David McAlpine is Professor of Hearing, Language and the Brain in Sydney (Australia). He is currently focusing on a form of learning that occurs primarily through auditory perception, referred to as statistical learning. This unconscious process takes place continuously in the brain as it perceives and automatically scans the environment for information in order to learn how to distinguish important acoustic input from background noise. The team led by Professor McAlpine and Livia de Hoz (Charité - Universitätsmedizin) will work in conjunction with the Collaborative Research Center "Mechanisms and Disturbances in Memory Consolidation" to record the neuronal structures of the auditory brain in mice and investigate the types of noise that assist statistical learning. To achieve this, the project will focus on neuronal circuits and cellular mechanisms. The research group will also explore auditory-driven learning in humans to improve methods for diagnosing dyslexia, attention deficit disorder, and autism, and to develop new treatments. In addition to improving our understanding of the cognitive processes involved in learning and memory, this research could also be used to develop new hearing aid technologies.
More about David McAlpine
Read David McAlpines contribution "Our Listening Brains" about how Statistical Learning of the brain influences how we hear in our series "Elephants & Butterflies - Science Pictured".