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Heidi Solberg-Okland
Graduate student, Hearing and language group

heidi.solberg-okland@mrc-cbu.cam.ac.uk
01223 355 294
I'm a linguist turned cognitive neuroscientist who is really interested in finding out more about how we comprehend and use spoken language. My PhD project focuses on face-to-face (i.e. audiovisual) speech comprehension. Specifically, I want to know more about why a face-to-face conversation works so much better than a phone conversation when it is difficult to hear the other person. Just imagine what would happen if you were trying to have a conversation with someone at the pub on a Friday night with your eyes closed... (Try it!)

We know that speech is quasi-rhythmic, and emerging evidence suggests that an important mechanism for speech comprehension might be the synchronisation (“entrainment”) of brain waves to the speech rhythm. Interestingly, this speech rhythm is also very prominent in the opening and closing of the lips. What I aim to investigate is whether and how this extra "lip movement information" enhances the brain's ability to entrain to the speech signal.  
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