Mark Tiede, Senior Scientist, Haskins Laboratories

Thursday, October 13, 2022 - 12:30pm

 “Neural and Behavioral Responses to Talking Faces in Cocktail Party Noise”

ABSTRACT: Speech comprehension relies both on sensory integration of auditory and supplemental visual cues for parsing content, as well as on facial cues, especially the eyes, for evaluation of social context (sincerity, attitude, etc.). In this study whole-head surface hemodynamics were recorded using fNIRS concurrently with eye-tracking while participants watched videos of spontaneous speech under contrasting no-noise vs. cocktail party noise conditions. Under noise results showed a preferential shift in gaze from speaker eyes to speaker mouth, together with reduced dorsal stream and increased language center neural activity. This suggests a reallocation of resources under degraded perceptual conditions favoring language content over social assessment.

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