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Paula Tallal — Neuroscience, Phonology and Reading: A world-recognized authority on language-learning disabilities, she is active on many scientific advisory boards and government committees for both developmental language disorders and learning problems.
Additional bio info We found Dr. Tallal to be a brilliant neuroscientist with a deep compassion for the plight of children who suffer from language learning difficulties. Part 5 of Understanding and Teaching Reading The entire interview is available for online viewing: Bold is used to emphasize our [Children of the Code] sense of the importance of what is being said and does not necessarily reflect gestures or tones of emphasis that occurred during the interview.
I actually got interested in literacy by way of my long-term interest in language and the brain.
My first experience was working with adult patients who had lost their language as a result of brain damage. I was just absolutely amazed and horrified that you could lose the ability to communicate, to express yourself, or even understand what other people said.
When I went to graduate school I became interested in children who were having difficulty developing the ability to talk even though they seemed to be developing quite normally and healthily in all other ways. And at the time there was not that much known about these children, other than that there were lots of ways you could end up with difficulty learning to talk.
Of course, if you had a hearing problem or were deaf it would be very difficult to learn oral language. If you had severe mental retardation you might not have the capacity for language. If you had difficulty in moving your mouth or had an oral motor difficulty or a cleft palate or something like that, that could impact your language development.
And longitudinal research, that I and other people have done, following children with early oral language developmental delays, find that there is a high coincidence of these children ultimately developing difficulty in reading, writing, and particularly spelling.
I became interested in the whole continuum between oral and written language and particularly what we could learn by studying children who are struggling.
My particular interest was how the brain does it. The area that has always interested me most is how the brain develops the representations of the sounds of speech and puts those sounds together to make words and words together to make sentences and ultimately the interactions that we have when we communicate with each other.
So, my interest has always been in understanding the neural and biological underpinnings of language development and disorders. Oral and Written Language: By language I mean language in the broader sense both oral and written language, because after all, written language must stand on the shoulder of oral language.
When we look at a child learning to read we certainly see the visual side of it. Phonological awareness means knowledge — the awareness that words can actually be broken down into smaller parts and those parts are called phonemes or speech sounds. And the phonemes build words both for oral language and for written language.
And it turns out that children who have difficulty with written language as a group, not all of them but the large majority of them, have difficulty in becoming phonologically aware and playing little word games. So, these were clues that this has nothing to do with the visual aspects of language.
It has something to do with the acoustics of language, what the sounds actually sound like inside of words.
Now those two things come together — the fact that children who have difficulty with reading on the whole have difficulty with the smaller sounds inside of words, the phonemes. And also the fact that children who have significant difficulty learning to talk also have difficulty with the sounds inside of words, but their difficulty shows up much earlier in life.
The Oral to Written Language Continuum: Look at those big blue eyes. There might be structures in the brain that have developed over time that make it more likely that a human being is going to be able to pull this code apart better than a non human.
How the Brain Learns: That brings us into how the brain learns in general. The brain seems to learn by looking for consistencies, looking for events that repeat themselves frequently.
And those events are usually made up of visual input, auditory input, feeling in the mouth for the baby, and feeling on the body the sensory events of the world. But very quickly, within the first six months of life, babies come to only be able to hear the differences between those sounds that are important in their language, their set of phonemes, and they begin to not even be able to discriminate the sounds of other languages that are not used in their own.
In trying to understand how that occurs in the brain there is a big clue to how the brain is actually breaking up this system and beginning to represent the individual sounds as neural firing patterns. What we know from other kinds of research, particularly animal research, is something called Hebbian learning: And the more often a set of neurons fire together, the more likely it is that they will fire again together and form an easier and easier representation so it will be easier and easier to get that set of neurons to fire off together and wire up together.
And we think that has something to do with the basic units in which the brain is going to perceive the phonological building blocks of language. The Brain and Speech: So, what does the brain have to do to get to that point?Psychophysics quantitatively investigates the relationship between physical if the experiment is testing the minimum amplitude of sound that can be detected, the sound begins too quietly to be perceived, and is made gradually louder.
If the participant makes an incorrect response the stimulus intensity is increased by the one size. A. To show or hide the keywords and abstract of a paper (if available), click on the paper title Open all abstracts Close all abstracts.
The Nature of Sound Waves THE PRESSURE AMPLITUDE OF A SOUND WAVE Loudness is another attribute of a sound that depends primarily on the pressure amplitude. For a olfactory receptor which stimulus modality will induce a receptor potential of the largest amplitude. High heat intensity. For a free nerve ending, which stimulus modality will induce a receptor potential of the largest amplitude.
secondary AIHA: autoimmune diseases (e.g. SLE) lymphoproliferative disorders; immune deficiencies (e.g. CVID); infections (e.g. mycoplasma, EBV). Which Intensity Of Which Modality Created The Greatest Amplitude Of Response Amplitude modulation or AM as it is often called, is a form of modulation used for radio transmissions for broadcasting and two way radio communication applications.