Indiana University

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Events for the week :
January 12, 2014 - January 18, 2014
January 12
January 13
  • Sequential pattern learning and the evolution of Broca's area

    Time: 01:30pm - 02:30pm 

    Place: Psychology 128


    Tom Schoenemann

    Broca's area (Brodmann's areas 44 and 45) was originally identified as a "language area" because linguistic deficits were the most obvious behavioral deficit to people with damage to that area. However, it has been shown that both apes and monkeys have homologs to Broca's area, which means that its evolutionary origin likely goes back at least 25 million years, and therefore could not have evolved originally specifically for human language. This talk will review research we have been pursuing regarding a possible original function of Broca's area. Our working hypothesis is that it evolved to simply extract information about sequential patterns from the organism's environment. Though originally focused on non-linguistic information, it is easy to see how this ability could have been later co-opted for language in our own lineage. I will discuss our attempts to assess non-linguistic sequential pattern learning in orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo using an implicit learning, serial reaction time paradigm. Future plans to assess in human subjects the degree of overlap in Broca's area between this kind of non-linguistic sequential pattern learning and natural language grammar processing will also be outlined.


    In category: Morphosyntax and semantics


  • Visual attention creates structure over space and time

    Time: 04:00pm - 05:00pm 

    Place: Psychology Room 101


    Steve Franconeri (Northwestern University)

    Selective attention allows us to filter visual information, amplifying what is relevant and suppressing what competes. But recent work in our lab suggests another role – extracting and manipulating visual structure. I will describe four such lines of research, showing a role for selective attention in grouping objects with similar features, extracting spatial relationships between objects, imagining manipulations of objects, and maintaining object identity over time. I will also describe interactions of these processes with spatial language and highlight potential applications for improving pedagogy and displays related to math and science education.


    In category: Morphosyntax and semantics


January 14
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January 18

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