dr. Dehaene-Lambertz is the head of a research team that examines the normal and pathological development of the organization of cerebral networks involved in reading, in access to consciousness for words and symbols in the very young child.

Some relevant publications:

Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz and Marcela Peña (2001). Electrophysiological evidence for automatic phonetic processing in neonates. NeuroReport, 12, 3155-3158.

Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Emmanuel Dupoux, and A. Gout (2000). Electrophysiological correlates of phonological processing: a cross-linguistic study. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 12(4, 635--647.

Stanislas Dehaene, Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, and Laurent Cohen (1998). Abstract representations of numbers in the animal and human brain. Trends in Neuroscience, 21, 355-361.

Contact address:

Ghislaine Dehaene-Lambertz, Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Unité de neuroimagerie cognitive INSERM U562, Service Hospitalier Frédéric Joliot, CEA, F91401 Orsay, Phone: 0033-1-69 86 -77 65, Email: ghis@lscp.ehess.fr

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Partner 14: Max Planck Institute CBS Leipzig, Germany

Related research activities: Language is the most unique human ability. In their previous research this research group successfully applied the method of event-related brain potentials (ERP) to infants and toddlers in order to investigate specific aspects of their language development. In oneyear-olds, they studied the development of lexical-semantic mechanisms by means of a crossmodal picture-word paradigm. They found that the processing of picture meanings affected ERP correlates of acoustic-phonological processing in 12-, 14-, and 19-month-old children. Mechanisms of semantic integration indexed by the N400 component were shown to mature around 14 month of age. These mechanisms develop in response to words and pseudowords that meet prosodic, phonetic, and phonotactic rules of German, but not to nonwords that violate phonotactic regularities. Post-hoc grouping of the 19-month-old children suggested that the emergence of the N400 early in development is associated with the children’s later language skills. Word learning not only consists in the acquisition of phonological forms, but crucially in the acquisition of relevant meanings and the mapping of phonological forms to meaningful representations. The acquisition of conceptual hierarchies moreover requires the formation of diverse concepts that strongly overlap in their features. These concepts must be associated to different words so that a single object can be identified and labeled in multiple ways. However, behavioral studies suggest that children have particular difficulties with the acquisition of multiple concepts for the same object. Two-year-old children are most often not able to acquire a specific concept (e.g., tulip) for an object that is already known as exemplar of a basic-level concept (e.g., flower). Although three- to four-year-old children are able to acquire a new word for a specific concept, they often exclude those exemplars from the known basic level concept that belong to the just learned specific concept, e.g., tulips are no longer seen as flowers. This fact leads to the assumption that inhibition and control mechanisms are involved in the acquisition of new elements of a conceptual hierarchy. Within in the proposed EU-project "What it means to be human" this group will investigate which neural processes make the sub-division of basic-level concepts and the acquisition of multiple concepts for same objects possible. By means of the ERP method they will study the mechanisms of conceptual refinement and semantic reorganization, and their relation to inhibition and control mechanisms during acoustic-phonological and semantic processing.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Angela Friederici is Director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences Leipzig, and Dr. Manuela Friedrich is a Scientific Staff Member of the Working Group “Language Acquisition”.

Some relevant publications:

Friedrich, M. & Friederici, A. D. (2005c). Semantic sentence processing reflected in the eventrelated potentials of one- and two-year-old children. NeuroReport, 16 (16), 1801-1804.

Friedrich, M. & Friederici, A. D. (2005b). Phonotactic knowledge and lexical-semantic processing in one-year-olds: Brain responses to words and nonsense words in picture contexts. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 17 (11), 1785-1802.

Friedrich, M. & Friederici, A. D. (2005a). Lexical priming and semantic integration reflected in the ERP of 14-month-olds. NeuroReport, 16 (6), 653-656.

Contact address:

Manuela Friedrich, Angela Friederici, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Stephanstraße 1A, 04103 Leipzig, Germany, Phone: +49 (341) 9940 – 112, Email: friedri@cbs.mpg.de; orendi@cbs.mpg.de

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Partner 15: University of Leipzig, Germany

Related research activities: PD Dr. Lachmann`s work focuses on a wide range of research projects concerning unconscious cognitive processes. One of the more recent projects, in collaboration with Prof. Teija Kujala (Helsinki), Prof Dr. Erich Schröger (Leipzig) and Junior-Prof. Dr. Stefan Berti (Mainz), addressed auditory processing in 8-11 -year old children with developmental dyslexia by means of event-related brain potentials (ERP). Cortical sound reception was evaluated by recording N250 responses to syllables and tones and cortical sound discrimination by analyzing the mismatch negativity (MMN) to syllable and tone changes.

