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Neuroscience Seminar: Francesca Rocchi
October 23, 2014

Francesca Rocchi, Department of Hearing & Speech (Ramachandran Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Noise Characteristics Affect Tone Detection in Non-Human Primates

Detection of signals within acoustic scenes always requires the auditory system to accurately encode sound levels in noisy backgrounds. However, the relationship between the properties of the noise presented and the detectability of sounds is not entirely understood. Natural acoustic environments are characterized by regularities that can be expressed in terms of spatio-temporal information and statistical properties, which might affect sound encoding mechanisms. Here we investigated how spatial and temporal characteristics of complex sound scenes lead to tone masking and how noise statistics affect tone detectability. A psychophysical (Go/No-Go) task was presented to non-human primates (Macaca mulatta and Macaca radiata). Monkeys were required to detect tones in noise when the magnitude of separation between these two signals was manipulated in time (tone and noise were gradually separated by a temporal gap) and in space (tone and noise were played from set apart locations). In a different experiment the statistical properties of the noisy background were varied. Noise amplitudes were randomly sampled from a set of probability distributions (similar to those designed by Dean et al., 2005) characterized by a high probability region of sound levels. Results clearly showed that the masking effect gradually decreases as a function of separation between signal and noise in both temporal and spatial domains. Moreover, the statistics characterizing sound scenes dramatically affect detection accuracy. Indeed, tone thresholds increased as the center of the high probability region of noise shifted towards higher noise levels. These results form the basis of future neurophysiological studies in both the IC and the cochlear nucleus (CN) to better understand the mechanisms underlying sound detection in complex natural environments.






Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Megan Ichinose
October 28, 2014

Megan Ichinose, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

CCN Brown Bag Series: Taihei Ninomiya
October 29, 2014

The Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN) program presents Taihei Ninomiya, Department of Psychology (Schall Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 115 Wilson Hall

Contrasting circuitry in frontal and occipital cortex


Is the cerebral cortex one organ or many?  In spite of obvious variation in appearance of different areas of cerebral cortex, is just one basic circuit used throughout?

Our laboratory has been investigating this question by comparing features of an agranular frontal area, SEF, to features of the most granular area of all, V1.

I will provide overview of the CCM and its proposed implications (Blue Brain, etc.)

I will summarize work done to date in SEF with laminar recording

I will report new findings using CF-PAC as an assay of cortical laminar circuitry.


Neuroscience Seminar: Ben Tamber-Rosenau
October 30, 2014

Ben Tamber-Rosenau, Department of Psychology, Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

Quantitative Methods Colloquium Series
November 3, 2014

Using Graphs to Tell Research Stories, from Many Different Perspectives

Joe Rodgers, Quantitative Methods, Vanderbilt Dept. of Psychology & Human Development

Abstract: An effective graph can be used to tell a story about the world, a graphical model of some real-world phenomenon. But there are lots of different kinds of stories. I present a taxonomy of graphs in relation to the kind of stories they tell, and illustrate with a number of prototypes.

Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Tricia Thornton-Wells
November 4, 2014

Tricia Thornton-Wells, Genetics Department, Vanderbilt School of Medicine

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

CCN Brown Bag Series: Hyunyoung Park
November 5, 2014

Hyunyoung Park, Department of Psychology (Woodman Lab) Vanderbilt University

Wednesday, 11/5/2014

12:10 p.m.

Wilson Hall 115

Title & abstract TBA

Neuroscience Seminar: Brandon Moore
November 6, 2014

Brandon Moore, Department of Psychology (Maier Lab), Vanderbilt University

12:10 p.m. Room 316, Wilson Hall

Title and abstract TBA

Psychological Sciences Colloquium Series presents Stephen B. Manuck
November 6, 2014

Stephen B. Manuck, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh,

The 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award Winner 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

4:10 p.m.
Location: 204 Mayborn 

Hearts and Minds: Bio behavioral Sources of Cardiovascular Risk

Much health-related research in psychology addresses behavioral influences on the development, prevention, and management of diseases of the heart and vasculature.  This is not surprising, as heart disease and stroke remain the foremost sources of mortality in industrialized nations.  These diseases are partly predicted from common biological risk factors like elevated blood pressure, dyslipidemia and insulin resistance, and by health-impairing behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity, thus informing current public health efforts directed at disease prevention.  We now know that a variety of other behavioral and social environmental factors also contribute to cardiovascular risk, including socioeconomic inequalities, social isolation, work-related stressors, and affective traits and disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and angry or hostile temperament.  Yet we are only beginning to understand how these largely psychological factors become embedded in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular disease, or as it is commonly phrased, “get under the skin.”  In this talk I will summarize work on two bio behavioral mechanisms that may mediate psychosocial influences on atherosclerosis, the pathologic process underlying susceptibility to heart attack and the most common form of stroke. The first of these, referred to as the “reactivity hypothesis,” posits individual differences in the magnitude of cardiovascular reactions evoked by common psychological stressors.  Such reactivity is stable over time, substantially heritable, and elevated in persons behaviorally predisposed to coronary heart disease.  That a heightened cardiovascular reactivity also conduces to atherosclerosis is supported in an experimental model of atherogenesis and by a variety of patient and population-based epidemiological studies of preclinical vascular disease. The second mechanistic hypothesis I will discuss has potential relevance for the cardiovascular health of women.  Comparative research documents mild disruptions of cyclic ovarian function among female macaques of subordinate, relative to dominant, social rank and shows these reproductive deficits to mediate status-dependent variation in atherosclerosis.  Building on these observations, J.R. Kaplan and I propose that the premenopausal protection against heart disease that women ordinarily experience is not invariant, but tracks with the quality of women’s premenopausal ovarian function.  In addition, and like low social rank in monkeys, adverse life circumstances or other psychological challenges may disrupt women’s ovarian function along a gradient of severity and with varying chronicity over the reproductive lifespan. We refer to the more rapid acquisition of preclinical atherosclerosis predicted of women suffering extended ovarian deficits, compared to women of uncompromised ovarian function, as the “precocious acceleration” of premenopausal cardiovascular risk.  This acceleration of risk may, in turn, presage an earlier onset of clinical disease, like heart attack, even though such events may still generally occur after the age of menopause.


Clinical Science Brown Bag Series: Chandra Y. Osborn
November 11, 2014

Chandra Y. Osborn, Ph.D., MPH,   Assistant Professor of Medicine, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine

Tuesday, 11/11/14

12:10 p.m.

Wilson Hall 316

Title & Abstract TBA

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