PLoS Biology Podcast Episode 02: Decoding speech from the human brain

Brian PasleyIn this edition of the PLoS Podcast, PLoS Biology Editor Ruchir Shah interviews Brian Pasley and Robert (Bob) Knight from UC Berkeley.  Brian is a postdoc in Bob’s lab, and Bob is the Director of the Helen Wills Neuroscience Center at Berkeley.  Along with their collaborators at UCSF, their research team has published a new article in PLoS Biology called:

Reconstructing speech from human auditory cortex”.

Bob KnightEssentially, they were able to decode activity in the human auditory system in order to guess the words that people were actually listening to.  This technique, called “stimulus reconstruction”, has received a lot of media attention, particularly due to sensational claims of mind-reading.  But in reality, there are some important practical applications of this type of research for neural prosthetics.  For patients that can’t speak, for example, being able to reconstruct words that they imagine would allow them to communicate through a new interface.

In this podcast, Brian and Bob discuss how they were able to reconstruct words using activity in a specific region of the human brain called the superior temporal gyrus, or STG.  They then discuss the implications for neural prosthetics, and also the potential ethical implications for “mind-reading”.

(You can listen here by clicking the Play button,  or to subscribe to the RSS feed and download,  you can visit the Soundcloud page by clicking the link below)

PLoS Biology Podcast Episode 2: Decoding speech from the human brain by Public Library of Science

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3 Responses to PLoS Biology Podcast Episode 02: Decoding speech from the human brain

  1. hosseinabadi_hossein says:

    hello, I have a boy 6 years old.my son can not speak. he say some things but not good and also not completely.for example: father,moder, water.he can not say one sentence, for example: I NEED WATER. please help me and also inform what can i do? thank you so much.

  2. Stephen Preston says:

    Fascinating, and niely explained. Thankyou. But I’m curious: why is the first word, the input, so distorted?

  3. Pingback: Brain activity decoded to play back heard words » Sifigu