PhD projects

1/10/2020 - 30/09/2023

Bridging communication in behavioural and neural dynamics

Isaïh Mohamed
Supervisors : Daniele Schön, Institut de Neurosciences des Systèmes & Leonardo Lancia Laboratoire de Phonétique et Phonologie

The aim of this project is to bridge interpersonal verbal coordination and neural dynamics. In practice, we will collect neurophysiological data on individuals (mostly patients with intracranial recordings) performing different interactive language tasks. We will use natural language processing methods to estimate objective features of verbal coordination on speech/language signals. Then we will use machine learning and information theory driven approaches to bridge the dynamics of the coordinative verbal behavior to spatio-temporal neural dynamics.
More precisely, we plan to use several tasks that have been proven to be efficient in the study of verbal interactions. Some tasks are rather constrained and controlled (allowing to manipulate the coordinative dynamics) while others assess conversation in more natural conditions. Speech recordings allow quantifying coordination at different linguistic levels in a time resolved manner. These metrics can then be used to interpret changes in neural dynamics as a function of verbal coordination. We plan to use different approaches, a machine learning approach (decoding the speech signal of the speaker based on the neural signal of the listener) as well as information-theoretic approach (to model to what extent the relation between neural signals and upcoming speech is influenced by the current level of coordination estimated by convergence, for instance).
Overall, this project will allow gathering a better understanding of the link between behavioural coordinative dynamics and neural dynamics. For instance, compared to simple coordinative dynamics, more difficult coordinative behaviour will probably require a change in the ratio between top-down and bottom-up connections between frontal regions and temporal regions in specific frequency bands (increase of top-down beta and decrease of bottom-up gamma).
The strength of this project is to merge sophisticated coordination designs, advanced analysis of verbal coordination dynamics and front edge neuroscience tools with unique neural data in humans.

 


1/10/2020 - 30/09/2023

Ouvrir une fenêtre sur l'esprit des lecteurs : Détermination par TMS et EEG du réseau cortical impliqué dans le comportement oculomoteur de lecture

Régis Mancini
Supervisors : Françoise Vitu, Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive & Boris Burle Laboratoire de Neurosciences cognitives

Les mouvements oculaires pendant la lecture ont été étudiés depuis plus d’un siècle, révélant un comportement très stéréotypé, en dépit même d’une importante variabilité de l’amplitude des saccades et des positions des fixations sur les lignes de texte. La majorité des modèles proposés pour rendre compte de ce comportement repose sur un guidage cognitif du regard, et suppose donc un contrôle essentiellement descendant. Ces modèles descendants sont néanmoins contredits par le fait rapporté récemment qu’un modèle analphabète de programmation des saccades dans le colliculus supérieur, une structure sous-corticale multi-intégrative, prédise assez fidèlement le comportement oculomoteur des lecteurs simplement à partir de traitements visuels précoces effectués dès la rétine (contraste de luminance). Ce résultat suggère au contraire un rôle secondaire du néocortex dans le contrôle oculomoteur pendant la lecture.
La thèse envisagée aura pour but d’une part de caractériser le réseau cortical impliqué dans le contrôle oculomoteur pendant la lecture, et d’autre part de déterminer la dynamique temporelle d’activation de ces différentes aires corticales. Ces recherches reposeront d’abord sur l’utilisation de la stimulation magnétique transcrânienne (TMS), permettant d’inactiver transitoirement une aire corticale donnée chez des participants sains, conjointement à l’enregistrement des mouvements oculaires pendant une tâche de lecture de phrases. L’effet de l’inactivation d’une aire corticale donnée sur les comportements oculomoteurs classiquement observés renseignerait donc de son implication dans la lecture. Dans un second temps, les études TMS seront complétées par une approche basée sur des enregistrements électroencéphalographiques (EEG).

