Speaker-listener coupling: a novel neural approach for assessing communication

讲话者 - 听众耦合:评估交流的新型神经方法

URI HASSON (2016-09-30 to 2021-07-31) $5,647,321

Project ID: DP1HD091948 (NICHD)

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Communication is a dynamic process by which information is transferred across people. For the sake of experimental control, however, most cognitive neuroscience work on communication focus on either language production in the speaker's brain or comprehension in the listener's brain during highly artificial tasks. Communication, which by nature is a joint action embedded in a social context, is paradoxically studied in single individuals in isolation. In this proposal, we advance a new and versatile framework for understanding the neural mechanisms underlying communication in the real world. This framework argues that effective communication emerges when the neural activity of the two interlocutors are ?coupled? together. This coupling can take the form of (1) mirroring, when the listener's neural patterns match those of the speaker; (2) conditional transformations, when the listener's patterns reflect a lawful relation to the speaker's neural patterns; or (3) synergies, when the activities of the two brains dynamically influence and constrain each other to optimize information sharing. To test our theoretical framework, we propose developing both stationary and portable dual-brain imaging systems for measuring the neural activity of multiple individuals engaged in dialogue in the laboratory and in clinical settings. Two of the systems, fMRI hyperscanning and ECoG hyperscanning, take advantage of the high spatial and high temporal resolution of the respective methods to precisely characterize coupled neural dynamics during dialogue. For the third system, we propose developing a portable, dual-brain fNIRS system to characterize how two brains interact in real-life settings. Field work measuring the level of brain-to-brain coupling between a caregiver and a child could be used to study the acquisition of a first language; as an early preverbal biomarker for developmental disorder (e.g. lack of caregiver-child coupling as an early biomarker for autism); and as a temporally refined diagnostic tool for evaluating the effectiveness of behavioral and pharmacological interventions aimed at alleviating communication deficits (e.g. in autism, schizophrenia). Although the proposed research is technologically challenging, this laboratory has a track record of developing innovative analysis tools and theoretical frameworks for the study of cognitive functions in real-life contexts. The PI has substantial experience working with ECoG, fMRI and fNIRS, as well as studying both neurotypical and clinical populations. Our proposal is strongly grounded in prior work studying the extent of shared neural responses across subjects during the processing of real-life information. Thus, although ambitious, the research plan is both feasible and grounded, and has the potential to transform the way we understand and assess the neural processes by which we interact with others in everyday contexts. Ultimately, we believe that this work will lead to a novel brain-to-brain coupling biomarker for detecting preverbal communication disorders and assessing interventions in clinical settings.

沟通是一个动态过程,通过这个过程,信息可以跨人传递。然而,为了实验控制,大多数认知神经科学的通信工作都集中在说话者大脑中的语言产生或者在高度人工的任务中对听者大脑的理解。沟通本质上是一种嵌入社会背景的联合行动,孤立地研究单身个体。在这个提案中,我们推进了一个新的多功能框架,用于理解现实世界中沟通的神经机制。该框架认为,当两个对话者的神经活动相互耦合时,就会出现有效的沟通方式。一起。当听者的神经模式与说话者的神经模式匹配时,这种耦合可以采取(1)镜像的形式; (2)条件变换,当听者的模式反映出与说话者神经模式的合法关系时;或者(3)协同作用,当两个大脑的活动动态地相互影响和约束以优化信息共享时。为了测试我们的理论框架,我们建议开发固定和便携式双脑成像系统,用于测量在实验室和临床环境中进行对话的多个人的神经活动。其中两个系统,fMRI超扫描和ECoG超扫描,利用各自方法的高空间和高时间分辨率来精确地表征对话期间的耦合神经动态。对于第三个系统,我们建议开发一种便携式双脑fNIRS系统,以表征两个大脑在现实环境中如何相互作用。测量护理人员和儿童之间的脑 - 脑耦合水平的实地工作可用于研究第一语言的获得;作为发育障碍的早期预备生物标志物(例如缺乏照顾者 - 儿童偶联作为自闭症的早期生物标志物);并作为一种时间精炼的诊断工具,用于评估旨在减轻沟通障碍的行为和药物干预措施的有效性(例如自闭症,精神分裂症)。虽然拟议的研究在技术上具有挑战性,但该实验室在开发创新分析工具和理论框架方面有着良好的记录,可用于研究现实生活中的认知功能。 PI在与ECoG,fMRI和fNIRS合作方面拥有丰富的经验,同时也研究了神经典型和临床人群。我们的建议主要基于以前的工作,研究在处理现实生活信息期间跨学科的共享神经反应的程度。因此,虽然雄心勃勃,但研究计划既可行又有根据,并且有可能改变我们理解和评估在日常情境中与他人互动的神经过程的方式。最终,我们相信这项工作将导致一种新型的脑 - 脑偶联生物标志物,用于检测术前通讯障碍和评估临床环境中的干预措施。

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