MARCS Monday Meeting (MMM) - Dr Jennifer MacRitchie and Dr Lyn Thieu

Event Name MARCS Monday Meeting (MMM) - Dr Jennifer MacRitchie and Dr Lyn Thieu
Start Date 10th Feb 2020 11:00 am
End Date 10th Feb 2020 12:00 pm
Duration 1 hour
Join us at the next MMM with invited speakers Dr Jennifer MacRitchie who will present the cognitive and motor gains of musical instrument training programs for older adults and Senior Research Fellow, Dr Lyn Tieu who will discuss the findings of her investigative work into linguistic inferences.

Topic: Investigating Linguistic Inferences
Speaker: Dr Lyn Tieu, Research Theme Fellow (Education and Work)

In everyday conversation, we  often convey and infer meanings above and beyond the literal content of our sentences. Lyn Tieu's research investigates the nature of these linguistic inferences - how they are represented in the grammar, how children acquire them, and where they might originate. In this talk, the focus will be on two findings from recent work. First, children acquire some kinds of linguistic inferences before others, shedding light on the grammar underlying linguistic inferences. Second, people can spontaneously draw linguistic inferences even from non-linguistic objects, such as gestures, sound effects, and emoji, suggesting a more general cognitive source for linguistic inferences than previously thought.

Lyn Tieu is a Senior Research Fellow in the Education & Work: Access, Equity and Pathways research theme at the Office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research & Innovation). She is based in the School of Education and is also a member of the Speech & Language Program at MARCS. Lyn's research focuses primarily on children’s acquisition of syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. 

Topic: Cognitive, Motor and Social Factors of Music Instrument Training Programs for Older Adults' Improved WellBeing
Speaker: Dr Jennifer MacRitchie

This presentation will outline the effects of a 10-week piano training program on healthy older adult novices’ cognitive and motor skills, in comparison to an inactive waitlisted control group. Fifteen participants completed piano training led by a music facilitator in small groups. Data was collected using an explanatory sequential design: quantitative data from a battery of cognitive and motor tests was collected pre/post-test on all participants, with further post-test data from the waitlisted control group (n = 7). Qualitative data included weekly facilitator observations, participant practice diaries, and an individual, semi-structured, post-experiment interview. Bayesian modelling demonstrated moderate evidence of a strong positive impact of training on part A of the Trail Making test (TMT), indicating improved visuo-motor skills. Moderate evidence for negative impacts of training on part B of the Trail Making Test (and difference score delta) was also found, suggesting no benefit of cognitive switching. Qualitative results revealed that the group learning environment motivated participants to play in musical ensembles and to socialise.

MARCS staff and students are reminded that all meetings and workshops have an important role in building and maintaining the sense of community which is central to the success of MARCS as a cooperative and energetic research institute.  Your attendance is both welcomed and expected.

The zoom ID is: 627 146 998. Link to zoom