English:

Eye movements during reading have been studied for more than a century, revealing a very stereotyped behaviour, despite a significant variability in the amplitude of saccades and the positions of fixations on the lines of text. Most of the models proposed to account for this behaviour are based on a cognitive guidance of the gaze, and therefore presuppose an essentially top-down control. These top-down models are nevertheless contradicted by the recently reported fact that an illiterate model of saccade programming in the superior colliculus, a multi-integrative subcortical structure, fairly accurately predicts the oculomotor behaviour of readers simply from early visual processing (luminance contrast). This result suggests on the contrary a secondary role of the neocortex in oculomotor control during reading.
The thesis aims on the one hand to characterize the cortical network involved in oculomotor control during reading, and on the other hand to determine the temporal dynamics of activation of these different cortical areas. This research is primarily based on the use of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which temporarily inactivates a given cortical area in healthy participants, in conjunction with the recording of eye movements during a sentence-reading task. The effect of the inactivation of a given cortical area on the oculomotor behaviours classically observed would therefore indicate its involvement in reading. In a second step, TMS studies will be complemented by an approach based on electroencephalographic (EEG) recordings.


1/10/2020 - 30/09/2023

Development of Children's Communicative

Mitja Nikolaus
Supervisors : Abdellah Fourtassi (Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire d'Informatique Système), Laurent Prévot (Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Parole et Langage)

Research Lab: CoCoDev
The study of how the ability for coordinated communication emerges in development is both an exciting scienti c frontier | at the heart of debates about the uniqueness of human cognition (Tomasello, 2014) | as well as an important applied issue for AI (Antle, 2013).
Early signs of coordination (e.g., through gaze and smile) can be found in preverbal infants (Yale, 2003), but the ability to engage in coordinated verbal communication (Clark, H. & Brennan, 1991) takes years to mature.
Learning such coordination, especially with the caregivers, is crucial for the child's healthy cognitive development (Ho , 2006; Gelman, 2009).
Very few studies examined the nature of children's communicative coordination and its development in the natural environment (that is, outside controlled laboratory studies).
Further, existing naturalistic studies (e.g., Clark, E. 2015), though insightful, have been based on anecdotal observations, leading to rather qualitative conclusions.
Thus, previous work did not provide any theoretical model that could explain, quantitatively, the naturally occurring data, let alone provide a basis for theory-informed applications. This project will contribute to ll this gap.
We will combine AI tools from NLP and Computer Vision to study the multimodal dynamics of children's communicative coordination with caregivers, laying the foundation for a data-driven model that would 1) provide us with a scienti c understanding of the natural phenomena and 2) guide us through the design of child-computer interaction systems that can be used to test and evaluate the model.

References
Antle (2013). Research opportunities: Embodied child{computer interaction. International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction.
Clark, E. (2015) Common ground. The Handbook of Language Emergence.
Clark, H. & Brennan (1991). Grounding in communication. Perspectives on socially shared cognition.
Gelman (2009). Learning from others: Children's construction of concepts. Annual review of psychology.
Ho (2006). How social contexts support and shape language development. Developmental Review.
Tomasello (2014). A natural history of human thinking. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Yale, Messinger, Cobo-Lewis, & Delgado (2003). The temporal coordination of early infant communication. Developmental Psychology.


1/11/2019 - 31/10/2022

The emergence of social conventions in the categorisation of speech sounds

Elliot Huggett
Supervisors : Noël Nguyen (Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire Parole et Langage) , Nicolas Claidière (Aix-Marseille Université, Laboratoire de Psychologie Cognitive)

 


1/10/2019 - 30/09/2022

Wavelet-based muldimensional characterizaon of brain networks in language tasks

Clément Verrier
Supervisors : Bruno Torrésani (Instut de Mathémaques de Marseille) ,  Christian Bénar (Instut de Neurosciences des Systèmes)

Project Summary:
Brain function involves complex interactions between cortical areas at different spatial and temporal scales. Thus, the spatio-temporal definition of brain networks is one of the main current challenges in neuroscience. With this objective in view, electrophysiological techniques such as electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) offer a fine temporal resolution that allows capturing fast changes (at the level of the millisecond) across a wide range of frequencies (up to 100 Hz).
However, the spatial aspects require solving a difficult (extremely ill-posed) inverse problem that projects the signals recorded at the level of surface sensors to the cortex. Current techniques for extracting spatio-temporal networks in MEG and EEG suffer from the inherent difficulties arising from solving the inverse problem. We propose to use a novel wavelet analysis approach in order to improve the extraction of language networks from MEG signals. The methods will be validated using simultaneous MEG-intracerebral EEG recordings. More precisely, the objective is to develop algorithms and data analysis procedures for spatio-temporal characterization of brain networks across multiple frenquencies, for EEG and MEG signals, validate them on simulated and real signals, and apply the developed methodology on language protocols in the framework of ILCB.