Representative of the research group: PD Dr. rer. nat. habil. Thomas Lachmann, University of Leipzig, Department of Psychology Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy and Psychology. He has been actively involved in interdisciplinary, international research involving partners from Japan (RIKEN Brain Science Institute), USA (CHIP University of California, San Diego), Finland (Cognitive Brain Research Unit at the University of Helsinki), etc. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Department of Psychology, University of Bamberg.

Some relevant publications:

Becker, C., Elliott, M., & Lachmann, T. (2005). Evidence for impaired visuo-perceptual organization in developmental dyslexia and its relation to temporal processes. Cognitive Neuropsychology, 22, 499-522.

Lachmann, T., Berti, S., Kujala, T., & Schröger, E. (2005). Diagnostic subgroups of developmental dyslexia have different deficits in neural processing of tones and phonemes. International Journal of Psychophysiology, 56, 105-120.

 Lachmann, T., & van Leeuwen, C. (2005). Individual pattern representations are contextindependent, but their collective representation is context-dependent. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Experimental Psychology, 58, 1265-1294

Contact address:

Thomas Lachmann, University of Leipzig, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Pharmacy and Psychology, Seeburgstraße 14-20, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany, Phone: 0341 / 97 35 943, Email: lachmann@rz.uni-leipzig.de

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

Partner 16: University of Mainz, Germany

Related research activities: The group at the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz investigates the interaction and coordination of distractibility by and shielding from incoming information. In detail, they are investigating (a) what kind of changes in the auditory and visual input result in distraction, (b) what kind of task-demands result in shielding and what task-demands result in increased distractibility, (c) to what degree is attentional allocation (orientation onto a change or re-orientation onto the relevant information after distraction) voluntary and to what degree is it involuntary, and (d) development of distractibility and attentional allocation from childhood to adulthood. In the near future they plan to enhance their research to (a) clinical populations and (b) include motivational aspects (in the sense of individual goals) into account. The phenomenon they are working on will add to the kowledge about executive functions. Within the present framework they see close links to the work of Carles Escera. Moreover, for future research it is of special interest to have partners working in the field of developmental psychology and neuroscience and clinical applications. At the present, they have cooperation with Thomas Lachmann and Teija Kujala. The present network of researchers will provide excellent possibilities for both, continuing recent research and introducing new lines of research.

Representative of the research group: Stefan Berti, Dr. rer. nat., Dipl.-Psych., M.A. Sportwissenschaft, is junior professor for cognitive science at the University of Mainz at the department of psychology since 2003. From 1998 to 2003 he was part of the German science foundation research project “working memory” at the institute for psychology at the University of Leipzig.

Some relevant publications:

Munka, L. & Berti, S. (in press): Examining task dependencies of different attentional processes as reflected in the P3a and reorienting negativity component of the human event-related brain potential. Neuroscience Letters

Berti, S. & Schröger, E. (2006): Visual Distraction: a behavioural and event-related brain potential study in humans. NeuroReport, 17, 151-156.

Berti,S., Roeber, U. & Schröger, E. (2004): Bottom-up effects on working memory: distraction effects on behavioral and electrophysiological levels vary with different levels of distractor strength. Experimental Psychology, 51, 249-257.

Contact address:

Stefan Berti, Psychologisches Institut, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, D-55099 Mainz, Germany, Phone: ++49 - (0)6131 - 39 - 22889, Email: berti@psych.uni-mainz.de

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

Partner 17: University Clinic Duisburg-Essen, Germany

Related research activities: This research group is based in the University Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in the south of Essen, Germany. The original mandate was for inter-disciplinary investigations of cognitive function and dysfunction in schizophrenia and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These last 6-7 years the “BioPsychology Group” continues with this principle, but has concentrated its work more on the biological bases for attention and related cognitive function in both healthy children and those with ADHD and related comorbid disorders. Currently the biopsychology group has 7 members, including a clinical psychologist and medical doctor/psychiatrist. At present, the group is participating in an international multicentre study of ADHD genetics (IMAGE). In addition to the quantitative trait locus aspects of the study, we are actively involved in collecting neuropsychological and psychophysiological data that could relate directly to the nature of the endophenotypes that could be involved in ADHD. This work is also concerned with the presence or absence of a distinction based on comorbid problems (e.g. conduct and reading disorders). The neurophysiological work is concentrating on conflict resolution (mismatch and error-related processing) while the neuropsychological paradigms concentrate on the role of interference and attention-switching.

Representative of the research group: Prof. Dr. Robert Oades came to the clinic in 1988 and founded a research programme in biological psychiatry. Originally a zoologist, after 15 years neurobiological work on attentional processes in animals Prof. Oades` research evolved to concentrate on the biological bases of attention in humans with special emphasis on attentional disorders. Since his habilitation his work has emphasized the interaction of several disciplines, focussing research on the monoamine transmitter systems, neuropsychology and the identification and localization of function in the brain with the use of electrophysiological methods (eventrelated potential recordings, ERPs).

