The 2024 Dr. Donald G. Doehring Memorial Lecture

Published: 20 February 2024

McGill’s School of Communication Sciences and Disorders
is proud to announce:
The 2024 Dr. Donald G. Doehring Memorial Lecture
March 11, 4:30 to 6 pm
Leacock 232
855 Sherbrooke St. W.
Dr. Sheila Blumstein
Brown University

Back to the Future: A Reconsideration of Language Deficits in Aphasia This talk will reconsider the last 50+ years of research in aphasia with the goal of providing a unified theory of language-brain relations that intersects the functional architecture of language (the theory of language) with the neural architecture (brain structures) involved in language processing. Evidence suggests that speech, lexical, and meaning components are neurally distributed networks with some elements of specialization that operate on common
computational principles including graded activation, competition, and selection. Brain injury introduces ‘noise’ into the system affecting its efficiency but not its organizational principles – systematic patterns of errors occur, processing is slowed, and access to information is affected.

Sheila E. Blumstein is the Albert D. Mead Professor Emerita of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences at Brown University. She received a BA from the University of Rochester in 1965 and a PhD from Harvard University in 1970, both in linguistics. She has been at Brown since 1970. Her research is concerned with delineating the neural basis of language and the processes and mechanisms involved in speaking and understanding in aphasia and in neurotypical individuals. Blumstein’s research has focused on how the continuous acoustic signal is transformed by perceptual and neural mechanisms into the sounds of language, how speech sounds map on to the lexicon (mental dictionary), and how the mental dictionary is organized for the purposes of language comprehension and production. She has served on a number of scientific review panels and boards for the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the McDonnell Pew Program in Cognitive Neuroscience. She has been the recipient of a number of honors and awards including a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Claude Pepper Award from the National Institutes of Health, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, an Honorary Doctorate as well as the Susan Colver Rosenberger Medal, both from Brown University, and the Silver Medal in Speech Communication from the Acoustical Society of America. She has been elected Fellow of the Acoustical Society of America, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Linguistic Society of America, and the American Psychological Society.

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