1/11/2018 - 31/10/2021

Learning of speech motor sequences: the role of the basal ganglia, cerebellum and medial frontal cortex

Snežana Todorović
Supervisors : Elin Runnqvist (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS-LPL), Sonja Kotz (University of Maastricht)
Collaborator: Andrea Brovelli (Aix-Marseille Université, CNRS-INT)


1/11/2018 - 31/10/2021

Understanding the vocal brain using new deep learning approaches

Shinji Saget
Supervisors : Thierry ARTIERES (PR1 AMU), Pascal BELIN (INT)


01/10/17 - 30/09/20

L'exploitation rationnelle des indices intonatifs disponibles: le cas de la relation de signalisation entre la montée initiale et le focus contrastif en Français

Axel Barrault
Supervisors : James Sneed GERMAN (LPL),Pauline WELBY (LPL)


01/10/17 - 30/09/20

Understanding the vocal brain using new deep learning approaches

Tom Dagens
Supervisor : Thierry ARTIERES (PR1 AMU) head of QARMA team on Machine Learning, Laboratoire d’Informatique Fondamentale (LIF)
Pascal BELIN (PR1 AMU), head of team “Neural Bases of Communication”, Institut de Neurosciences de La Timone (INT)


01/10/16 - 30/09/19

Soutenue le 10/07/2020

Evaluation de la plasticité du réseau langage dans l’epilepsie temporale pharmaco-résistante

Fasola Alexia
Supervisor: Agnès TREBUCHON (INS), F.-Xavier ALARIO (LPC)


01/10/16 - 30/09/19

Et s’il me fait rire ? Quel impact sur la communication homme-machine de la prise en compte de mécanismes humains d’interaction sociale, comme l’humour, dans un agent conversationnel virtuel ?

Riou Mathieu
Supervisor: Fabrice LEFEVRE (LIA), T.CHAMINADE (INT), B.JABAIAN (LIA), S.HUET (LIA)


01/10/15 - 30/09/18

Soutenue le 6/12/2019

LE CORTEX VOCAL CHEZ LE PRIMATE : UNE INVESTIGATION ANATOMO-FONCTIONNELLE

Clementine Bodin
Supervisor: Pascal Belin (INT), Olivier Coulon (LSIS)


01/10/15 - 30/09/18

Soutenue le 7/09/2018

Readers are parallel processors

Joshua Snell
Supervisor: Jonathan Grainger (LPC)


01/11/14 - 31/10/17
Soutenue le 18/12/2018

From auditory perception to memory : musicianship as a window into novel word learning

Eva Maria Dittinger
Supervisor: Mireille Besson (LNC), Mariapaola D’Imperio (LPL)


01/10/14 - 30/09/17

Soutenue le 13/12/2018

Interactions entre langage oral et langage écrit lors du traitement de mots isolés et de phrases : comparaison d'adultes dyslexiques et normo-lecteurs

Ambre Denis-Noël
Supervisor: Chotiga Pattamadilok (LPL), Pascale Colé (LPC)


01/11/13 - 30/09/16

Soutenue le 17/02/2017

Évaluation de la parole dysarthrique : Apport du traitement automatique de la parole face à l’expertise humaine

Imed Laaridh
Supervisor: Jean-François Bonastre (LIA), Corinne Fredouille (LIA), Christine Meunier (LPL)


01/10/13 - 01/10/16

Soutenue le 15/01/2018

Analyses multimodales de l'interaction patient-médecin en situation de formation à l'annonce d'un événement indésirable grave : modélisation en vue d'implémenter un outil de formation par la réalité virtuelle

Jorane Saubesty
Supervisor: Marion Tellier (LPL), Daniel Mestre (CRVM)