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5Hz Labs: Speech Rhythms, Brain Rhythms

Saturday 22 November 2014, 13:00 to 16:00

This lab will explore the relationship between the rhythms of speech, music and the brain, considering their potential for synchronising our thoughts and actions.

11am - 12.30pm   Language Evolution Workshop

2pm - 5pm  5Hz Lab: Speech Rhythms, Brain Rhythms

The voice has a remarkable power to promote coordinated behaviour between humans. Recent research has shown that voice patterns can synchronise not only action, but also brain rhythms.  This lab will explore the relationships between vocal, musical and brain rhythms.

Guest speakers include Fred Cummins (University College Dublin) and Sarah Knight (Nottingham University).

This event will be preceded by a language evolution workshop led by Laurence White and Emma Smith in the morning:

Fred Cummins: Senior Lecturer at University College Dublin. Fred researches rhythm, speech and language. Current research focuses on joint speech – where two or more people say the same thing at the same time – including prayer, chanting and recitation.

Sarah Knight

Sarah Knight (MRC Institute of Hearing Research): Sarah Knight completed her PhD under the supervision of Professor Ian Cross at the University of Cambridge. Her doctoral research explored the concept of "entrainment" - the process of neural and physical synchronisation with rhythmic stimuli - and its ability to foster positive social judgements and interaction.

This event will be preceded by a language evolution workshop led by Laurence White and Emma Smith in the morning.

Language Evolution Workshops

Join us to help evolve a new language. These sessions can be booked separately or in addition to the afternoon lab events.

This lab is part of 5Hz, a collaborative project by artist Emma Smith, psychologist and phonetician Laurence White, cognitive neuroscientist and psycholinguist Nina Kazanina and musicologist Emma Hornby. The project will imagine an evolution of voice specifically for social bonding, based on neuroscientific and psychological research into speech rhythm.

Supported by the Wellcome Trust, 5Hz involves a one-year participatory research process, leading to public workshops and events in autumn 2014 and an exhibition at Arnolfini in March 2015.


To secure your place please call Box Office to book: 0117 9172 300

You are also welcome to drop in on the day without booking.


Artist Emma Smith is working with; Dr Nina Kazanina, Senior Lecturer in Psychology of Language at the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, Dr Laurence White, a lecturer in the School of Psychology at Plymouth University, and Dr Emma Hornby, a Reader in Music at the University of Bristol, to make 5Hz. 

5Hz is produced by Arnolfini in collaboration with the University of Bristol, Plymouth University and with the support of the Wellcome Trust. The 5Hz events programme is also supported by the Economic and Social Research Council as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Science 2014.

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