Emulating the success of the Royal Institution’s Christmas Lecture 2017, Professor Sophie Scott will take us on a fascinating journey through one of the fundamentals of human and animal life: the unstoppable urge to communicate, in the STAR Lecture 2018.
Join us in the live audience of the STAR Lecture which will be filmed and is scheduled to be broadcast on Tue 2 Oct 2018 at 7pm on Channel 5. Together with the audience, Sophie will journey through with us on how we gained the remarkable instrument that is the human voice. We will explore how laughter provides a link to our animal past, how our voice box has changed the shape of our faces and why we sound the way we do.
Sophie will explore with us the hidden code of communication, the more secret and sometimes more sinister side of human interaction – everything we say without opening our mouths – from contagious behaviours to the emotional clues in smell, and whether information wired directly into our brains is really a future we want. Sophie will examine one of the biggest puzzles in science – how and when humans first evolved language – revealing the huge amount of raw brain power and sensory skill needed to understand even a simple sentence and how we convey as much meaning through our tone, pace and pitch of voice as we say with our words.
About Prof Sophie Scott
Professor Sophie Scott FMedSci is based at University College London (UCL), where her special interest is in researching the neuroscience of voices, speech and laughter. Sophie is Deputy Director and Head of the Speech Communications Group at UCL's Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience. She is a member of the British Psychological Society, the Society for Neuroscience, the cognitive Neuroscience Society and the Experimental Psychology Society.
She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2012 and a Fellow of the British Academy in 2016. Having received her PhD in Cognitive Science at UCL in 1994 before going on to work in Cambridge at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, Sophie returned to UCL as a Research Fellow in 1998. Sophie’s research investigates the neural basis of vocal communication – how our brains process the information in speech and voices and how our brains control the production of our voice. Within this, her research covers the roles of streams of processing in auditory cortex, hemispheric asymmetries and the interaction of speech processing with attentional and working memory factors.
Other interests include individual differences in speech perception and plasticity in speech perception, since these are important factors for people with cochlear implants. Sophie is also interested in the expression of emotion in the voice. In particular, her research in recent years has focused on the neuroscience of laughter. About Christmas Lectures In December 2017, Sophie delivered the Royal Institution’s annual Christmas Lectures. Filmed in the Royal Institution’s world famous lecture theatre in London, the Christmas Lectures have been continuously broadcast since 1966, most recently on the BBC and produced by Windfall Films since 2000.