Place: 4274 Chamberlin (Refreshments will be served)
Speaker: Ben Parrell, UW Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Abstract: The act of speaking is one of the most complex motor behaviors humans produce: a set of over 100 muscles must be precisely coordinated in space and time to produce rapid movements (50-300 ms) at a high rate (roughly 40 unique sounds per second). How can we control such a complex system with enough precision to produce intelligible speech? This talk will present the view that speech is a hierarchical dynamical system, with control needed only at a high-level (of speech goals or tasks) rather than a system where all muscle activations are controlled centrally. I will explain how this approach can explain speech phenomena in various languages, and show a preliminary sketch of how such a system could be instantiated in the brain.