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Cognitive Control of Spatial (and Non-Spatial) Auditory Processing

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, PhD Director of the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University

Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, 2 p.m.
Shalala Student Center, Room 304 (Activities Room North)
1330 Miller Drive | Coral Gables, FL 33146


Not every sound that is audible gets processed in the brain in the same detail. Instead, your brain filters the information reaching the ears, letting through sounds that either seem inherently important (like the sudden crash of a shattering window) or are important for whatever task you are undertaking (like the question an Important Scientist poses to you at a poster session). Depending on what aspect of a sound you focus on, you recruit distinct brain networks that are shared with other sensory modalities. This talk will explain what we know about control of both spatial and non-spatial processing of sound, based on neuroimaging and behavioral studies.

Barbara Shinn-Cunningham, PhD, trained as an electrical engineer (Brown University, Sc.B.; MIT, M.S. and Ph.D.). In 2018, she became the Director of the Carnegie Mellon Neuroscience Institute at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). Before joining CMU, she spent 22 years on the faculty of Boston University. Her work has been recognized by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Whitaker Foundation, and the Vannevar Bush Fellows program. She is a recipient of the Helmholtz-Rayleigh Interdisciplinary Silver Medal from the Acoustical Society of America (ASA) and the ASA Mentorship Award. She is a Fellow of both ASA and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineers, and is a lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council. Her research uses behavioral, neuroimaging, and computational methods to understand auditory processing, a topic on which she lectures at conferences and symposia around the world.