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Colloquia occur: Selected Mondays at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm - Room PY 101.
Colloquia titles will be posted as they become available.
Organizer: Rob Goldstone
Feb 1, 2016: Dana Small, Yale University
Psychology 101, 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Title: When a calorie is not a calorie: Unraveling the signals driving sugar reward
Abstract: Recent work in animals suggests that the reinforcing effects of sugars derive not from their oral sensory properties, but rather from a post-ingestive signal. The nature of this signal and whether it translates to humans are controversial. In this talk evidence from a series of fMRI, behavioral and metabolic studies in humans will be presented to demonstrate that metabolic response regulates the reinforcement potency of carbohydrate containing beverages in humans. Specifically, rated liking and response in dopamine source and target regions to calorie-predictive sensory cues depends upon the extent to which energy expenditure is increased following sugar consumption. However, and surprisingly findings also show that metabolic response is strongly modulated by the degree to which sweetness is proportional to caloric load such that metabolic response following consumption of the same caloric load is greater when the sweet taste “matches” the caloric load. This indicates that the reinforcing effects of sugars depend upon the integration of metabolic and oral signals and not on the absolute amount of calories ingested.
Feb 8, 2016: Dr. Asif Ghazanfar – Princeton University
Psychology Rm. 101, 4:00 - 5:00 pm
Title: The evolution and developmental neuromechanics of vocal communication
Abstract: Human vocal development is the outcome of interactions among an infant’s developing body and nervous system, and his experience with caregivers. Newborns can only produce cries; cries decline over the first three months as they transition into preverbal vocalizations like fussing sounds and babbling. The rate of these transitions is influenced by social feedback: contingent responses of caregivers spur the development of more mature vocalizations. By contrast, non-human primate vocalizations are widely viewed as undergoing little or no production-related acoustic changes during development and such changes are routinely attributed solely to passive consequences of growth. We tracked vocal development of marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus)—a voluble New World species—from the first postnatal day until they produced adult-like calls at two months of age. Using unbiased methods to quantify changes in vocal acoustics and computational modeling with empirical support from respiratory physiology, we show that marmosets exhibit dramatic changes in vocalization structure, including the transformation of cries into mature calls. This transformation is not solely due to growth. Measuring vocal interactions, we show that contingent parental responses influence the timing of cry-to-call transitions. As in humans, early cries in marmoset monkeys provide scaffolding for mature vocalizations and this transformation is influenced by social feedback. The behavioral biology of marmosets shares striking similarities with humans. Both marmosets and humans adopt a cooperative breeding strategy whereby parents, older siblings and non-kin help care for offspring. This strategy is thought to enhance other prosocial cognitive processes, including vocal communication, all of which serve key roles in infant development. It is possible that the complex and socially dependent vocal development we observed in marmoset monkeys may be a necessary condition for the evolution of vocal learning in humans.