Some relevant publications:

Oades RD, (2006) Progress in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder research. Current ideas and ways forward. Nova Science Publishers Inc.: Hauppauge, N.Y. In press.

Oades RD, Sadile AG, Sagvolden T, Viggiano D, Aase H, Zuddas A, Devoto P, Johansen EB, Ruocco LA, Russell VA, (2005). The control of responsiveness in ADHD by catecholamines: evidence for dopaminergic, noradrenergic, and interactive roles. Developmental Science, 8, 122-131.

Jemel B, Oades RD, Oknina LB, Achenbach C, Röpcke B, (2003) Frontal and temporal lobe sources for a marker of controlled auditory attention: the negative difference (Nd) event-related potential. Brain Topography, 15, 249-262

Contact address:

Robert Oades, Klinik der Universität Duisburg-Essen, Klinik für Kinder-und Jugendpsychiatrie, Virchowstr. 174, 45147 Essen, Phone./Fax: 0201/95970-30, Email: oades@uni-essen.de

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

Partner 18: University Clinic Marburg, Germany

Related research activities: Learning to read is one of the cognitive abilities that are undoubtedly unique to the human species. Thus, the ability to learn the association between phonemes and graphemes is a central aspect of what it means to be human. However, millions of individuals worldwide fail to learn to read. According to the WHO classification of mental diseases (ICD 10), this failure is called dyslexia. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disorders throughout the developed world, affecting about 5-10% of the childhood population with major implications for health and quality of life. Dyslexia is the major risk factor for school failure and is also associated with several psychosocial risk factors. Although some individuals show considerable amelioration of symptomatology with development and treatment, the core symptoms persist into adult life and the disorders are associated with significant morbidity across Europe. The development of novel specific treatments or strategies to prevent or ameliorate reading and spelling ability requires a proper understanding of the underlying molecular and neurological mechanisms. Characterising some of the underlying molecular mechanisms will be the key tofocussed search for any interacting environmental factors that may influence phenotypic expression, as this may be the most effective route through which to prevent significant handicap. Deficits in phonological processing are generally considered one of the core problems in dyslexia. Phonological deficits are supposed to result from a deficit involving speech processing. Therefore, speech perception seems to be the most influential prerequisite for becoming a fluent reader. But behavioural data on speech perception are contradictory. This might be because behavioural rating is influenced by executive functions, the attention, motivation and cognitive strategies that children apply to discriminate speech stimuli. Furthermore, there is an on-going controversy whether phonological deficits represent speech or more acoustical perception deficits. ERPs are an excellent tool to investigate speech processing, particularly the mismatch negativity (MMN) which reflects discriminative processing based on preattentive detection of changes in a sound stream. Therefore ERP centres in this project focus on the main prerequisite for beginning reading acquisition, that is, efficient speech perception and phoneme representation. Neural substrates of pre-attentive, automatised speech perception are investigated in a cross-linguistic study design using ERPs. The cross-linguistic nature of this approach allows us to see whether possible speech perception deficits are related only to a dyslexic reader’s own language or whether dyslexics have a more common or general speech deficit.

Representative of the research group: HD Dr. Gerd Schulte-Körne is head of the dyslexia research group of the Clinic for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Marburg. He is involved in different research co-operations about visual motion perception, neurobiology and molecular genetics in dyslexia. The research activities are funded by a STREP NeuroDys and by national programmes integrating partners from several EU member states. NeuroDys is a multicentre, multidisciplinary project that investigates the biological basis of dyslexia by collecting powerful samples of subjects consistently characterized across EC populations on three different levels: genetics, environment, and neuroscience. The aim of NeuroDys is to understand the etiology of the disorder by integrating the results of the three levels.

Some relevant publications:

Schumacher et al. (2006). Strong genetic evidence of DCDC2 as a susceptibility gene for dyslexia. American Journal of Human Genetics, 78, 52-62.

Schulte-Körne et al. (2004). Neurophysiological correlates of word recognition in dyslexia. Journal of Neural Transmission, 111, 971-84.

Schulte-Körne et al. (1991). [Selective visual attention and continuous attention in dyslexic children. An experimental study]. Zeitschrift für Kinder- und Jugendpsychiatrie, 19, 99-106.

Contact address:

Gerd Schulte-Körne, Klinik für Psychiatrie und Psychotherapie des Kindes- und Jugendalters, Philipps-Universität, Hans-Sachs-Straße 6, D-35039 Marburg, Germany, Phone: +49-6421-2866467, Email: schulte1@med.uni-marburg.de

(Gliederung / contents) / (Teilnehmer / participants) / (international cooperation)

 

 

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