Of beastly brains and brainy beasts
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Wednesday 22nd May 2019
Doors Open 18:30 | Event 19:00 - 22:30
Café Charlemagne
Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 24, 6211 HE Maastricht

Human brains are unique. Wait, are they?

Millions of years of evolution has enabled us to invent advanced languages, and develop sophisticated tools and technology. This is a talk about how we can study the human brain and compare it with that of other animals, and how that might lead us to one day understand what makes us human.

About speaker: Suhas is pursuing a PhD in neuroscience. He compares brains of humans and macaques in hopes of finding interesting differences between them. He mainly uses information about cross talk between various brain regions, when the animals (including humans) are not performing any particular task.

Suhas Vijayakumar

PhD candidate at Donders Institute

Radboud University


How is human communication similar to and different from bird song?

Humans communicate with their melodic voices, so do birds. These voices follow patterns, just like bird songs. But humans need to communicate more than just threats of the environment and where to find food. The magnificent properties of language, reference and abstractness are key to human communication. This talk will explain what these are in language and show the differences (and commonalities) of bird and human communication.

About the speaker: Katerina is a cognitive neuroscientist with a specialization in computational linguistics and neurobiology of language. She is currently investigating rhythm perception in speech, using a combination of neuroimaging and magnetic stimulation methods.

Katerina Kandylaki

Post-doctoral researcher

Maastricht University


Talking seals

The comparative study of human music and speech has traditionally investigated primates and birds. Andrea will discuss why seals are a fitting model species to understand two extremely common human traits, music and speech, and their evolutionary origins.

About the speaker: Andrea investigates the evolutionary and biological bases of time perception and rhythm cognition, and their role in the origins of music and speech. He uses (non-invasive) behavioral experiments in non-human animals, which is a way to understand the evolutionary history of human cognitive capacities. He complements animal research with human experiments, quantitative models, and agent-based simulations.

Andrea Ravignani

Post-doctoral researcher

Sealcentre Pieterburen