Jonathan Simon (University of Maryland) “Continuous speech and its neural representations, through auditory cortex and beyond”

October 15, 2021 @ 12:00 pm – 1:15 pm
Hackerman Hall B17
3400 N. Charles Street
MD 21218


As a stimulus, continuous speech drives robust neural responses all along the auditory pathway, inviting the possibility of simultaneously investigating multiple speech processing mechanisms, at different hierarchical levels, with the same speech stimulus. I will discuss recent results regarding neural representations of continuous speech at several steps along the auditory pathway, from subcortical representations, to multiple cortical representations, lexical representations, and further. The earliest representations are dominantly stimulus driven (strongly “bottom up”), but later cortical representations are greatly influenced by selective attention (“top down”), and tend to reflect the speech as it is perceived rather than simply reflecting the bottom up acoustic input.


Jonathan Simon’s research focuses on neural processing in the brain’s auditory system, from specialized processing found only in humans (e.g., speech processing) to generalized processing found in most mammals, including auditory attention and sound localization. He earned his bachelors in physics from Princeton University, his doctorate in physics from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and did postdoctoral research in theoretical general relativity (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and University of Maryland-College Park) before embracing the field of neuroscience. He joined the University of Maryland’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Department in 2001, the Biology Department in 2002, and the Institute for Systems Research in 2013. He is also co-director of the KIT-Maryland Magnetoencephalography Center, and of the Computational Sensorimotor Systems Laboratory (CSSL).

Center for Language and Speech Processing