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Keynote Speakers

Katharina von Kriegstein

Faculty of Psychology, School of Science, Technische Universität Dresden, Germany


The primary goal of Katharina's lab's research program is to understand the sensory processes that enable successful communication among individuals. She employs behavioral, neuroimaging, and neurostimulation techniques to create and test innovative communication models. These models are then utilized to elucidate communication challenges in populations with developmental communication impairments and patients with brain lesions.

Keynote Talk: The tiny and the fast: The role of the sensory thalamus in speech recognition.

Human communication signals are complex and operate at rapid time scales across multiple modalities. For instance speech must be processed in real-time, often in challenging conditions. Katharina’s research aims to uncover the sensory mechanisms that allow humans to perceive these complex signals and effectively communicate with one another. During the presentation, she will share studies demonstrating a role of modulated responses in the visual and auditory sensory thalami (lateral geniculate nucleus, LGN; medial geniculate body, MGB) in speech recognition. This modulation can be explained by a predictive coding framework, where predictions generated in the cerebral cortex optimize the processing of auditory and visual speech in MGB and LGN. Disruptions to these cortico-thalamic systems are linked to two neurodevelopmental disorders, namely developmental dyslexia and autism. Recent high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging indicates differences, particularly in the magnocellular subsections of the visual sensory thalamus, between individuals with dyslexia and autism compared to typically developed controls. Overall, these findings suggest that modulation of MGB and LGN is involved in processing rapidly changing communication signals, and MGB and LGN dysfunction may contribute to symptoms observed in neurodevelopmental disorders.


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