Brain Mechanisms for Hearing & Speech

HST.722J/9.044J - Fall 2007
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Catalog Description

An advanced course covering anatomical, physiological, behavioral, and computational studies of the central nervous system relevant to speech and hearing.  Students learn primarily by discussions of scientific papers on topics of current interest.  Recent topics include cell types and neural circuits in the auditory brainstem, organization and processing in the auditory cortex, auditory reflexes and descending systems, functional imaging of the human auditory system, quantitative methods for relating neural responses to behavior, speech motor control, cortical representation of language, and auditory learning in songbirds.

Who should take the course?

Anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the role of the brain in speech and hearing.  For students in the Harvard-MIT Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program, the course is an elective normally taken after the core courses HST.723, HST.718 and 6.541J/HST.710J.  It is also appropriate for students in Brain and Cognitive Sciences or other departments who have a strong background in the neuroanatomy and neurophysiology of sensory and motor systems.  Students unsure of their background should consult one of the instructors.

How does the course work?

Much of the learning is done by topic discussions of scientific papers.  Typically, a topic begins with a lecture giving an overview of the topic.  Then, 3-6 topic papers are read and discussed in class under the leadership of a student.  Two of the topics are proposed by students and selected by a competitive process.


Related Programs and Research Laboratories

bulletHST Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology Program
bulletHarvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology
bulletEaton-Peabody Laboratory of Auditory Physiology
bullet Massachusetts General Hospital Martinos Imaging Center
bulletMIT Speech Communication Group

Web sites about Hearing and Speech

bullet Virtual Tour of the Ear
bulletEarlab at Boston University


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