In contrast to computer algorithms, humans are able to comprehend speech in challenging acoustical conditions like cocktail parties. To understand this remarkable ability, Meliza's research examines a perceptual illusion called auditory restoration, in which the brain fills in words and other sounds that have been interrupted by brief, loud noises. The project combines methods of measuring behavior and brain activity to probe the neural circuits underlying auditory restoration in finches. By identifying these circuits and how they are wired, this research will give insight into fundamental perceptual processes that allow humans to communicate through speech, and more broadly, that enable the brain to construct coherent experiences from sensory information that is often incomplete and unreliable.
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