Laura Verga

Laura Verga
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics | MPI · Comparative bioacoustics research group

PhD

About

29
Publications
23,095
Reads
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397
Citations
Introduction
Humans and other animals communicate in many different ways, such as with language, music, and synchronized movements. Timing is essential to the learning and use of all these abilities. As a consequence, timing deficits may significantly hamper everyday life and the learning of new skills. In my research, I use several methods (f/MRI, DTI, behavioural analyses, meta-analyses) to investigate the role of timing in a broad spectrum of contexts (social interaction, music, pathology) across species.
Additional affiliations
October 2018 - November 2018
Maastricht University
Position
  • Tutor in "Brain Damage"
September 2018 - present
Maastricht University
Position
  • Mentor
April 2018 - present
Maastricht University
Position
  • Tutor in "Action"
Education
November 2010 - October 2015
October 2007 - March 2010
Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Field of study
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
October 2004 - July 2007
Università Vita-Salute San Raffaele
Field of study
  • Psychology

Publications

Publications (29)
Article
Full-text available
Timing is an essential part of human cognition and of everyday life activities, such as walking or holding a conversation. Previous studies showed that traumatic brain injury (TBI) often affects cognitive functions such as processing speed and time-sensitive abilities, causing long-term sequelae as well as daily impairments. However, the existing e...
Article
Comparative animal studies of complex behavioural traits, and their neurobiological underpinnings, can increase our understanding of their evolution, including in humans. Vocal learning, a potential precursor to human speech, is one such trait. Mammalian vocal learning is under-studied: most research has either focused on vocal learning in songbird...
Article
Full-text available
The ability to discriminate between familiar and unfamiliar calls may play a key role in pinnipeds' communication and survival, as in the case of mother-pup interactions. Vocal discrimination abilities have been suggested to be more developed in pinniped species with the highest selective pressure such as the otariids; yet, in some groupliving phoc...
Article
Full-text available
The impact of language impairment on the clinical assessment of patients suffering from disorders of consciousness (DOC) is unknown or underestimated and may mask the presence of conscious behavior. In a group of DOC patients ( n = 11; time post-injury range: 5–252 months), we investigated the main neural functional and structural underpinnings of...
Preprint
Full-text available
Comparative studies of vocal learning and vocal non-learning animals can increase our understanding of the neurobiology and evolution of vocal learning and human speech. Mammalian vocal learning is understudied: most research has either focused on vocal learning in songbirds or its absence in non-human primates. Here we focus on a highly promising...
Article
Full-text available
The study of human language is progressively moving toward comparative and interactive frameworks, extending the concept of turn‐taking to animal communication. While such an endeavor will help us understand the interactive origins of language, any theoretical account for cross‐species turn‐taking should consider three key points. First, animal tur...
Poster
Full-text available
Timing deficits underlie cognitive impairments in several clinical populations (e.g., Parkinson’s Disease). Does this depend on the pathology, or is this a universal mechanism? Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) deriving from the impact with an external physical force (e.g., vehicle incidents, falls) results in diffuse and frequently undetected damages t...
Article
Background: Two distinct insomnia disorder (ID) phenotypes have been proposed, distinguished on the basis of an objective total sleep time less or more than 6 hr. In particular, it has been recently reported that patients with objective short sleep duration have a blunted response to cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). The aim of th...
Article
Several studies report an association between REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) and neurodegenerative diseases, in particular synucleinopathies. Interestingly, the onset of RBD precedes the development of neurodegeneration by several years. This review and meta-analysis aims to establish the rate of conversion of RBD into neurodegenerative diseases...
Article
Language is a multi-faceted form of communication. It is not until recently though that language research moved on from simple stimuli and protocols toward a more ecologically valid approach, namely “shifting” from words and simple sentences to stories with varying degrees of contextual complexity. While much needed, the use of ecologically valid s...
Article
Perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills can be comprehensively assessed with the Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA). The battery has been used for testing rhythmic skills in healthy adults and patient populations (e.g., with Parkinson disease), showing sensitivity to timing and rhythm deficits. Here...
Article
Introduction: Repetitive thought is a perpetuating and maintaining factor in Insomnia Disorder. Accordingly, one of the primary complaints reported by Insomnia patients is the inability to shut-off or control thoughts. Worry and rumination are the two best-known styles of repetitive thoughts leading to sleep disturbances. Aim of this study was to i...
Article
A major challenge in second language acquisition is to build up new vocabulary. How is it possible to identify the meaning of a new word among several possible referents? Adult learners typically use contextual information, which reduces the number of possible referents a new word can have. Alternatively, a social partner may facilitate word learni...
Article
Full-text available
The Battery for the Assessment of Auditory Sensorimotor and Timing Abilities (BAASTA) is a new tool for the systematic assessment of perceptual and sensorimotor timing skills. It spans a broad range of timing skills aimed at differentiating individual timing profiles. BAASTA consists of sensitive time perception and production tasks. Perceptual tas...
Article
Full-text available
A Long-standing debate in cognitive neurosciences concerns the effect of music on verbal learning and memory. Research in this field has largely provided conflicting results in both clinical as well as non-clinical populations. Although several studies have shown a positive effect of music on the encoding and retrieval of verbal stimuli, music has...
Thesis
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
Learning new words is an increasingly common necessity in everyday life. External factors, among which music and social interaction are particularly debated, are claimed to facilitate this task. Due to their influence on the learner's temporal behavior, these stimuli are able to drive the learner's attention to the correct referent of new words at...
Article
The auditory scene is a mental representation of individual sounds extracted from the summed sound waveform reaching the ears of the listeners. Musical contexts represent particularly complex cases of auditory scenes. In such a scenario, melody may be seen as the main object moving on a background represented by the accompaniment. Both melody and a...
Article
Full-text available
Verbal language is the most widespread mode of human communication, and an intrinsically social activity. This claim is strengthened by evidence emerging from different fields, which clearly indicates that social interaction influences human communication, and more specifically, language learning. Indeed, research conducted with infants and childre...

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Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Sleep disorders often correlate with psychological impairments during daytime and, in some cases, the may predict neuro/psychological impairments later in life. We aim at identifying this link in several types of sleep disorders, and suggest possible treatments.