Our work, fundamentally interdisciplinary, focuses on one of the most fundamentally human capacities – language – in particular, on speech, voice and hearing, in adults and during aging. It is well known that the human brain undergoes significant changes in its structure and functioning with age, a phenomenon known as senescence. Nevertheless, the adult brain also retains the ability to change its organization throughout life, as a result of the acquisition of skills, knowledge, or functional losses, a phenomenon known as experience-dependent brain plasticity. However, little is known about how these two antagonistic forces – aging and experience – can transform the adult brain and affect our ability to communicate.
In the lab, we use state-of-the-art multimodal brain imaging and brain stimulation methods to examine how aging and experience shape the anatomy and physiology of the brain and how these changes affect not only communication, but also the cognitive functions that support communication, such as attention and working memory in adults.