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ALT

Adaptation, learning and training for spatial hearing in complex environments

Project Acronym: ALT
Duration: 01/01/2016-31/12/2019 (extended co-funding until 12/2020)
Project Number: 691229
Call (part) identifier: H2020-MSCA-RISE-2015
Topic: MSCA-RISE-2015 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research and Innovation Staff Exchange (RISE)

Oznam pre média

Výskum z Prírodovedeckej fakulty prezentovaný na vedecko-popularizačnom webe Európskej komisie

Schopnosť porozumieť reči v zložitých hlučných prostrediach je pre človeka veľmi dôležitá. Medzinárodné konzorcium vedené doc. Norbertom Kopčom z Laboratória vnímania a kognície Ústavu informatiky UPJŠ ukončilo EU Horizon 2020 projekt ALT, ktorý študoval ako sa ľudský mozog prispôsobuje a učí pre úspešné zvládanie takýchto úloh. Výsledky výskumu zahŕňajú nové poznatky o neurálnych štruktúrach a kognitívnych procesoch učenia dôležitých pri rôznych každodenných úlohách, od určovania „kde je môj zvoniaci telefón“ po rozpoznávanie nových hlások v cudzích jazykoch. V rámci projektu boli tiež vyvinuté nástroje a mobilné hry na mozgový tréning s cieľom zlepšiť sluchové schopnosti u zdravých ľudí aj u pacientov s poruchami sluchu. Na základe týchto výsledkov bol projekt vybraný pre prezentáciu na webe popularizujúcom výskum podporovaný Európskou úniou. A aj vďaka tomuto projektu, na ktorom boli partnermi Rakúska akadémia vied a 4 inštitúcie z USA, a do ktorého sa zapojila aj Filozofická fakulta UPJŠ, sa UPJŠ stala jednou z najúspešnejších inštitúcií na Slovensku v rámci Akcií Marie Sklodowskej-Curie programu Horizon 2020.

For media

Faculty of Science research featured on European Commission’s „Research in Brief“ web

The human ability to understand speech in complex noisy environments is very important. An international consortium led by doc. Norbert Kopčo from Perception and Cognition Laboratory at the UPJŠ Institute of Computer Science recently completed the EU Horizon 2020 project ALT which studied how the brain adapts and learns when coping with such tasks. The project results provide new knowledge about the neural structures and cognitive processes of learning important in many everyday situations, ranging from localizing a ringing phone to identification of new phonemes in a foreign language. Also, tools and brain-training cell phone games were developed aiming at improving the auditory abilities of normal-hearing as well as hearing-impaired listeners. Based on these results the project was featured on the “Research in Brief” web reporting on EU-funded research. Other partners on this project included Austrian Academy of Science and 4 US institutions. Also, the UPJŠ Faculty of Arts participated. With the contribution of this project, UPJŠ became one of the most successful Slovak institutions in the Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions.

Abstract

In everyday situations, humans are exposed to multiple concurrent stimuli in complex, continuously changing environments. To correctly extract relevant information, they adapt their processing to reflect the specifics of the current scene, and they learn from previous experience to improve the perceptual strategies used. The current project proposes to perform a series of behavioral experiments, brain imaging studies, and computational modeling 1) to study the auditory mechanisms of adaptation to new reverberant environments for speech processing, sound localization, and learning of new phonetic categories, and 2) to study how attention and mechanisms of implicit and explicit learning are used to cope with complex listening environments. The results will be important, e.g., for development of new prosthetic devices and new virtual reality technologies. Here, they will be used to develop a brain training game that can improve impaired listeners’ performance in complex environments. An additional goal of the proposal is to obtain new knowledge and skills related to studying human perceptual processes and the corresponding neural mechanisms. Skills to perform sensory learning research, psychophysics, non-invasive brain imaging (EEG and fMRI), and computational modeling will be exchanged during the secondments. Also, a series of workshops will be organized to train new researchers to perform research in computational and cognitive neuroscience, with additional goal of enhancing the exchange of information among participants and sharing new results obtained in this project. The project consortium consists of academic, research, medical, and small enterprise organizations based in the EU and USA. The participants have complementary skills necessary to achieve all the defined goals. Their collaboration on this project will result in strengthening of the European Research Area and in establishing new long-term collaborations between EU and US researchers.

Results

A summary describes the main results of the project is available here.

Papers, conference presentations, and preprints from 2016 to 2020 with the ALT results are available here.
Software and demos developed in this project are available here.

Collaborators:

Piotr Majdak, Austrian Academy of Science
Virginia Best, Boston University (co-hosted with H. Steven Colburn; previously Barbara Shinn-Cunningham)
Aaron Seitz, University of California, Riverside
Erick Gallun, National Center for Rehabilitative Auditory Research, Portland and OHSU
Jyrki Ahveninen, Martinos Center, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 691229.