Indiana University

The Speech Research Laboratory is a part of the Psychological and Brain Sciences department at Indiana University in Bloomington.
1101 E. 10th Street
Bloomington, IN 47405

19th Feb 2014

Speech Research Lab Meeting – February 28 – Andrej Kral

The SRL is happy to announce a visit by our esteemed colleague Dr. Andrej Kral who heads the Laboratory of Auditory Neuroscience and Neuroprostheses. Dr. Kral is currently the Chair and Professor of Auditory Neuroscience at the Medical University of Hannover, Germany and Adjunct Professor of Cognition and Neuroscience at the University of Texas at Dallas. His lab investigates how congenital auditory deprivation (deafness) affects the microcircuitry in the auditory system. For a very recent review (and to provide context for this talk) see: Kral (2013) Auditory Critical Periods: A Review from a System’s Perspective. Neuroscience, 247 (2013) 117-133. Download here: Kral_2013_Neuroscience

In addition to Dr. Kral’s planned talk, he will be available for meetings with faculty, postdocs, and graduate students at the IU school of Medicine campus on Thursday (2/27) and here in Bloomington on Friday (2/28). Please email Terren Green ( or myself if you are interested in a one-on-one or group meeting with Dr. Kral.

The title and abstract for his talk are below, all are invited and welcome to attend.
Time/location for his talk: Psychology Conference Room 128; Friday, February 28th, 1:30pm

Title: Congenital Deafness Disrupts Top-Down Influences in the Auditory Cortex

Abstract: The available evidence shows that many basic cerebral functions are inborn. Learned, on the other hand, are representations of sensory objects that are highly individual and depend on the subject‘s experiences. Related to it, cortico-cortical interactions and the function of the cortical column depend on experience and are shaped by sensory inputs. Periods of high susceptibility to environmental manipulations are given by higher synaptic plasticity and a naive state of neuronal networks that may easily be patterned by sensory input. Adult learning, on the other hand, is characterized by weaker synaptic plasticity but the ability to control and modulate plasticity by the need of the organism through top–down interactions and modulatory systems. Congenital deafness affects the development not only by delaying it, but also by desynchronizing different developmental steps. In its ultimate consequence, congenital deafness results in an auditory system that lacks the ability to supervise early sensory processing and plasticity, but also lacks the high synaptic plasticity of the juvenile brain. Critical developmental periods result. It remains an open question whether restoring juvenile plasticity by eliminating molecular breaks of plasticity will reinstall functional connectivity in the auditory cortex and bring a new therapy for complete sensory deprivation in the future. Focus on integrative aspects of critical periods will be required to counteract the reorganization taken place in the deprived sensory system and the other affected cerebral functions by training procedures

Dr. Kral’s website with links to studies and publications:

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