The group has just had an article published in Frontiers on Statistical Learning Impairments as a Consequence of Stroke. The original goal of the research was to assess whether people with right hemisphere strokes might have more trouble updating a statistical model of language than participants with left hemisphere damage. Along the way things got more interesting and murkier. We ended up running many variants and including older and younger controls. So there are a lot of data, and they are available for you to look at too.
In summary, the main findings are:
- Young adults have a capacity limit for learning statistically defined languages.
- This capacity limit was attenuated for older controls.
- Participants with stroke, left or right, usually had significant deficits learning this material despite intact language comprehension, functioning well in their home environments, and being a relatively long time from the stroke itself.
- No clear location was associated with the magnitude of the deficit, but the strongest (though non-significant) association was near the anterior insula/superior temporal gyrus.
In addition, the work benefited from the work of an undergraduate (at the time), and a former PhD student so it was a pleasant spanning of academic generations, and utilized materials provided by Dr. Richard Aslin so it was also a tribute to collegiality and collaboration.
Please feel free to send on any of your comments or critiques.
A recent article in the New York Times by Casey Schwartz discusses the challenges in paying attention. One fact mentioned there is that our terminology may be faulty and its usage impeding our progress. I therefore appreciate Ms. Schwartz giving some attention to my position published back in 2011 that we reify the term attention to our scientific detriment. At least one alternative approach, which might explain a lot but not all of “attention”, is that we are sensitive to the statistical structure of our environment and tuned to experience, from which tuning emerges attentional effects. I look forward to reading more on this topic from Ms. Schwartz.
On Monday (09-April-2018) Syaheed Jabar successfully defended his PhD thesis. In the course of a short 4.5 years he successfully pursued first a Masters, and then a Doctorate. In the course of this work he developed techniques using psychophysics, eye tracking, EEG, evoked potentials, and computational modelling. As well as expanding our response recording tools to include the XBox controller. Along the way he published six papers, numerous posters, and there are more to come. He is a remarkable scientist and a generous collaborator. Good Luck and Congratulations!
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