13.12.2022 - Narly Golestani

Relative influences of nature vs nurture on the (auditory) brain and language

There are large individual differences in speech and language processing skills at different levels of the linguistic hierarchy, and these are likely modulated by experience-dependent plasticity but also by possible differences in innate predisposition. In this talk, I will provide an overview of our work which supports, on the one hand, the influence of learning and experience on the brain (i.e. brain plasticity), and on the other hand the possible role of predisposition in determining individual differences in specific language and auditory (e.g., musical) skills. More specifically, I will describe ongoing and planned work on nature vs nurture influences on the size and shape of the auditory cortex, and its relation to individual differences in auditory processing in the context of language and music. Future directions will involve elucidating brain functional / structural mechanisms beyond the auditory cortex that may be involved in conferring resilience, or compensatory potential, in the context of development and acquired language disorders.