Face-to-face communication is accompanied by an abundance of contextual information relevant to understanding, including both sensory information external to the listener (e.g., observed mouth movements and co-speech gestures) and knowledge or expectations internal to the listener (e.g., discourse context). Most behavioral and neurobiological research of language, however, discards context in favor of studying isolated speech sounds or words. In contrast, the long-term objective of my research is to understand the neural mechanisms of communication in real-world social settings in which the brain evolved, develops, and normally functions. This research is guided by a theoretical model of communication in which the brain actively makes use of context to aid in speech perception and language comprehension by using this information to generate predictions about forthcoming sensory patterns to constrain linguistic interpretation. I combine novel analysis techniques with behavioral and neuroimaging methods, including functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and source localized magneto- (MEG) and electroencephalography (EEG), to test and continue to elaborate this model. By doing so, my research has resulted in theoretical advances with respect to understanding how the brain makes use of naturally occurring context and methodological advances that permit the analysis multimodal data resulting from real-world stimuli.
Meet the researcher
Jeremy’s group studies the neurobiology of language use. Language is probably the most fundamentally human function and it underlies our abilities to do so many different things, that understanding how it works in our brain is an essential problem to solve. Jeremy uses neuroimaging techniques like fMRI to understand what the brain is doing during natural tasks like watching a movie for maximum ecological validity.
On the web
- A voice without a mouth no more: The neurobiology of language and consciousness Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, 140 DOI: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2022.104772
- Anxiety and amygdala connectivity during movie-watching Neuropsychologia, 169 DOI: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2022.108194
- Finding core-periphery structures with node influences IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering DOI: 10.1109/TNSE.2021.3138436
- View all publications by Jeremy Skipper